A little about the drug addict biker-turned-minister at the center of ''Machine Gun Preacher''

By Anthony Breznican
Updated August 05, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

When you write a movie about a real man and the title is Machine Gun Preacher (out Sept. 23), you can expect the subject to be…challenging. So maybe screenwriter Jason Keller (Relativity’s Snow White film, with Julia Roberts) shouldn’t have been surprised when he met Sam Childers — a formerly drug-addicted biker-turned-preacher who sought redemption by rescuing child soldiers in Sudan — and Childers growled insults at him. Keller stood his ground, though, and earned Childers’ respect. ”He said, ‘I wanted to see if you’d piss your pants, and you didn’t. Sit down, let’s talk,”’ Keller recalls. Before joining Childers (played by Gerard Butler) in Sudan, the scribe visited the tough guy and his family in rural Pennsylvania. ”We basically drove around to known drug dealers’ houses because the police had told him a dealer was selling bad drugs, and a kid in the neighboring community had died,” Keller says. ”He’s always looking for trouble.” What makes Childers’ story compelling is his willingness to go where others won’t. ”Nobody could do what he does,” Keller says. ”Because nobody is as crazy as he is.”