Michael W. Smith has an odd habit when it comes to writing film scores.

The Christian singer and songwriter, who has sold more than 15 million albums and earned three Grammys during his celebrated career, always thinks they hired the wrong composer at first. After all, the process is a far cry from creating a pop song.

That fourth day on the job, though, sends his creative impulses racing.

“You can’t hit ‘record’ quickly enough,” Smith told LifeZette in an interview.

And Smith had extra incentive for creating the music for his latest film project.

[lz_ndn video= 29498003]

“90 Minutes in Heaven” is the fact-based tale of a Christian pastor named Don Piper (Hayden Christensen, the “Star Wars” prequels) who nearly dies in an automobile accident, but survives thanks to his faith and family. His wife (Kate Bosworth) plays a critical role in his physical and spiritual recovery. The film opens Friday, September 11.


Only the real Don Piper, whose 2004 book of the same name recalls his nearly fatal car crash, insists he actually died and spent time in heaven before life returned to his body. The film is based on his spiritual memoir.

Smith first read “Heaven” with a healthy sense of skepticism. He had heard about Don Piper’s life story but wanted to see for himself if he believed it. A few chapters later, he was convinced.

Who do you think would win the Presidency?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

“I don’t think this guy’s lying … was my first reaction,” Smith said.

That sense grew stronger after meeting Piper as part of the filmmaking process. “This guy’s legit. I really believe him.”

A key figure in the contemporary Christian music scene, Smith does double duty on “Heaven.” He not only scored the film along with his son, Tyler Smith, he plays Don’s good friend Cliff as well.

Call him a reluctant actor all the same.

[lz_spotify playlist=”2EAUn2JzPyeUmKvThfr6eg” side=”right” vertical=”popzette”]

“I’ve passed on so many things … I can never find anything I like,” he said. He certainly liked the messages he found in “90 Minutes in Heaven.”

Smith isn’t a fan of films that “beat you over the head” with their messages. What he found in “Heaven” was a more gentle approach led by a first-rate cast — including Fred Thompson and Dwight Yoakam.

“Yes, it’s about going to heaven, watching this man in so much pain he just wants to check out,” Smith said. “But it’s also watching a community come together and not give up on him … somehow through the love and support of people he gets on the other side of it.”