Stephen Collins's Latest Movie Role: A Pedophile Priest

7th Heaven actor made the short film Penance before the child molestation scandal broke

Photo: Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Art should imitate life but this is just a little too weird.

A short film that’s currently hitting the festival circuit features actor Stephen Collins – who is being investigated for child molestation – as a pedophile priest.

Penance, from the Emmy-winning Jeff Wolfe, also stars David Lyons as a man named Thomas Walker who, tormented by personal demons, seeks guidance from a man in the cloth.

“Stephen Collins is the priest he visits to clear his conscience and discover exactly what it means to find forgiveness – or to give it,” the summary for the film reads.

Given the alleged taped confession Collins made to his estranged wife, Faye Grant, about inappropriate conduct with three minors, Wolfe released a statement to PEOPLE about the awkward timing of his film. Wolfe, who’s also a stunt coordinator, worked with Collins and Lyons on NBC’s Revolution and says he made Penance long before the scandal broke out.

“Although my short film, Penance, has recently played at a number of film festivals, it was actually made in 2013,” said Wolfe. “When I cast Stephen Collins, I had no idea there might be a connection between his real life and the part I asked him to play,” said Wolfe. “I found the recent allegations particularly shocking, as my film is meant to speak to victims of abuse and the idea that the effects of abuse never really go away.”

Collins did an interview at WonderCon earlier this year, in which he talked about the 10-minute movie and how he shot it in one day in Austin, Texas. It’s a “powerful piece about a priest and a former parishioner it’s very intense,” Collins said. “David and I both got a chance to do something different from what we do in Revolution.”

Collins, who has not been seen since the tape of his alleged confession was posted online on Oct. 7, is expected in court for divorce proceedings next month.

Want more stories like this?

Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers:

sign me up

Thank you for signing up!

Related Articles