Desperate Housewives actor James Denton and newcomer AJ Michalka star as a father-daughter Christian music duo in Grace Unplugged. Both Denton and Michalka described what it was like to come together on the passion project of a film and how their personal faiths informed their performances in an exclusive interview with Uinterview.

For Denton and Michalka, there was instant familial chemistry on the set of Grace Unplugged, revealed the 22-year-old actress. “The first time I met James in rehearsal, I kind of felt like, ‘Oh my gosh, we were meant to play family,’ which was really cool. And you can’t say that about every project, she said. Denton shared his costar’s sentiments, adding, “Part of [the chemistry] is the writing. It’s extremely well written. The script has very realistic interchanges between [our characters], that I think all parents will relate to if they’ve had a teenager.”

Within the script for Grace Unplugged is the story of an 18-year-old girl (Michalka), who ignores her rock star-turned-man of god father’s (Denton) wishes for her to be a church singer, in favor of pursuing fame in Hollywood. The moral of the narrative hits close to home for both actors, as it shows Grace learning that her family and faith take precedence over the trappings of stardom.

Michalka knows what it’s like to strive to be “centered” in Hollywood, and has come up with a way to achieve it during filming. “To me, it’s not just about going to church, or going to bible study, but really preparing yourself daily before you get on set,” she told Uinterview. “My little soldier of Christ, he’s so cute, he’s this tall [gestures with her hands]. I get him ready and to me, that’s my metaphor for getting ready for set and entering Hollywood, or entering anywhere, really.”

As for Denton, his stint on Desperate Housewives as Susan Mayer’s (Teri Hatcher) hunky love interest Mike Delfino, seemed at odds to his Christian faith to some acquaintances, but the actor says the decision was a personal one – and one he stands by. “If I hadn’t done Desperate Housewives, they wouldn’t have wanted me to do [Grace Unplugged],” Denton said. “This movie has such a great message. It will reach so many more people than I ever could have reached had I stayed out of the business.”

Grace Unplugged hits theaters Oct. 4.

– Chelsea Regan

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