" Back when I was contacted about playing the part of Mark, I was truly honored and grateful for this amazing opportunity. I spoke with Carla and Robin on the phone about the direction they wanted Mark to go, and it made me feel like I might have fun playing this role. In some ways I was that guy many, many moons ago.
As time went on and I read the scene over and over again, I started to feel more of the hurt and anger Mark possessed from the direction his life took when he lost his first love to some military guy. Many relationships have been destroyed because of modern day social media and messaging. The easy access and the almost addictive nature of it has brought the past into the present, and sometimes the Devil wins by planting seeds that cause issues for all involved. I've been the victim of the Marks of the world, as have lots of other folks out there, so seeing it through Mark's eyes helped in relating to his justification of doing what he does.
Upon arrival to start filming and meeting everyone for the first time, I knew God spoke not only through me, but through the team as they felt the same about making changes in how Mark should be played. After Carla gave a wonderful prayer you could truly feel God's presence in that little coffee shop. Angela (Michelle) was so amazing and helped calm my fear with complete understanding, and Robin's coaching and complete faith in me helped so much.
As a Navy Vet and current employee with the VA, I've seen first hand the many families that have been split down the middle because of the stress of being deployed overseas and fighting the war that comes home behind closed doors. Growing up and seeing some of my own family members that served over the years suffering mental depression/PTSD really made this movie near and dear to my heart. This growing issue needs to be given more national attention than it has been.... 22 isn't just a number. It's a reminder that our heroes need our help, and this movie will do just that.
God Bless and remember, Together We are Stronger. "
- Phillip Hughes, Actor in Stronger Movie