Category: Films

Paul Haggis on his exit from the Scientology cult

Oscar-Winning director Paul Haggis has a new movie out, The Next Three Days. Metro asked him about his exit from the Scientology cult:

It’s tempting to read the jailbreak plot of The Next Three Days as a metaphor for Haggis’s escape from Scientology. Is it the sinister cult we all think it is? ‘How would you define sinister?’ he hedges. ‘The philosophy seems fine to me but there was a lot of stuff that I found increasingly disturbing.

‘The thing is you get inside and you really have this feeling of being in a cocoon and that you’re part of a minority group and that everyone else is out to get you.

‘There’s a lot of bigotry and intolerance in this world and I saw the organisation — with all its warts, growing pains and problems — as an underdog. And I have always had a thing for underdogs. I’ve always loved the idea of being part of a group that everyone reviled.’

Hollywood for Christ (and money)

Amid big budget flops and crashing DVD sales, studio executives are turning to what they call “faith-based audiences,” more specifically America’s vast church-going community.

In the case of Secretariat, a $35 million (£22 million) Disney production which opened across the US this weekend, trailers featuring the quote from Job were distributed to religious websites, previews were held for Christian groups and the film’s subtext of faith emphasised.

More mainstream films embracing Christian themes, like forgiveness and redemption, are in the works. They include next year’s Soul Surfer, starring Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt. It tells the story of American surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm in a shark attack but eventually returned to her sport.

Hollywood’s pursuit of Christian audiences is nothing if not thorough. There are websites for pastors to download trailers and film clips for use in sermons, along with suggested Biblical quotations to link them to. Screenings are held for religious leaders months before official release dates, and promotional materials are produced for Bible study groups.

The silver screen is the pulpit of today,” pastor Phil Hotsenpiller told The Sunday Telegraph. “People get their values, their depiction of God, from the silver screen. It doesn’t mean it’s the best pulpit, but you have got a ton of people listening.”

Gerard Butler to don the role of “Machine Gun Preacher”

Hollywood action superstar Gerard Butler will soon be playing the role of real-life AK-47-toting Pastor Sam Childers in 2012’s “Machine Gun Preacher,” according to the Internet Movie Database.

A former bike gang member and drug dealer, Childers underwent a massive spiritual transformation in 1992, during a revival at an Assembly of God church .

Six years later he visited the Sudan where the Ugandan sectarian militant group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Koney, had abducted and tortured an estimated 30,000 children and displaced 1.6 million people since the start of the rebellion in 1986.

For the past 12 years, the so-called “unconventional American pastor” has lived and operated in Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda. His Angels of East Africa children’s village has become a safe haven for rescued children.

The Love Boat Captain is Back on Course

Jonathan Sperry The world knew Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing in The Love Boat TV series, but he has revealed that his personal life was far from joyful — in fact it was all at sea.

But then he found Jesus Christ as his Savior fell back in love with Patti, his former wife and, after three years of divorce, he re-married her.

Why didn’t more flock to Nativity film?

In the movie business, the first weekend is a crucial gauge in determining whether a movie lives or dies. The soft $8 million opening for “The Nativity Story” wounded its chances of becoming a holiday hit and could dampen Hollywood’s enthusiasm for big-budget faith-based movies.