Ja Rule and Marjorie Mann portray son and mother in the new film 'I'm in Love With a Church Girl.'

Santa Rosa stage, television and film actress Marjorie Mann appears in the new movie, I’m in Love With a Church Girl, opening in major cities nationwide Friday, Oct. 18, and Oct. 25 at the Roxy Stadium 14 in downtown Santa Rosa.

In the film, Mann plays Julia Montego, the mother of a reformed drug dealer named Miles Montego, played by the film’s star: rapper and actor Ja Rule.

The film follows Miles’ romance with a very religious young woman, played by Adrienne Bailon. The movie also features Stephen Baldwin, Vincent Pastore and Michael Madsen.

Rule (real name: Jeffrey Atkins), known for his appearance in “The Fast and Furious” in 2001, was easy to work with, Mann said.

“We have one scene where I try to convince him to go to church with me and meet a nice girl, and we went off the script a little bit, and bantered back and forth. The scene has a nice energy,” Mann said.

Director Steve Race, who filmed “I’m in Love With a Church Girl” during the spring and summer of 2010 on location in San Jose, encouraged the cast to improvise, she  said.

“The film has a spiritual message, but it will appeal to both kinds of people — those who go to church every Sunday and those who never to go to church,” Mann said.

Release of the movie was delayed after filming for the addition of new music, she explained.

This is Mann’s second feature film. The first one, “Class Act,” a comedy starring rappers Kid ‘n’ Play (Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin), was released in 1992.

Mann, who grew up in Detroit, was working as a stage and television actreess in Los Angeles when she met and married Leon Geisberg, a Santa Rosa Realtor. She moved with him to Santa Rosa in 1994, and has continued to work in theater and on television, appearing in various roles on the soap opera “General Hospital.”

In “I’m in Love With a Church Girl,” Mann has five scenes in all, and she declared the role her favorite so far.

“It was a dream job,” she said. “I had my own trailer. I was escorted every day to hair styling, makeup and wardrobe.”

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