A chronicle of Issues, Studies, News and other items of interest regarding Mormonism (2006-2013)
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
upcoming LDS-related films
Church Ball: comedy about Church basketball leagues where the battle on the basketball court is of mythic proportions--an underdog story about the misfit Mud Lake Ward hoops team that enters a tournament in the hopes of toppling the mighty Crystal Hills Ward. Directed by Kurt Hale and produced by Dave Hunter from HaleStorm Entertainment; $1 million budget. Script by John Moyer ("The Singles Ward", "The R.M."). Cast includes non-LDS Hollywood actors: Fred Willard ("Bewitched," "Anchorman," TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond"), Clint Howard ("Cinderella Man," "Apollo 13"), Gary Coleman (TV's "Diff'rent Strokes," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jr., son of the basketball legend, and Andrew Wilson, older brother of Luke and Owen ("Fever Pitch"). Cameos by Mark Eaton, Hot Rod Hundley, and Utah radio personality Jimmy Chunga. Church Ball is scheduled for theatrical release in the middle of basketball season January 2006.
God's Army 2: States of Grace: tagline: "Bigger. Better. Bolder"; sequel to "God's Army" written and directed by Richard Dutcher; produced by Jeff Chamberlain and Stin Hansen; shot in Los Angeles; now in post-production; cinematography by Ken Glassing ("God's Army"); starring a newcomer in the central part as a Hispanic missionary called to Los Angeles; starring Rachel Emmers ("Sons of Provo", "Out of Step"); Adam Conger, Allison Evans, Lucas Fleischer, Brett Granstaff, Jo-sei Ikeda, Rege Lewis, Allen Maldonado, Michael May, Ignacio Serricchio, Lamont Stephens. Funded largely by Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller; budget considerably under $1 million; story: a missionary's checkered past catches up with him as he and his companion are drawn into a Santa Monica gang war; religious groups other than Latter-day Saints factor prominently into the storyline, and are positively portrayed; 2005 release planned.
Suits on the Loose: previously "Bible Boy"; written and directed by Latter-day Saint Hollywood insider Rodney Henson; Produced by George Dayton, Kurt Hale, Dave Hunter (all of HaleStorm) and Rodney Henson; musical score by Alan Williams (Kilimanjaro: Mountain of Many Faces; Soul Assassin; The Princess and the Pea; Island of the Sharks (1999); Mark Twain's America; Amazon; The Robin Hood Gang; Clubhouse Detectives (1996), etc.); Cinematography by Barry M. Wilson; Starring Brandon Beemer, Ty Hodges, Shaun Weiss and Jason Winer; Cast also includes: Fred Dryer; Eric Edelstein; Alex Feldman; Allison Lange; Charles Napier; Robert Prosky; Dave Secor; Nate Torrence. Synopsis from IMDb.com: Suits on the Loose is the story of two rebellious teens, Justin (BEEMER) and Ty (HODGES), and their breakout from a military academy. When two naive Latter-day Saint missionaries, Elder Talbot (WEISS) and Elder Johnson (WINER), run into a restroom at a remote rest stop, Justin steals their car. Scrapping their military fatigues for the conservative missionaries' tags in hopes of passing through any road blocks, their guise is so good that the police insist upon escorting the escapees directly to New Harmony, the town that's been anxiously awaiting their missionaries. As the two renegades find themselves embraced by the town's hospitality, they try to map out their escape. With Elder Talbot and Elder Johnson destined to arrive, what will happen when the town of New Harmony discovers that their missionaries are actually on the lam from the law? Can they keep up the charade and fool everyone around them or will they be found out? Filmed early in 2004 in Los Angeles w/SAG actors; now in post-production; a HaleStorm production; early 2005 theatrical release.
Mobsters and Mormons: has also been titled "The Western-Relocation Program"; screenplay written by John E. Moyer (writer of "The Singles Ward", "The R.M.", "The Home Teachers"); Moyer also directs, marking his directorial debut. The story of a dysfunctional mobster family placed into the witness-relocation program among an all-Mormon community in Utah. Cast members include Mark DeCarlo, Jeanette Puhich, Clayton Taylor, Scott Christopher, Britani Bateman, Olesya Rulin, Jan Broberg Felt, and John E. Moyer as Agent Tuttle. Release date August 5, 2005 (Utah).
Piccadilly Cowboy: Formerly titled "Mind the Gap." Romantic comedy about a U.S. cowboy in England; filmed entirely in the United Kingdom; starring Bro. Jaelan Petrie ("Handcart", "Missy"), who is also the producer; produced and directed by Bro. Tyler Ford ( M.A. London Film School); musical score by famed LDS composer Alan Hawkshaw. Others in the cast are Sophie Shaw, Tom Butcher, Kate Foster-Barnes, Gwyneth Powell, James Greene, Daniel Rabin, and Ian Bustard. Principle photography was on location in London and the Scottish Highlands. Limited release August 15, 2005.
Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration: Biopic about the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the man commissioned with the task of restoring the Christianity of the New Testament to the modern world; produced by the institutional Church, scheduled for release December 23, 2005 in the Legacy Theater at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. (200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith in Vermont); directed by Gary Cook and T.C. Christensen; screenplay by Cook; cinematography by Christensen; starring Dustin Harding as "Joseph Smith", Tayva Patch ("Brigham City", "Little Secrets", "Out of Step", etc.) as "Lucy" (Joseph's mother), Rick Macy ("Brigham City", "Message in a Cell Phone", "Out of Step", "Little Secrets", etc.) as "Joseph Smith Sr."; produced by Ron Munns; line producer Steven A. Lee; production design by Roger Crandall and Richard Jamison; costume design by Shari Ohman; unit production manager is Brian. The film will be translated into multiple languages and, at some point, released nationally into theaters.
New York Doll: Documentary about the late Arthur "Killer" Kane, a recovering alcoholic who has became devout Latter-day Saint and then reunited with members of the legendary punk rock band he belonged to in the 1970s: the "New York Dolls." Competed in the Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, January 2005. Film made by a predominantly LDS film crew, led by director Greg Whiteley. Presently entered at the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) June 16-26, 2005. October release.
Thumbsucker: Directed by Mike Mills (who also wrote the screenplay), an adaptation of non-churchgoing Latter-day Saint Walter Kirn's novel about a boy (Lou Taylor Pucci) who sort of overcomes an oral fixation, becomes a Latter-day Saint and goes on a mission. Note that the Latter-day Saint content, although central to the novel, has been excised entirely from this feature film adaptation. Keanu Reeves plays the orthodonist; Tilda Swinton, Chase Offerle and Vincent D'Onofrio play other members of this family (who, in the novel, study with the missionaries and join the Church); also stars Benjamin Bratt and Vince Vaughn; debuted at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2005; Limited release Sept. 16, 2005.
The Spirithunter: Bro. David Weidner's feature film debut (he is writer/producer/director/editor): no Latter-day Saint characters, but clear Latter-day Saint beliefs in the film's afterlife themes; plot: A recently deceased man wakes up to find his memory erased. He must discover the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his death while keeping ahead of an unstoppable supernatural force determined to collect his soul; Budget: $100,000; debuted 13 May 2004 at Cannes Film Festival.
Confessions of a Hot Roddin', Pinstripin', Kustomizin', Teenage Icon: feature-length documentary about Latter-day Saint artist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth (a convert to the Church), who gained fame for his sculpted custom cars - "The Beatnik Bandit", "Mysterion" and "The Outlaw" - and his cast of eyepopping cartoon characters (including "Rat Fink"); film made by non-LDS filmmaker Ron Mann; now in post-production, with hopes of screening in the Toronto Film Festival; Summer 2005 release planned.
The Alibi: Main character (played by Steve Coogan) crosses paths with a high-minded assassin who calls himself "The Mormon." Enci plays a "Mormon wife" in this movie, which was filmed in Los Angeles and is now in post-production. Starring Steve Coogan, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Selma Blair, James Brolin, Sam Elliott, John Leguizamo, James Marsden, Jerry O'Connell. Plot outline ( IMDb.com): "A man (Coogan) who runs an alibi service for adulterous husbands gets into a jam with a new client. In trying to remedy the situation, he must rely on an alluring woman (Romijn-Stamos) who gets his heart racing." Hoyts Distribution: "Ray runs an alibi service for men and women who want to spend a little quality time away from their so-called loved ones. Business is booming and Ray's life couldn't be better if it weren't for Wendell Hatch (James Marsden), the pampered son of Rays biggest client, who snuck away to Napa for the weekend before his wedding and accidentally strangled his date-mind you, not his fiance. Suddenly Ray's accessory to Murder, featured on the most wanted lists of a savvy small-town cop, a heart broken chauffeur hungry for revenge and a high-minded assassin who call himself THE MORMON. With the help of Lola (Rebecca Romijn Stamos), his sexy, fast-talking right hand woman, Ray must mastermind one final con that will clear his name for murder and put the ghosts from his past to rest, once and for all. But even for Ray, everything doesn't always go to plan -- whether he likes it or not, he's about to learn a thing or two about love and other affairs of the heart."; Scheduled for July 2005 release.
Legacy: Documentary produced and directed by Larry Laverty about World War II veterans, noting their experiences during the war and looking at how those of us in younger generations might live up to what those Veterans fought for. Filming began in California in November 2004 with film completion planned for fall 2005. Larry Laverty, Gordon Laverty, Leon Spears, Grant Fernstrom, Gene Tarrant, Ed Silveira, L.Z. Anderson, Theodore Robinson, Hap Langstaff. Production Company: Don't Blink Productions.
The Eleventh Hour Laborers: documentary directed by Richard Dutcher and produced by Robert Foster; about the 1978 revelation allowing the priesthood to go to African-Americans; executive producer: Wayne L. Lee; now seeking additional supporters willing to make a donation in any amount to support the creation of this film; now in production.
Helmuth Hubener biopic: critically acclaimed filmmakers Ethan Vincent and Matt Whitaker (recent graduates of BYU film school) are working on a feature film biopic about Helmuth Hubener, the German Latter-day Saint teenager who opposed Adolf Hitler during World War II; Whitaker made the fascinating documentary about Hubener, Truth and Conviction (available on video/DVD); more information to follow.
The Land of Nephi: documentary produced by David C. Asay ("Lehi's Land of First Inheritance"; "In Search of Ancient Cumorah"); starring Sharlene Wells Hawkes; musical score by Thomas C. Baggaley; filmed in Guatemala beginning in Dec. 2002; 2004 release was delayed.