April 10, 2004
Going Gaga for God
The new issue Entertainment Weekly just arrived, and it contains a fascinating roundtable discussion about faith and film between Ralph Winter (X-men), Phil Vischer (VeggieTales), Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven), Martha Williamson (Touched by an Angel), and zoinks! Jerry B. Jenkins (Left Behind).
The impetus for the discussion is, of course, the wild success of The Passion of the Christ, and the general theme is, "What will Hollywood do next to capitalize on this 'new' religious fervor?"
Thankfully, no one is claiming that their next project is going to do nearly as well as Mel Gibson's project, because the success of The Passion has a lot to do with Mel the Non-threatening Hollywood Celebrity. And, as Vischer points out, Mel the Catholic, who was able to get away with some artistic liberties because "the evangelical community doesn't hold him to the same standard." Good point.
When faced with the "Is it art or is it propaganda?" question, Vischer again makes a great point, "All marketing is proselytizing. Diet Coke is trying to convert people from Diet Pepsi."
Throughout, Jenkins come off as the funny, light-hearted guy that he genuinely seems to be. Albom seems like the obvious odd-man-out, but he's probably got the best chances at future film success he's the got the power of good stories in his arsenal (Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven). Even if Hollywood now decided to sink $25 million into an apocalyptic thriller (like Left Behind), it's hard to believe that it'd be any good.
Posted by Steve K. at April 10, 2004 04:57 PM
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Hey, I think it would be terrific for Mel (or somebody who can tell stories visually) to depict the weeks between the resurrection and the ascension.
It would totally be about how the disciples began to realize that Jesus really did rise from the dead, and then learn how they were to wrap their lives around Him in this new era as the Holy Spirit began to lead the way.
I have to admit, I laughed when I read that Jay Leno (or someone in a similar talk show) said, "The Passion is a pretty good story... they should make a book out of it!"
Posted by: GregB at April 12, 2004 10:18 AM
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