Thursday, October 2, 2014

A View from Jerry Jenkins Window - LEFT BEHIND - the movie

The re-release of the Left Behind movie wouldn't be possible had Jerry Jenkins not teamed up with Tim LaHaye and written the book!  So I thought it was important to reach out to the author and see what he thinks about the star-studded re-release of this film!

So please give a warm welcome to Jerry Jenkins and hear his thoughts on the movie, Left Behind!

Can you briefly describe the beginning of the Left Behind series that began in 1995?  How did you and Tim LaHaye become a writing team?

                Our mutual agent at the time, Rick Christian, introduced us as to each other as Tim—“a bestselling nonfiction writer with a great fiction idea,” and Jerry—“a novelist with no ideas,” and we hit it off. Kidding, but I loved the idea and the man (23 years my elder), and I especially liked that he didn’t want to help me with the writing. He served as the theologian and scholar and kept me on track theologically as I handled the fun part—the writing.

How did Paul Lalonde become involved as a screenwriter?

                As the owner of the screen rights, he didn’t have to “become involved.” He gets to do whatever he wants, and I’m glad he chose to write the script rather than play Rayford Steele. J

When/where was the idea born to remake Left Behind?

                I have no idea, but I assume Paul believed, as Dr. LaHaye and I did, that he and his company could do better than the initial three videos they produced in the early 2000s if they had a bigger budget, a more ambitious script, better special effects, and a real star attached.

What was your first gut-reaction after viewing the film?

                I was thrilled.
During a recent conference call one of the main characters in the movie stated that there seemed to be a sort of cosmic awareness of the end time events that is being played out in both film (Left Behind) and television (The Leftovers).  Do you think God’s hand is in the timing of the re-release of this and other Biblically based stories that seem to be popular right now? What sets this film apart from others?

                Nothing happens outside God’s timing. My hope is that this film informs the uninitiated, beyond encouraging the informed.

Based on all of the media coverage I’ve seen so far, it seems to be the hope that this film will appeal to a broad audience – both Christian and non-Christian movie-goers.  What do you hope viewers will take away from this movie experience?

                The unabashed, unapologetic purpose of the book series was to keep as many people as possible from being left behind. That’s the hope for the movie as well.

What involvement, if any, have you had with the promotion of this film? How does this differ from a book promotion?

                Thoroughly involved, coast to coast, enthusiastically endorsing and appearing on national radio, TV, and internet outlets. Attended the Catalina Film Festival off the California coast for the premier one weekend, NYC the next day, etc. Whatever I can do. The difference between movie and book promotion is that with a book, very little can be sneak previewed.

Has this film project impacted you in a personal way? How?  Why?

                It’s been a dream come true for me, but the bottom line is reaching people with the truth of Scripture.

What words of encouragement would you like to leave with those who may be viewing Left Behind in theaters in October?

                Bring friends, relatives, and loved ones. And if you want more of these kinds of movies, make this one a huge success. Two sequels are already scheduled, but let’s make it a franchise for the best of all motives—having the truth of the Bible compete with the message of the world.

As a bonus I'd like to share Jerry's thoughts as he recorded them at the Catalina Film Festival:

How the Other Half Lives
While Left Behind has allowed my wife and me some privileges over the years, we’re middleclass at heart, not at home in the circles of the elite, where the company can be wonderful but the air stratospheric.
I'm writing this on a patio outside the Metropole Hotel on Catalina Island the morning after having walked the red carpet with Jordin Sparks and much of the rest of the cast and seen the premiere of the Left Behind movie starring Nicolas Cage at the Catalina Film Festival. It was shown at the historic Avalon Theater here, built in 1929.
The late deadpan comedian George Gobel, finding himself on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson with several big name luminaries, quipped, “Did you ever feel like the whole world’s a tuxedo and you’re a pair of brown shoes?”
That’s how I felt after the showing when I was invited on stage with the director and five members of the cast. My role in this enterprise started and ended 19 years ago with the release of the first book in the series, so about all I could say was how thrilled I was to see it brought to life on the big screen.
The highlight of my night was hearing Miss Sparks say she had been a fan of Left Behind since she was a little girl. Of course, to one of my vintage, she’s still a little girl.

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