With all the hype surrounding a certain sexually charged movie aimed at bringing in a large female audience I figured now would be a good time to write a little bit about a project that seeks to appeal to the female audience but do so by appealing to a different longing.
A few years ago my wife was told about a novel called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, she ate it up. If you would ask her today what her favorite novel of all time was she would answer Redeeming Love. I personally have not read this book because it did not interest me enough to invest so much of my time to read it (I love to read but I am slow) she did get me to read the Mark of the Lion series by the same author and I loved those books. After my wife read this book and she handed it off to a few others and I saw how much this novel was loved I began to wonder, will this ever become a movie? After all, this was a novel that has sold over a million copies and is still a mainstay on book store shelves today. Go ahead, check Barns and Nobles book shelf, it’s still there. When I looked into it I found out that the novel had been optioned for a movie adaptation by a studio that I did not know nor had they ever done a film before. They were looking to Redeeming Love to be their first film.
This scared me. I have seen plenty of Christian films get made only to let me down with its quality. I could not find any information at the time about what plans they had for the movie. A few months ago I went to see if there was any update and realized that the information about the movie had been taken down. Very sad. The would be producer of the film shared a blog about what had happened. I intend to summarize what she wrote about her plans for the project but before I do, I would like you to think for a moment, my wife mentioned on Saturday, after leaving the mall that houses our closest movie theater and seeing a line for the movie like we have yet to see for any other movie. Imagine if this movie was still on track. Imagine if it was made and made well. Imagine if they chose Valentine’s Day Weekend of 2015 to release the film. What would have happened? Redeeming Love vs. 50 Shades of Grey. I will tell you what would happen. Redeeming Love would have been crushed! However, a movie is not simply successful if it wins the opening weekend. Would any of the ladies lining up for 50 Shades have chosen to see Redeeming Love after finding out their showing of 50 Shades was sold out? Would it have helped the numbers for Redeeming Love? It would have been interesting.
So what did happen to the movie and is there still plans for this novel? First let me tell you what happened to the film. You can read the would be producer Christy Lee Taylor’s actual post HERE but some of the information she shared has changed my mind about her and the project. I went from being concerned about quality to being disappointed that the property was not still in her hands.
The first thing you want to hear from someone who has purchased the rights to a film are that they did so because they were big fans of the novel. Her love for the novel is what lead to her securing the rights. She tells the story of how she was able to get the rights in length in her post but what I was impressed with was her passion for the story.
Her vision was to create a film that transcended the “Christian film” name, not by removing the religious portions of the novel but rather by making the movie quality. She was looking for a 30 million dollar budget. To put that into perspective, that is the budget of The Passion of the Christ. She shares that she had found many people to partner with her if she was willing to make the movie for less than 5 Million. This would have placed it in the same sphere as Mom’s Night Out. She refused several offers like that because she felt that the story deserved bigger than $5 Million. I think she was absolutely correct and I admire her for standing her ground. Later, through a series of events she was able to secure Ralph Winter to come on board. Does anyone know that name? well, he was the producer on the first 3 X-Men movies and he recently was an executive producer on The Giver. If I was looking to get something done like this I would turn to Winter.
On her blog she shares two photos, one of her with Jim Caviezel and the other with Hugh Jackman and makes the comment that they would have been great for the part of Michael Hosea. I am certain Jim Caviezel would have done the film and with the contact of Ralph Winter it would not be a stretch to see Jackman in the part either.
Do you see, everything I would be advising Christy that I would like to see in an adaptation of a bestselling Christian Novel she is doing. She is on the right track to make a Christian Film that has the quality of a secular film with the ability to be profitable.
After several years the budget was lowered slightly, to about $15 Million, this should not necessarily be seen as her compromising rather the art form have become cheaper. Several movie have been made with good quality for 15 million.
Unfortunately she was not able to secure the funds to get the film into production so the rights reverted back and she is out of the picture. This is truly a sad story in Christian film making. Her project had the potential to be a game changer. It had the potential of showing that Christian Films with good quality based on Christian fiction could be profitable.
Well, the rights have now been picked up by a company called Cantinas Production-Development Co. So someone is still working on a Redeeming Love film, but they will need to start from scratch and I have no idea who is pushing the project along. Will they have the same love for the project that Christy had? Hard to believe they could. We will need to wait and see.