The epic film For Greater Glory — with actors Andy Garcia, Peter O’Toole and Eva Longoria — opened in theaters this summer and told the largely unknown story of the Mexican Cristero War, the 1920s fight for religious freedom against the oppressive Mexican government.
The movie becomes available on DVD Sept. 11. Mexican teen actor Mauricio Kuri portrayed Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio in the film.
An actor of both innocence and faith, he spoke with Register senior writer Tim Drake from his home in Mexico about the film, his role and acting.
"Did you know anything about Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio prior to playing him?" Drake asked. "No, I didn’t know anything about the Cristero War," Kuri said. "When I got the script, I was really speechless that I didn’t know about this, about Blessed Jose and the Cristeros. This story was hidden for so many years. Not even my teachers knew what happened. I did a lot of research on the Internet. People need to know what happened here. We know the history of so many other countries, but people don’t know about Mexican history."
Kuri said he was touched by the saintly role: "Jose’s role is amazing. He was 14; I’m 14. He wanted to join the Cristero army to fight for God, for his freedom and his liberty. That made me think (about) if I would have done the same thing. At 14, he wanted to give his life for Christ. …
"Beforehand, I was a regular Catholic and attended Mass every Sunday, but I didn’t see religion the way I see it now. You need to live your faith with passion and give everything to God. You can be a ‘Cristero’ nowadays too — by being faithful and not being ashamed of being Catholic when you’re with your friends. …
"God is always the answer. He’s your friend. If you pray to him and give yourself to him, he will always help you. … I thank Blessed Jose because he was my inspiration to do all of this. I wear a medal of Blessed Jose around my neck daily."