On Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013actor and producer Kirk Cameron debuted UNSTOPPABLE in more than 700 select movie theaters across the country through NCM Fathom Events, in partnership with Provident Films. More than 150,000 tickets were sold for UNSTOPPABLE in which Cameron was linked in live to theaters from The Vines Center at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Due to the demand, and a large number of sold out shows on Sept 24, an encore presentation is now scheduled for this Thursday, October 3, 2013at 7:00pmlocal time in more than 660 movie theaters. Ticket and theater information are available at www.unstoppablethemovie.com.
KW: Congratulations on UNSTOPPABLE becoming the most successful event in the history of Fathom Events! You have sort of created the model for successful religious or spiritually-themed narrative and documentary films… has the process improved in trying to get the funding to make these films, then producing and distributing t to audiences?
Kirk Cameron: I think that they have. And that is largely because of the success of some films like PASSION OF THE CHRIST, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS and others. So people know that this is a viable product and there is a market out there, so investors are willing to invest. And then for some, these projects are just “passion projects”… these are labors of love, extensions of ministry for some. They just want to get a message out. Most documentaries don’t make money. Most movies don’t make money for the most part.
Kirk Cameron: But documentaries are even more difficult [to make a profit from]. So the fact that UNSTOPPABLE did what it did is really kind of an anomaly. For it to be king of the box office last Tuesday even over PRISONERS with Hugh Jackman and everybody else, really took everyone by surprise. Especially because [our film] is not about Global Warming or something like that. It is about a philosophical question… “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?” I think our success is very interesting. It tells us something about the audience and I think there are exciting things happening.
KW: As you look back on your recent career as a Filmmaker after being so successful as an Actor, what do you see…
Kirk Cameron: I see that there are a huge number of people out there… Conservatives and People of Faith who for so long have felt that their values have not been represented in the Media and in Hollywood, particularly. When films like UNSTOPPABLE come out… I’ve got millions of friends out there who look at the world like I do and value faith, hope and love and they want their voice to be heard and reflected in the Media. I think that is why they came out in droves to see UNSTOPPABLE on Tuesday. Now with our second showing, we are beginning to sell out shows for this Thursday night. And that is very exciting and very encouraging to me. I hope it inspires others to make films like this.
KW: You open UNSTOPPABLE with probably one of the greatest unanswered questions in history… “Why do bad things happen to good people in the World?” What motivated you to seek an answer via your film?
Kirk Cameron: This is a question has been wrestled with for thousands of years. It is one of the biggest faith-shredding questions you could think of. For me personally… I had a friend, Matthew Sandgren, who was fifteen years old and died from cancer. And he was a really good kid, from a great family. And they loved and prayed to God every day… and God didn’t heal him. He suffered with cancer for ten years and this made me want to get to the bottom of the question for myself personally. And also, to provide something to bring other people… to strengthen their faith and bring them a sense of comfort and hope.
KW: I think you achieved that with your film. Years ago, a young family member of ours died from a terrible disease and at the funeral service, his father spoke and asked the Minister… where did all the Prayers go? It was a shocking moment, but I thought he asked an important question and one which I haven’t had even the remotest answer for myself. I think UNSTOPPABLE is probably the first documentary to try to answer that type of question.
Kirk Cameron: It is such a difficult question to answer. To get the final answer to that question… in a sense, I think we won’t know the final answer and a complete answer until one day when we have the opportunity to ask God face to face. But until then, I think we can gain some insights that can help us to deal with some difficult tragedy like that. I tried to bring those out in UNSTOPPABLE.
KW: In UNSTOPPABLE, you incorporated some very stylized scenes and made some really interesting choices of music… how do you go about planning and building those scenes?
Kirk Cameron: Well, I’ve got a talented team that I have hooked up with and we’ve kind of just came up with some of our favorite imagery and favorite music together. It was like having a few chefs in the kitchen and we were just trying things… seeing what works and then, threw it all together. It came out as a smorgasbord of all kind of Bible stories. Like a visual journal-documentary, mixed with a Bible lesson and some music videos! It really is a mix of all kind of stuff.
KW: They probably could have used you back in the 80s for some of the music videos on MTV! Well, I do want to ask you about the Cain and Abel segment. It was great and the music you chose… gave it a darker, edgy feel without being too dark. It felt like an Old West-type of theme with a little taste of Film Noir to it and some Blues-Country mixed in.
Kirk Cameron: There was another section in UNSTOPPABLE… at the funeral. I’m narrating while there’s lots of images of my friend’s funeral at the Church. And we threw this music in there that was sort of “Dark Country”… almost like something where the Sheriff’s riding into town and… he’s about to “round up all the bad guys and throw them in jail” type of song. It was a different take, but ultimately that is the story in the Bible. Where the King has left his Kingdom for quite a while and when he shows up, the place is just infested with evil and he’s just there to round it up… to whip [the evil] and throw it all into a pit.
KW: Almost like Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON.
Kirk Cameron: Yes. So we threw some of that music in there and it’s probably the first time the Gospel has been set to Old Western music.
KW: When you shot some of the exterior shots, they were quite beautiful. Where did you shoot the film? Was it all over the United States?
Kirk Cameron: Primarily Los Angeles and also in Bison, South Dakota where the Sandgren family is from. I’m glad you liked it. Some of the most visually exciting scenes I thought… I love the shot of the man coming up out of the mud. That was kind of fun to shoot. And all the “Adam and Eve” shots… I really liked the simple beauty of a man and a woman in the Garden of Eden and what that must have been like. The actors in the scene are actually a married couple in real life. They are friends of ours.
KW: The Hollywood Pitch scene really gives viewers a good glimpse into the creative process and how things can play out in a conference room with Executives who are far removed from the true genesis of a story and why it should be told. Did you feel it was important to include that scene to show people what goes on when a Person of Faith wants to make a film or did you have another reason?
Kirk Cameron: Well, it was kind of a two-edged sword. One, it was a little wink to Hollywood about what meetings can be like when you’re trying to pitch a story. But the [other edge] was a wink at the Church… in that it is sad, but true. That is what we have done even in the Church with the story of Noah and the Flood. If you go into a bookstore or someplace where you are going to see Noah and the Ark, you are going to see puzzles, board games, rainbow stickers, and a little tugboat floating on top of what looks like some bath water with dolphins playing in the waves. Then, a happy little dove with some animals poking their heads out of the window of the Ark. Almost like it is a fairytale and a happy little children’s story. When the truth is… this is really a very tragic story of a perfect world gone bad and tremendous judgment with horrific consequences. But people don’t really like that and so, even in the Church, we sanitize certain things and turn it into something that it is not. I was hoping that the Church would be poked by that a little bit. And also that it would be fun to spoof a little on the Hollywood pitch meeting.
KW: It is good that you included that scene. Many people in the Church think making a movie is as easy as just going out there with a camera or that just by talking to a few people that you can raise millions of dollars and all of a sudden, you can make a big-budget film about anything you want. I did find your Pitch scene somewhat ironic as in the scene, you are pitching a film project about Noah. There is a film called NOAH, with Russell Crowe coming out next Spring.
Kirk Cameron: I am sure Russell Crowe will be great in it, but I am interested to see what they do with it.
KW: Getting back to your film… why do you think UNSTOPPABLE was such a major success? Do you think where we are right now in American history and where the economy is that maybe people are looking for something that they aren’t getting or they need right now?
Kirk Cameron: I will say that two things come to mind. I would say that the Conservatives and People of Faith are sleeping giants and they often don’t feel represented in Hollywood and sometimes… we need to get kicked in the teeth before we really stand up and make use of all the resources and potential that we have to make our voice heard. So when a movie like this comes out, it really resonates in the hearts of People of Faith. They come out and they will want to be a part of it. They want to be part of something that they believe is going to send a message. Something that will help amplify their voice and their desires. So I think people came out because they wanted to support it and because they found it interesting. I really want to get an answer to this question! It is a universal question… whether you are an Atheist or a Jew or a Christian or Muslim or whatever… if there is a God of love and power, why does he let kids die of cancer? Where do all the prayers go?
And then secondly, thankfully… I’ve got a lot of friends out there. Who loved FIREPROOF. Who grew up with GROWING PAINS and they’re saying “finally, here is a Hollywood guy who’s not strung out on drugs or dead or… twerking on stage! And he’s actually trying to lift up the virtues of faith, hope and love. Let’s go support him.”
KW: Any new projects that you are working on that people should know about?
Kirk Cameron: Yes, I have three projects in development right now. One of them is almost finished. It is a family-themed Little League Baseball movie for Mom, Dad and all the Kids. Kind of like THE SANDLOT meets THE BLINDSIDE. It’ll be a fun movie about Faith, Family and Little-League Baseball. My wife, Chelsea, is in it along with a comedian friend of mine named Tim Hawkins. And he plays my brother. Then, a couple of documentaries after that and then I’m going to tackle Christmas and Halloween.
KW: Where can people buy tickets or find a list of cities where it will be playing?
Kirk Cameron: We’d like everyone to go to www.unstoppablethemovie.com and on this Thursday, October 3rd, we’d like to sell out the theaters again. If people saw UNSTOPPABLE and loved its message and you know someone who needs to get an answer to this question or you couldn’t see it because it was sold out… we hope everyone will come out on Thursday. We can really make waves in Hollywood if we sell out all the theaters again.
KW: Good luck, Kirk!
This piece was originally posted at http://thewilliamsview.com/kirk-cameron-is-unstoppable/
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