A real gem on the local acting scene in Michigan, the pathos of her performance likely won't leave a dry eye in the house.
***This is the fifth in a series of articles profiling cast members in Miracle on Christmas, a Christian film written and directed by yours truly. All previous articles can be found under this heading on the website.***
Kim Cruchon Brooks remembers the moment clearly: her 8th grade English teacher started a drama club, prompting her to join and win a part in the junior high school's first musical. She was bitten by the acting bug, as the saying goes, and had visions of a career in acting, which, several years later, she planned to further by pursuing a college degree in theater. Her journey hit a major bump in the road, however, when her mother shot down the idea despite Kim's having received a scholarship offer.
Displaying the same grit we witnessed from her during production of Miracle on Christmas - she had to battle a cold the entire time - Kim refused to be denied and eventually moved to Los Angeles to chase her dream. It was a move that paid off, because in addition to working a 9-to-5 job, she took acting classes and spent the better part of a decade on stage there in local theater.
In the early 1990s, the call of home - and marriage to her childhood sweetheart - brought her back to Michigan, where she continued to perform part-time in theater. In order to pay the bills, though, she also took a job with General Motors, working as a presenter for Cadillac at auto shows. That is until mass layoffs in 2001 prompted her to make the leap to full-time acting, which she has done ever since and now consists primarily of film, TV series, commercials and voice-over work.
And are we ever glad, because she is quite a talent, with a range that runs the gamut of emotions, as her Miracle on Christmas performance demonstrates. In the movie, Kim plays Helen Ross, mother of protagonist Mary Boyce - portrayed by Erin Bethea - a character who is secretly wavering in her faith because of emotional turmoil.
Kim and Erin had never met before production began earlier this year in Brighton, MI, but you would never know it watching their interaction as mother and daughter on set. They share moments of humor, tension, tears and tenderness as they follow their character arcs through the picture, serving up some of the film's most emotionally evocative scenes.
Kim hadn't worked with the other cast members either, but praises the virtually instantaneous camaraderie they established, adding that they got along "like a house on fire" and had great fun together on set. And she's convinced that translates into an authentic feel of family that will come across in the film, which she calls the "perfect Christmas story," because of the hope and redemption it delivers...we may be accused of bias, but we second the motion!
Ultimately, of course, it is moviegoers who render the only judgement that matters, so you will have to decide whether we got it right. And the wait won't be such a long one, because Miracle on Christmas will be released during this year's Yuletide season.