Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A View from Screenwriter Paul LaLonde's Window - LEFT BEHIND! Opening October 3rd!!

LEFT BEHIND is the first novel in Tim LaHaye's iconic series of the same name.  Paul LaLonde has created a film based on the initial scenarios of the novel series that promises to be just as iconic in the film industry.

Starring Nicholas Cage as well as a number of other very talented actors such as Chad Michael Murray (Chosen) and Cassi Thompson (House,CSI) and Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) Paul was able to watch his screen play brought to vivid life with the help of Vic Armstrong, John Patus and Michael Walker.

Please welcome Paul LaLonde to my Window as we discuss the release of his latest film, Left Behind.

Left Behind – the Rapture story – what sets the re-make of this film apart from the other faith-based films being produced right now?
Many of the films of 2014 are interpretations of historical events depicted in the Bible (Noah, Exodus) or explore themes of faith (Heaven Is For Real, God’s Not Dead). LEFT BEHIND focuses on present day, but depicts actual events prophesied in the Bible. The Rapture can happen at any moment and LEFT BEHIND will take viewers on that journey.  In this day and age with all the knowledge we have, LEFT BEHIND tackles questions for audiences like - How would we react to this? What are the immediate consequences of this happening today?
Why was the decision made to remake this film and focus solely on the day the Rapture occurs?  What benefit does that give to an audience?
Back when we made the first LEFT BEHIND movie in 2000, we tried to cover the entire contents of book that is several inches thick, where the events of the Rapture are covered essentially in the first 20 pages. It has always been my goal to create a movie that depicts the magnitude of what “that day” might look like – the immediate aftermath of millions of people disappearing at once, in the blink of an eye.
Many people watching the film – and many of the actors that hold major roles in the film – view the Rapture as one of many “end of the world” stories.  Was it your intent to present this as Biblical truth or as something that will cause the general population to consider this as a possibility?
We can already look at current events around the world and see the signs of times that point to the Rapture. LEFT BEHIND is biblically sound and I have no doubt that the general public will leave the theater and want to understand more of what has been prophesied.                      
Ray Steele’s wife and Chloe’s mother was a believer, and her absence becomes a vivid reminder that her faith was indeed real, and true.  That she was raptured from earth becomes the foundation of some serious introspection in Chloe and Ray’s life.  Is this the dynamic that makes this movie stand out from other faith-based films?  Does this relational angle give people pause to examine their own lives and seek truth?
I think this is a very common scenario in families everywhere. And like many families, the dynamic between Irene and Ray and Irene and Chloe    was for it to cause a break in the relationships. Irene’s faith because a barrier for Ray and Chloe, when it shouldn’t have been. And we also see the consequences of not only Irene’s unwavering faith, but also the pain         she goes through to keep her faith and her family together. I think a lot of wives and girlfriends will be able to get their partner out to the theater onOctober 3 because it’s a Nicolas Cage action movie, but it can also spark a deeper conversation and understanding of their faith.
In one of the interviews within the press kit, someone says that the movie will cause people to go to the Bible and read the story of the Rapture.  Is that one of the hopes you had while creating this script? Do you hope people will find truth?
Yes. Our tagline is ‘Are you ready?’ This story depicts the Rapture happening today. It was specifically written to provoke thought and curiosity and the desire to learn more, while at the same not being too ‘in-your-face’ preachy. I believe that LEFT BEHIND will propel general audiences to pick up the Bible (a book that they may never have opened before) and find out more for themselves about this apocalyptic phenomenon. 
Who is your favorite character in the movie?  One that you relate to most closely?  Why?
To be honest, it would have to be Chloe. Her dialogue throughout is essentially me talking. Before I came to the Lord, I had a lot of well-reasoned arguments. Like me, she needed a lot of proof and had a lot of questions and really battled before finally letting down her guard.
How has the writing of this screenplay and the fruition of the movie impacted your own faith-walk?
It took about a year for me and my writing partner John Patus to get the script together. Going into it, we had some very clear goals of what we wanted to accomplish with the characters, and how the message of the film came across and what the day of the Rapture would look like exactly. We had to be able to tie everything into a tight script with characters that people would care about and relate to. It took a lot of hard work and soul searching to bring life and perspective to these characters and I think God would not have accepted anything less to get His message out.
Are you pleased with the quality of the film?  Do you hope the success of this film will open new doors for you to make other faith-based films?  Is this the mission field God has called you serve?
Yes, very much so. We shot LEFT BEHIND on a $16 million budget and every dollar of that is in this movie. The cast is amazing! Nicolas Cage brought his “A game” to set as did every incredible crewmember we worked with. The entire crew list, which includes Vic Armstrong as director (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Amazing Spider-Man, James Bond) Jack Green as director of photography (Unforgiven), and Stephen Altman as production designer (Chronicle, Gosford Park), would be the same names you see working on a $200 million action epic. It was an honor to work with them. We absolutely will continue to raise the bar with more faith-themed films.

You indicate that Left Behind represents a very small portion of a much larger work?  Will we see more films bases off this series of books?
Yes, sequels are planned.

Do you feel that we are living in the end time?  Why or why not? How do you hope Left Behind impacts the Kingdom?

I believe many of the signs are clear these days. I am ready and I hope this film will help more people say the same.

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