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Before new movie, listeners could “only imagine” best-selling Christian song's origin


It's the best-selling Christian song ever, but few people know the true story behind the creation of “I Can Only Imagine.” A new film of the same name seeks to change that, showing the world how a composition so beautiful can come out of an experience that is anything but.

“It's an amazing song.”

“It just kind of happened. It took about 10 minutes, I guess.”

“It didn't take you 10 minutes to write this. It took a lifetime.”

Bart Millard found his escape from a difficult childhood in music, eventually learning to play it himself. Nevertheless, his hate-filled father refused to accept his son's passion, causing a rift between the two that was difficult to bridge. 

The elder Millard is played by actor Dennis Quaid, who says the character presented him a unique challenge in an illustrious career. 

DENNIS QUAID
Arthur Millard, “I Can Only Imagine”

“A guy whose dreams never came true who was very hardened to life. I've never really played that before. Most of the characters I've played in the past start out likeable, end up more likeable.”

"My dad was a monster, and I saw God transform him from a man that I hated into the man I wanted to become, so I wrote this for my dad.”

“I Can Only Imagine” has become one of the most recognizable Christian songs, allowing Bart Millard to live out his dreams. 

Now, the film's creators hope to inspire viewers with the redemption that can result from one's unwavering faith.