Dan Reynolds’ ‘Believer’ is more than a rock doc

Updated March 14, 2018 - 12:30 am

During Imagine Dragons’ thunderous live performances, frontman Dan Reynolds often slams a giant bass drum.

Reynolds is beating the drum again, with love and louder than ever.

Reynolds is rolling out his new documentary, “Believer,” which screened Thursday night at KÀ, Theatre at MGM Grand. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and will be shown on HBO in June. HBO Documentaries acquired the film’s TV rights from original producer Live Nation Productions.

The film brazenly chronicles Reynolds’ experiences wrestling with his faith as a member of the LDS Church, as his personal beliefs run counter to the religious organization’s well-documented opposition to gay couples and same-sex marriage.

“Believer” was directed by veteran filmmaker and musician Don Argott, with Dan’s brother Robert Reynolds a co-producer. The film effectively examines LDS Church policies regarding same-sex attraction, and allows viewers to hear and see the stories of disaffected Mormon youth. The movie also spends significant time on the development of the LoveLoud Fest, held in August at Utah Valley University in Orem. Reynolds friend Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees, who was raised Mormon but is no longer active in the church, is featured prominently in the film (including Neon Trees’ performance at LoveLoud).

The film was met with a standing ovation Thursday at the MGM Grand, just as it had been at Sundance. Before the screening, Reynolds and his wife, Aja Volkman, talked about the film’s development and message. Highlights of that chat:

The “re-knocking” of the door: Reynolds spent two years in Nebraska on his Mormon mission. Thus, as a teenager, he promoted the very church positions he opposes in his film.

”I opened a little white handbook and taught out of it that God said it was a sin to be gay,” Reynolds said. “Of course, I have so much regret about those two years in that specific regard. There was also a lot of beauty that came out of those two years, though. So, do I wish I could re-knock on those doors and tell them that God loves them and they are accepted and if there is a God, then their love is just as valid.”

“This is not an attack.” Even by enforcing a clear opposition to some long-held LDS Church policies, Reynolds says, “It’s not an attack on any religion; it’s just a coming together to say we need to do better. It’s not about religion. There are still people with no religion who don’t accept LGBT youth.”

No fear in repercussions: Both Reynolds and Volkman, herself a top-flight artist as a member of the alt-rock band Nico Vega, say they are not afraid of public backlash. “ You can’t please everyone anyway. If you live life that way, you’re just a miserable person,” Volkman said. “You have to do what’s right in your heart and stand up for people that don’t have that platform for themselves.”

Reynolds added, “I’d rather offend people and make change and save a life along the way than sit back and eat vanilla ice cream and be a rock star.”

“What do I do now?” Reynolds and Volkman met in 2010 when Imagine Dragons and Nico Vega co-headlined a show at the since-closed Wasted Space rock club at Hard Rock Hotel. Neither felt they would become famous. “We didn’t get into this to make bucketloads of money and party at clubs and do things like that,” Reynolds said. “It just so happened that Imagine Dragons blew the hell up in this crazy unexpected way. It was like hitting Megabucks or something. So, the question was, ‘What do I do now?’ and this is what we’re doing.”

Arrow’s flight: The couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Arrow, has already seen the movie three times.

“She doesn’t fully understand it, but she understands some of it and that will come in time,” Volkman said. Reynolds added, “This film is a film for families to watch together. There’s no age your child needs to be to watch this, and I think it’s pretty essential conversation, no matter how you go about it.”

A PR quandary: Reynolds says he still considers Mormonism his religion, culture and life. During Thursday’s post-screening Q&A, he was asked if releasing a film that disagrees with LDS doctrine might get him excommunicated from the church.

“To be honest, they would never do it,” Reynolds said, “because it would cause a PR nightmare.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow@johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Get a sneak peak of Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Life
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like