Cravens' biggest break to date came when a production company traveled to a small town outside of Nashville to film a movie on a remarkable true story. “All Saints” debuted to studio audiences nationwide in August.
When Lonnie Cravens moved to Nashville roughly five years ago, he never imagined he’d appear on a hit television show nor a studio movie released to a national audience.
Born in Flint, Mich., Cravens moved to the Lake of the Ozarks in 1979 and grew up in a log cabin in Kaiser before he moved to Tennessee at the age of 18. Things didn’t work his first time there and Cravens returned to the Lake area before trying Nashville again, a decision he made with his young son after the death of his wife to brain cancer in 2012.
Starting off working odd jobs such as washing dishes, the long-time drummer picked up studio gigs and live performances here and there while he tried to break into the entertainment industry. While working one day, he was approached to appear as an extra in the country-music show, Nashville, which used to air on ABC before the Country Music Television station picked it up.
Since then Cravens has appeared in over 16 episodes, over 45 scenes and almost 10 close up shots, with a few minor speaking roles. It also lead him to connections within the industry that got him on the set of CMT’s “Still The King” starring Billy Ray Cyrus.
But Cravens’ biggest break to date came when a production company traveled to a small town outside of Nashville to film a movie on a remarkable true story. “All Saints” debuted to studio audiences nationwide in August and has received a 93-percent rating on the user-critic website Rotten Tomatoes while also receiving three stars from RogerEbert.com
The film stars former “Sex in the City” actor John Corbett, as well as famous actress Cara Buono and county legend Barry Corbin, and tells the story of former salesman turned pastor Michael Spurlock whose first assignment was to close a country church and sell the prime piece of land.
He soon has a change of heart when he meets Burmese refugees who teach the pastor and community how to farm the land and pay the church’s bills, creating a new, inclusive community in the process.
Cravens is noticeable in several scenes of the movie, at one point standing behind Corbett, and his 1989 yellow Honda was actually used in several scenes. The car ended up being damaged during one of the scenes and Cravens said the production company graciously paid more than the car was worth for a replacement.
Cravens said Corbett, who usually doesn’t take leading roles, actually denied the first request, but his agent asked him to re-read the script one more time. Corbett was sold.
“It isn’t a religious movie. It’s like what are we really doing? We need to learn from that, if you have faith you could accomplish anything,” Cravens said. “The true story behind it — the scenes are real.”
Cravens said he’s seen the movie several times with his son and has received plenty of positive feedback from his friends and family. However, movies aren’t the only thing Cravens has acted in.
He has worked with country music artists Toby Mac on his music video “Love Broke Thru” as well as John Sampson’s “Waitin’ on a Whistle to Blow,” which was filmed at Al Capone’s old castle house in Franklin, Tennessee. Cravens said him and Sampson are working on some music together as well as a film about their lives, though nothing is concrete yet.
While Cravens isn’t acting or performing live music, he’s an active salesman who has created a small business merchandizing beer cap fishing lures and Nashville decal stickers that are sold at local shops.
“We’re just having a blast up here,” Cravens says.