The Duggar family has basically taken up residency on our TV for years, but you probably missed when Jim Bob, Jessa, Jill, and the rest made their film debut in Courageous. That’s right, the majority of the Duggars ended up in the 2011 movie, and apparently little Joy-Anna was the break-out star. ICMYI, a fraction of their on-set experience was documented in the episode, “Duggars Go Hollywood.” And by Hollywood, of course, they mean “Albany, Georgia.”

Most of the Duggar clan actually got to film their bit parts, with only a few family members absent. Jana and John David were in Indonesia on a mission trip, while Michelle was with newborn Josie. And we all remember how things were tough for little Josie at first, so no movie debut for her and Michelle just yet.

duggars in courageous
Tristar Pictures

The general premise of Courageous is that four Christian cops reside in Albany, Georgia and are wrestling with their own imperfections as fathers and husbands. One of the cops, Adam Mitchell, is shaken when his daughter dies in a drunk driving accident. The band of friends all decide to make a formal resolution to become better fathers. For Adam, this means joining his estranged child in the Father-Son 5K. Apparently, he never “got” his son’s interest in running a 5K. Which is, you know, a totally natural thing for a teenage boy to be interested in.

Duggar patriarch Jim Bob obviously loved the focus on fathers and children, and he was interviewed about what he loved most about the movie’s message. “There’s no greater joy than seeing my children walk in truth, and over the years we’ve invested in our children’s lives, trying to teach them God’s principles,” he said. Naturally, he and seven of his 10 sons filmed the 5K scene. Duggar fun fact: since the family discourages wearing shorts (or at least did in the early years), some of the Duggar boys did the scene “in costume”!

Well anyway, you can kind of catch Jim Bob in the trailer about 2 minutes in, so that’s something. Look closely, he’s number 76.

jim bob duggar courageous
Tristar Pictures

And it wasn’t just the boys filming that 5K run scene (scandalous!). Also interviewed was Josh’s wife Anna Duggar.

Long before that whole Earth-shattering molestation scandal, the couple seemed so stoked to be in front of the camera. And Anna’s favorite part of the movie? The complete servitude to one’s husband, no matter how flawed. “From a mother’s perspective, seeing how the wives honor the fathers and dads at home, because dads want to be courageous, they want to be the hero,” she said, with Josh’s arm around her. “But they need the support of a loving wife saying you are courageous, you are the man of the house.”

josh and anna duggar
Tristar Pictures


Anyway, the Duggar daughters were the break-out stars of the flick, with Jessa, most of Jill, and Joy-Anna getting actual up-close screentime. Jessa can be spotted clear as day during the gigantic memorial scene (which we’re sure is mostly comprised of Duggars). “Joy did really good in the funeral scene, she was like crying,” Jessa said. “Maybe for the past few years, she hasn’t been crying for real, maybe she’s just been pretending.”

joy-anna duggar courageous
Tristar Pictures

Is that actually the case, though? When asked if Joy can cry on command, she responded with a hasty, “No,” before adding with a side-eye, “Well, if I had to. But I don’t want to right now.”

Despite the then-13-year-old’s unique ability to burst into crocodile tears, none of the Duggars won an Oscar for their efforts. Still, we can’t imagine that the Duggars are going to be on hiatus from acting forever. Clearly, a big family requires a bigger screen…than the several screens we’ve already given them.

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