Writer and Producer Paul Lalonde is all set for "Left Behind" opening on Oct. 3.
Lalonde was involved in the first three films based on Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins top-selling Left Behind books.
This is his reboot.
About 14 years ago he didn’t have a 15-18 million dollar budget, and a Hollywood yearning for faith films, or have Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage playing commercial airline pilot Rayford Steele.
Cage read over the script and his brother, who is a pastor, encouraged him to take it. Even with a A-lister on the payroll—this didn’t mean it was ‘a wrap.’ “It was the longest weekend of my life,” laughed Lalonde on waiting to hear back from Cage’s people.
Cage was hooked.
“I felt that the script was a challenge and it really gave me a chance to try to make the extraordinary believable and to do something authentic within performance,” said Cage. “…and I’m very happy with the results.”
The creators wanted to aim beyond the choir said Lalonde, producer and the chairman of Stoney Lake Entertainment. The rapture is always a good starting point. The film will explore “the day of the rapture, so what we’ve done is remade the first five minutes of the first movie as where the first movie covered the entire first book from the Left Behind series. This one only covers the first couple of chapters.”
Lalonde wants to people to process what they viewed with the hopes it will open up dialog.
“What I really want people asking ‘Is that really in the Bible?’ and unlike with “Noah” the answer is ‘Yes.’ I think that’s an important first step in all of this. I’ve always seen Bible prophecy as a way to reach out beyond the choir with people who might not be interested in talking about Jesus just yet. ”
Steele’s relationship with daughter Chloe, and his frailty is another componant to the script.
“Ray Steele is a captain of a jumbo jet, a transatlantic jumbo jet going to London, England. He’s an important guy on that airplane,” the 50-year-old father of two said.
“He has a flirtation and there’s a chemistry that’s happening with the flight attendant [Australian actress Nicky Whelan]. He loses track. He loses sight of what’s really valuable to him, in terms of his treasures within, which is his love for his family.”
Raising money even with Cage and a story based on a New York Times best-seller proved trying.
“The challenge for the Christian film maker is trying to get anybody to invest a reasonably sum. We had a big challenge to raise the money.”
Faith-based movies are proliferating after “Heaven is for Real” and the independent film “God’s Not Dead,” but will investors open up their wallets in 2015?
"Sometimes if you want to preserve your own message you sometimes have to bypass the studios. That means raising the money, that means writing better scripts, and making better movies.”
Chad Michael Murray, Jordan Sparks, and Lea Thompson will also be starring in “Left Behind” due in theaters on Oct. 3.