The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Monday, April 5, 1999


Controversial clergyman tapped for remake of film 'Elmer Gantry'

Amin Q. Chaudhri has cast a controversial clergyman for the lead role in his remake of the film "Elmer Gantry."

Chaudhri, head of Continental Film Group of Sharon, will produce and direct a $20 million version of the film. The 1960 original won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Burt Lancaster.

The Rev. Richard Rossi will play the charismatic, con man preacher in the film, tentatively set for release in May 2000.

Rev. Rossi played the stage version of the role last year in Los Angeles.

The former leader of the First Love Church, Cranberry Township, Butler County, Rev. Rossi pleaded no contest in 1995 to a charge of aggravated assault in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Although Rev. Rossi denied it, he was charged with beating his wife, Sherrie Lynn. She implicated him but later recanted her story.

Before the incident, Rev. Rossi received notoriety for his rock 'n' roll style of preaching. He released a contemporary Christian music album in 1994 and wrote, edited and co-produced a documentary on the healing power of prayer in the early '90s. Rev. Rossi and his wife now live in Los Angeles, where he pastors Immanuel Community Church.

Chaudhri has directed and produced "Tiger Warsaw" (1987) and "An Unremarkable Life" and produced "Diary Of A Hit Man." all of the films were partly filmed in Mercer County.

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Updated April 5, 1999
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