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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch is enjoying her latest role, starring in a Christian movie currently in production.
But the West Virginia native is not sure if an acting career is in her future.
Lynch plays Beth Barlow, the president's daughter, in the JC Films production of "One Church."
"It's a lot of stress," Lynch told The Associated Press on Tuesday as she was heading from West Virginia to Rock Hill, South Carolina, to finish filming. "But I have to say I've had fun with it and it's an opportunity. I'm one of those people who says 'never say never' and you never know where life will take me."
President and screenwriter Jason Campbell of Morgantown-based JC Films said the drama explores the possible government takeover of churches.
Lynch was captured after her Army unit took a wrong turn and came under attack in Iraq in 2003. Eleven American soldiers were killed and six were captured, including Lynch. Her high-profile nighttime rescue from an Iraqi hospital made her an instant celebrity.
"I was kind of thrust into it," Lynch said. "I didn't really have the option. It was 'here you go.' Like everything else that I've done in life, I think perseverance is my life motto now, having that never give up attitude and going for it."
Lynch spends considerable time traveling to talk about her personal experiences along with her recent film work.
"It gets easier with every appearance, with every speech," she said. "It's kind of fun now. It's something I never thought I would ever do in my life."
The Palestine native suffered two spinal fractures, nerve damage and a shattered right arm, right foot and left leg when her Humvee crashed during the firefight.
Lynch continues to go to physical therapy, has a 7-year-old daughter and works part time as a substitute teacher in Wood County.
She met Campbell while he was in West Virginia promoting the 2013 film "Finding Faith," which starred Erik Estrada of TV series "CHiPs" fame. Campbell offered Lynch a part in his next film, "Virtuous," and she accepted. Lynch had a speaking part and her Iraq experience was loosely depicted in the film.
With Lynch taking a much bigger role in "One Church," Campbell said "she's a natural. She's very good in front of the camera. We're excited that she's a part of it.
"She's a prime example of what a role model should be for our young people. The combination of the kind of movies that we're making fits right into who she is."
The movie is scheduled to be shown next year in churches across the country.
Campbell said essentially the same group of actors are involved in all of his movies, and that fosters "an environment of fun."
"That takes the edge off a lot more when you're with a group of people that are all like-minded in making this film that hopes to change the culture," Campbell said. "Everyone there is your best cheerleader."
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