Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 01/25/23

A cautionary tale for our time? Whether you’re into antichrist and end time speculations or not, a viewing of the trailer for Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist suggests a pretty powerful allegory about the disconcerting era we’re living through right now – and where our world may be headed if we go down the road of putting our faith in glorified people who hold themselves up as some sort of gods in sole possession of the truth. The film, debuting in theaters tomorrow (1/26) via Fathom Events, stars and is directed by for Hercules and Andromeda TV legend and faith film favorite Kevin Sorbo (God’s Not Dead, Soul Surfer).

JWK: You have a great resume of acting and directing credits, including, of course, faith-themed films. Why’d you choose this project?

Kevin Sorbo: I was a fan of the books. I read the books growing up as a kid and I knew about the movies they’ve done with Kirk Cameron and the one that came out about seven or eight years ago with Nicolas Cage. It’s interesting because that came out the same time God’s Not Dead came out. God’s Not Dead was a massive hit and the Cloud Ten guys up there in Toronto that own the rights to all the Left Behind books got inundated (by fans) saying “Why’d you book Nicolas Cage? Why didn’t you book Kevin Sorbo for the role (of protagonist Rayford Steele)?” So, I met with them. They called me up. They came down to LA (where) I was living at the time and they said “Hey, we want to do this movie with you. Would you like to do it?” and I said “Well, of course I would.” Then they ran into some sort of legal problems. Within Cloud Ten I guess there were some problems. I don’t know all the details but there were court situations for like five or six years. Finally, that was settled and then they came to me and said “Okay, we’re ready to do this.” So, I jumped on board. I directed it just over a year ago. We shot October, November and December in 2021. Then here it is a year later and now it’s coming out in theaters.

JWK: Your wife Sam and your son Braeden are also in the film. What’s it like directing not just yourself but members of your family in a movie?

KS: My wife’s very opinionated like I am so we butt heads a little bit but it’s all good creative headbutting which I like. Breaden, gosh, he’s done about four or five movies now. He and I just did a movie together in Montana this past fall. It was (also) an apocalyptic sort of movie. It was kind of cool. We had a good time doing that one as well.

You know, we’ve got a great cast in this. We’ve got Neal McDonough in it. We’ve got Corbin Bernsen and we’ve got Bailey Chase. We’ve got a wonderful cast. It was a great script. We have high hopes for it, obviously, but it’s tough out there in that little independent market right now because theaters are opening but people are still (hard to get). I don’t think they fear covid as much as it’s just comfortable watching movies at home. We’ll see what happens.

JWK: Theaters in the covid era are kind of resemble the world in Left Behind. A lot of people are missing.

KS: It kind of is. We made it very present day. There was a rewrite on it. There are a lot of issues in there. We don’t say covid but we do talk about pandemics and fear and all that. I think it’s pretty good. I like the rewrite and how they sort of dig at the craziness of the world right now.

JWK: Could the movie be described as an allegory for all the crazy things currently going on in the world?

KS: Well, I think it’s perfect timing for this movie because, yeah, you look at the insanity going on – the hate, the anger and the divisiveness. This cancel culture is nuts. It’s Woke insanity. I think there are so many unhappy people in the world and they love this little power they can have at two in the morning in the darkness of their apartment (where) they can attack anybody that they disagree with. It’s sad on one hand but I don’t give these trolls any credence whatsoever. They are what they are. They’ve got to live with themselves. That’s kind of a tough way to live, being angry every day. I’m hoping this movie can reach out to some people and make them wake up a little bit.

JWK: Do you feel the movie says something about the kind of disturbing nexus that seems to have developed between big government, big tech and big media to sort of control the narrative and, therefore, the way many people view the world?

KS: You know, they’ve been doing it for decades. It’s just that now there’s no hiding it. I mean social media is so prevalent out there. Everybody’s doing it. It’s harder for them to hide the fact that they lie a lot and they control our lives a lot – but they still do it because they don’t care. Hypocrisy sort of rules the world right now. I think the trouble is…we give them so many passes. I think apathy has been the biggest killer of not only America but the world right now. People just give up and (and say) “Oh, what are you gonna do? It is what it is.” Well, you know, if you’re gonna have that kind of attitude then you’re gonna get the lives and the government you deserve.

JWK: I don’t know if you watch Russell Brand’s video commentaries but he talks with a lot of concern about the trend toward globalism and digital currency and the way that can be used to really control people. Do you have any thoughts on that?

KS: They even talk about it. You hear people talk about a one-world government. Like I said, they’re not afraid to show that they want to control our lives from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, billions of people are willing to let them do that. It’s “Oh, please take care of me!” and “Oh, I give up!”…So, it’s interesting times right now but I do see a shift. We often talk about that silent majority. I think that people are saying enough is enough right now with Wokism and cancel culture. I think there’s going to be a positive tide turning over the next couple of years.

JWK: Do you think movies like this help people see the dangers out there in terms of big government and global control?

KS: Yeah. This movie uncovers that. It covers that fact that these people want to take over the world. They come across as really great guys. “Hey, we’re going to make things so great for you! They’ll be one currency!” (There’s the) cute John Lennon song Imagine. If people really listen to it, that song is about communism for crying out loud. People go “What a great song!” No, it’s not a great song. It’s about giving up on life and letting people control you…I hope people (go see Left Behind). We’ve got 1400 screens its gonna air on. If we have a great opening weekend then the movie will continue. I hope people go to…Check out which theater is closest to you. I hope that anybody who’s a churchgoer tells their pastor about it and tells people to fill up the theater because this movie has a positive message. We need people who support these things because I don’t have the James Cameron 100-million dollar he does for Avatar.

JWK: Do you feel that there’s an anti-faith/anti-religion bias in Hollywood?

KS: There’s no question about it. I got booted out ten to twelve years ago. I was at ICM for years. I had a great manager. I think she didn’t want to have to say goodbye but I think she had to fold to the pressure of my agents and they were saying “We’re gonna have to let you go.” It was plain and simply because I’m a Christian and I’m conservative. I think it’s worse being a Christian in Hollywood than it is being a conservative – and they’re both bad. I don’t know why. It’s weird to me. They will protect other religions. Certainly they protect the Muslim religion. I’m going “Really?”…Are Christians responsible for the majority of terror attacks around the world? I mean, if they are, I’m not seeing it in the news. It’s weird.

It is a constant betrayal and attack by the government, by mainstream media, by movies, by television shows – going after Christians, going after conservatives as the evil of the world. Well, I don’t know. All I can see is what Joe Biden’s doing right now (which) is making America tougher and tougher to live in. We were energy independent two years ago. Now we are reliant on foreign oil…We keep paying other countries billions of our tax dollars. You know, these are countries that hate us. Can’t they just hate us for free? Why do we gotta pay them money? It’s so weird.

JWK: Speaking of politics, do you anybody on the political horizon that you could support?

KS: I like DeSantis a lot. I think the guy’s rock star. I left California four years ago. I left way before the whole covid insanity started. Now, I’m here (in Florida). I never wear a mask in this state.

JWK: Checking your IMDB page, you have a ton of things on your agenda. How do you stay so busy?

KS: I make myself stay busy. Trust me. I work my butt off. I don’t take vacations. If I’m on vacation I’ve still got my computer. I’m working and making phone calls. I’m always looking for funders. That’s the hardest thing…You know, I do movies that are the opposite of Hollywood. I do movies that have faith, love, laughter, redemption, hope and things that Hollywood won’t do. So, if there’s anybody out there that wants to jump on board, jump on board!

My movies are in the three-to-four-million range. That’s the catering budget of a Pirates of the Caribbean or Avatar…I’m trying to do movies that have a positive message instead of a negative one. The biggest obstacle we have is finding funders which is weird to me because I meet fairly wealthy people that are conservative and Christian (but) they don’t invest in the movies – and they’re gonna get their money back. I haven’t lost anybody money on my movies. So, I hope that people jump on board and keep spreading the good word.

Walt Disney said back in the 1950s that Hollywood’s movies and television will influence our youth. Well, please, take a look at our youth today. The average person under 30 thinks that socialism and communism is good. These people have no education on what socialism and communism has done to the world (which) in the last century killed 100-million people. It’s so easy to forget and have Hollywood control the puppet strings on all the masses out there because people are sheep. I’m trying to wake up the lions. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to lose your job if people don’t like what you say. Find a better job! Find a better way of life! I’m hoping people will follow as well.

JWK: Speaking of Disney, the company seems to have hit some hard times recently regarding its share price and box office results. Do you think their Wokism has anything to do with that?

KS: It has everything to do with it. People are tired of lifestyles being forced down their throats. I don’t care what people do with their lives as long as they’re not hurting other people but this is forcing it down their throats -“You gotta watch this! You gotta watch that!” You know, people watch things when they want to watch them. Pushing this agenda on people is weird to me. The population is showing that they’re sick of it. When are they gonna wake up?…(Hollywood) is still a capitalist business. Like any other studio, they’re in the business of making money. That’s capitalism guys. Everything that this country has…is based on capitalism.

JWK: Final question, would you ever do another TV series?

KS: You know, I would love to. I got a couple that are wonderful. We’re trying to get them off the ground now – a couple of pilots with some great writers. I would love to do another series. I loved it. After seven years on Hercules and five years on Andromeda I did a pilot for ABC. It was their number-one tested pilot. (It was) a half-hour comedy created by Barry Kemp who did Coach, Norm MacDonald‘s show (A Minute with Stan Hooper) and Newhart. It tested number-one and they didn’t pick it up! They got rid of the guy running the (network) and then the first thing the new president got was Modern Family. We missed the boat by a year. I think if we had a different president running ABC at the time we would have gotten an eight-year run out of Bobby Cannon, for sure.

IMHO: Kevin’s right. I checked out the pilot for Bobby Cannon. It was something of a cross between Cheers and Coach but totally worked as its own thing. The writing was crisp and the characters were relatable with long-running potential. It had the makings of a classic sitcom. And, yes, Kevin Sorbo actually displayed a real flair for comedy. It’s amazing ABC passed on it. If you’re curious, you can check out the entire pilot here.

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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