Will Graham, Billy Graham's grandson, visits Roanoke for conference

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Billy Graham's grandson spent Thursday at the Hotel Roanoke, speaking to the Christian Meetings and Conventions Association.
We sat down with Will Graham to talk about his time in southwest Virginia, his career and playing his granddad in a movie.

It was quiet outside Hotel Roanoke in the early evening. But inside a Graham was preaching.

This is Will Graham, grandson to Billy Graham and Executive director at the Billy Graham Training Center.

Before a crowd in the Hotel Roanoke conference center, he's doing what he knows best.

"I'm gonna do just what my Granddad would do," he said. "Just give the gospel."

The Liberty University graduate said the past week has been an emotional roller coaster, especially when he heard his granddad's voice or recalled a particular memory.

But he says his family was humbled by the outpouring of love for the man he called "Daddy Bill."

"He didn't think anyone would come to his funeral because he said, 'No one knows me- all my friends have gone. No one could come to my funeral!'" Graham said, laughing. "So I think he would have surprised to see the outpouring of people and that meant a lot to us as a family."

Graham said they aren't trying to preserve his grandfather's memory- just keep his work going. And he's not trying to be the next Billy Graham.

"I'm just trying to be Will Graham, and I mean that in the sense that I wanna be what God calls me to be," he said. "...I hope I've learned from my grandfather and my father but God's calling me to be Will Graham."

But Hollywood is calling on him to portray Billy Graham. He's acting in a new movie, playing his grandfather in the 1940s.

It's a sequel to Unbroken, a film that was directed by Angelina Jolie. It depicted the life of Louis "Louie" Zamperini, a World War Two veteran, prisoner of war and Olympian. The film was criticized for leaving out the part of Zamperini's life where he turns his life around after one of Billy Graham's crusades. Now, that encounter will finally make it to the silver screen, even though Graham claims he's no actor.

"What you'll see in the movie is my granddad's actual sermon from 1949," he said. "But during cuts and stuff like that I would literally preach to the extras sitting in front of me."

Graham says saying goodbye to "Daddy Bill" was hard.
But he reiterates - it's not forever.

"It's momentary sadness," he said. "But I know we're gonna see him again."