Jesse Metcalfe, known for playing Eva Longoria's hunky "gardener" on Desperate Housewives, and Christopher Ewing in the Dallas reboot, and his breakout role in 2006's John Tucker Must Die, is taking on whole new role in the faith-based movie God's Not Dead 2 which comes to theaters April 1. As a sequel to 2014's God's Not Dead, the new film by Pure Flix Entertainment focuses on a public school teacher whose career becomes scrutinized when she answers a question about Jesus with scripture from the bible in her classroom. A lawsuit is filed against her hoping to make her an example to other Christian teachers and to show that talk about God in any form is unwelcome in public schools. Metcalfe plays her lawyer.
"It's a deeper more intellectual role with a greater responsibility," Jesse Metcalfe told FOX411 in a recent interview. "Discovering my own faith and my own connection with God, I brought some of that emotional foundation to the character so the character would be really connected and really fighting for something on a deeper level and that the emotion would come through. It was a lot of preparation."
Jesse Metcalfe's most recent projects have included the Hallmark Channel's A Country Wedding, and the indie film Destined. Now he's giving a faith-based film a try.
While today, faith is very important to Jesse, that wasn't always the case. It wasn't until during his Desperate Housewives days that he found God. After struggling with alcohol abuse, Metcalfe entered rehab in 2007 and he attributes prayer that helped him get through that dark time in his life.
"I really discovered a connection with a higher power and with God as I understand him probably five years ago when I got sober through the 12 steps of Alcoholic Anonymous. A large part of that program is giving the will and care of my life over to God -- or a God as you understand him -- and prayer is also a big part of that program as well. I feel that that really helped me overcome a difficult time in my life and since then has really deepened and enriched my life in a lot of ways."
In God's Not Dead 2, the storyline is once again set in Hope Springs, but instead of the local University, the movie focuses on the events happening at Martin Luther King Jr. High School where Grace Wesley (Hart) works. When Brooke (Orrantia) asks an honest question about Jesus Christ in the classroom, Grace gives a reasonable response that puts her in hot water. That's where Jesse comes in.
"I'm hoping the film brings us closer together and unites us as a people and as Americans instead of being something that people call upon to further divide us," Metcalfe said. "There are so many different belief systems in the world and specifically in our country and I think we pride ourselves as a nation… on diversity and on tolerance, and I think the basic takeaway is that faith is important to having a well-rounded life and to the human experience as a whole. You have to have some spiritual foundation to your life."
God's Not Dead 2 also stars Melissa Joan Hart, Robin Given, Ernie Hudson, Pat Boone, Sadie Robertson, David A.R. White, Hayley Orrantia, Fred Thompson, Ray Wise, Maria Canals-Barrera, Trisha LaFache, Paul Kwo, and Abigail Duhon.
[Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]