BY LAUREN HENRY
The star of the new movie, "Last Ounce of Courage," isn't so different from his character in the film -- nor is the small town in which the film is set so different from his hometown of Newport.
Marshall Teague, who has been in the acting profession for more than 35 years, calls East Tennessee his hometown.
He has played in numerous movies and TV shows, including appearing opposite Patrick Swayze in the 1989 film "Road House" and taking reoccurring roles in "Walker, Texas Ranger," the popular TV series that starred martial arts expert Chuck Norris.
Teague calls Norris a close personal friend, and "Last Ounce of Courage" carries the Chuck Norris stamp of approval.
According to Norris, this is the only movie he has endorsed in which he does not actually have a role.
"Last Ounce of Courage" opened in theaters Sept. 14, grossing $1.6 million and making it to the top 15 grossing movies for that weekend.
In this area, it is playing at Carmike 14, at 1805 North Roan St., Johnson City; Capitol Cinema I & II, at 105 North Main Ave., Erwin; and Carmike College Square 12, at 2550 East Morris Blvd., Morristown.
Unlike his past roles, Teague's character in "Last Ounce of Courage" bears a striking resemblance to himself.
His character in the film, Bob Revere, shares many of his own passions.
Both love their country with an intensity that they followed into battle: The Revere character is a Vietnam war hero, and Teague himself joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17.
After first reading through the script, Teague said to the director, "I don't know who is going to play his character. Whoever he is, he better bring his heart, and he better bring his 'A' game."
The similarities continue: Revere served his small town as mayor, and Teague was a deputy sheriff in Memphis.
In fact, it was his early years in law enforcement that first introduced Teague to acting.
He took acting lessons to help him do his job as a law enforcement officer more effectively, and in the process he discovered a new passion -- acting.
Even in Hollywood, where faith often seems rare, Teague kept Christianity at the core of who he was, even if that meant turning down a few roles.
But that faith also led Teague to "Last Ounce of Courage."
"It absolutely moved me to my soul. It was what the message was -- what we stand for: the Constitution, Bill of Rights, our ability to practice our faith ... all faiths," he said in a recent telephone interview with The Greeneville Sun from the Ft. Worth, Texas area, where he lives with his wife, Lindy.
The character of Revere is unapologetically Christian. The plot hinges on this faith, but Teague says the core of the message is something that can be accepted by those of all faiths.
In the movie, Revere's son goes off to war, where he dies in battle, leaving behind a wife, and a son whom the soldier never met.
It is this son, 14 years later,who challenges his grandfather, Revere, to fight for the same thing his late father did: freedom.
Revere takes the challenge to heart and begins by reclaiming Christmas for the politically correct town, where even bringing a Bible to school is punishable.
Teague believes wholeheartedly in the fight his character takes on in the movie.
"What we have as a nation is so much beauty and a great people. And to not stand up for that country, you are cheating yourself," he said.
INFLUENCE OF EARLY LIFE
Despite the years he has spent away from his hometown of Newport, Teague said that's where he first learned about the beauty of America and where his faith began.
"I have traveled in 53 different countries, all 50 states, have been around the world twice, seen and met people from all religions, and have friends from all religions.
"My personal faith, it is Christian, and the strength of my faith started as a child when living in that area," he said, referring to his birthplace of Newport.
He said the story of "Last Ounce of Courage" aligns with many of the ideals held dear by those living under the shadow of the Smoky Mountains.
"Everything we did in this movie hinges on emotions, feelings, faith, beliefs. But it is based on small-town America ... every-town America," he said.
RECOLLECTIONS OF NEWPORT, SMOKIES
Teague loves acting and plans to continue in that profession, but he can't help but remember his own small town.
"Trips up there and watching the rivers and streams, the people, my friends. In a small neighborhood like that you know everybody. I take it with me everywhere," he said.
"I can look at the Rocky Mountains, but I can turn right around and see the Smoky Mountains."
Teague is a self-described avid outdoorsman. He loves simply being outside and enjoying nature just about anywhere.
However, he said there is one image that is imprinted into his mind like a photograph. It is East Tennessee in the fall.
"It looks like a quilt God laid over mountains. That's the Smoky Mountains," Teague said.
TIES TO THE AREA
Teague still has ties to the area beyond his fond memories or occasional visits.
He is a son of the late John Abe Teague, for many years a leading businessman in Newport, and his two brothers and his mother still call the area home, as do many cousins.
John Abe Teague Jr., a brother, is a field representative for U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City.
Another brother, J. Tyler Teague, is a custom jeweler, metallurgist, and consultant in the jewelry industry living in Johnson City.
Also living in Johnson City is their mother, Doris Teague.
"My cousins the Proffitts that still reside primarily in Newport, and Eutha Hagaman, whose son, Josh, is currently military active, my nephews Johnathan and Jason, are all inspirational examples of what my hometown encompasses to this day," Marshall Teague said.
'IT SPEAKS TO ALL AGES'
Teague Jr. said in an interview with the Sun that he took his wife and grandchildren to see the film.
"It is excitinig to see your brother, who has worked a lot of years in the movie industry, in a lead role in a theater movie," he said.
"It speaks to all ages, and it needs to because we as a nation are taking for granted these things that people before us fought for and are continuing to fight for today.
"I think we all need to have a last ounce of courage."