Kirk Cameron talks Fireproof, marriage, and the demands of playing a firefighter

At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter’s adage: Never leave your partner behind.

At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules.

Growing up, his wife, Catherine Holt, always dreamed of marrying a loving, brave firefighter…just like her daddy.

Now, after seven years of marriage, Catherine wonders when she stopped being “good enough” for her husband.

As the couple prepares to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb’s father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day experiment: “The Love Dare.” Wondering if it’s even worth the effort, Caleb agrees-for his father’s sake more than for his marriage. While trying to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and again. He finally asks his father, “How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?”

Kirk Cameron, best known for his role as Mike Seaver on the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains,” plays Capt. Holt – a headstrong firefighter who realizes that his selfish nature is causing a canyon of anger and mistrust to grow between himself and his wife. Erin Bethea plays the role of Caleb’s wife – a hospital public relations director who is searching other avenues for some semblance of love.

“Fireproof” is available to buy right now at most major retailers. “The Love Dare,” the 40-day devotional featured in the film, is also available at most major book outlets.

Cameron took a few minutes to talk to M&C about the power of Fireproof’s message and some of the physical requirements of playing a firefighter.

M&C: Did playing the role of a married man who is struggling with his relationship hit home with you and how so?”

Cameron: Well, you know… yes it hit home with me, because I’m a guy who’s been married to an incredible lady for seventeen years and no matter how wonderful the person is that you’ve married, marriage is always going to be a struggle because she’s married to me.

Marriage is really a school that you’ve enrolled in and it teaches you all about integrity and character and selflessness and love and it’s a difficult school but if you stay in it you’ll really grow and learn a lot.

Of course, a lot of people bail because they just don’t know how to make it work and that’s what fireproof is all about. It ultimately talks about never leaving your partner behind and in order to be successful at that you’ve got to learn what unconditional love is, because that’s the only kind of love that’ll get through the hard times.

M&C: What are some of the topics that Fireproof tackles as far as marriage? Does it give people a walkthrough of some of the small things or even some big things?

Cameron: Have you seen the movie yet?

M&C: I haven’t had a chance to watch it, unfortunately.

Cameron: Well, it’s not a little walkthrough. It’s a pretty powerful story about a firefighter who is on the brink of a divorce and he’s a hero at work, and at home he is a complete failure.

It deals with issues of communication, and addiction… he’s addicted to internet pornography. He’s got all sorts of issues going on and she’s entertaining the idea of an affair at work.

M&C: So this is serious stuff?

Cameron: Oh it’s very very real, It’s very moving stuff, it’s very kind of heart wrenching stuff. And it’s a really different role for me to play, but it also has so much hope in it, because this guy… eventually  his father steps in to help him get things right in his marriage and rescue his marriage and it’s pretty inspirational to see how it happens.

M&C: How is the concept and idea of love presented in Fireproof? What role does love play?

Cameron: Well, Love plays a special role in marriage and really the problem is so many don’t understand what love really is. We think of love and we think, oh I love her, oh I love him, and you’re talking about a feeling that you feel. And you ask people why they’re getting divorced and they’re just, oh we just don’t love each other anymore, or we’ve just fallen out of love, but love isn’t a feeling it’s a decision.

It’s a decision to love someone regardless of how you may feel at times. It’s sacrificing your own preferences and some of your own needs to be able to serve somebody else and that’s the kind of love that produces feelings, but you can’t define love as a feeling or else it will fall apart and vanish in front of your eyes.

M&C: Tell me a little bit about the production, as far as you playing a firefighter was there a lot of physical stuff? Were you involved with the physical aspects?

Cameron: Yeah, very much. I did all of my own stunts; which is lots of fun, I had to learn to about being a firefighter, spent a lot of time with firefighters in Los Angeles and in Georgia.

I went on some calls with them, hung out with them at the station, I had to gain about 15 pounds of good muscle weight and it was a pretty challenging role, physically and also as an actor it stretched my abilities, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the movie, there’s a lot of angry fighting scenes and there’s just a lot scenes of a guy being humbled and broken and asking for forgiveness and trying to reconcile with God and with his wife.

M&C: Are you planning to do anymore work with this team? Are you looking at anything in the near future with them?

Cameron: Yeah, I am. There are a couple of movies that I know the Kendrick brothers are thinking about trying to decide what the next movie is going to be. I’ve got some ideas myself, but right now we’re kind of in a holding pattern with the fireproof DVD coming out on Tuesday, the Love Dared book. It’s a book that is featured in the movie. It’s also coming out on special edition so we’re just kind of in a holding pattern here for a little while until we figure out the next movie to do.

M&C: I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to MonstersAndCritics!

Cameron: You too, take care.

Fireproof is now available at Amazon. As of yet, there is not a release date for the UK. Visit the DVD database for more information.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.