I am a newbie to the Left Behind series, which tells the story of what could happen when the Book of Revelation comes to pass in our contemporary society. Although fiction, it gives a good look into the lives of non-believers who are stranded on earth after Jesus Christ comes to rapture His Church. A group of people who are lucky enough to ‘see the Light’ and become Tribulation Saints, rise up to join forces against the Anti-Christ and their struggle to survive until the glorious re-appearing of Jesus Christ. As of right now, I am about to finish the sixth book in the line-up entitled, ‘Assassins’. As a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and the Narnia series, I must say that I was BLOWN AWAY at the amazingness that are these books. Uncharacteristically, I am a day late and a dollar short on this marvel of fiction writing, because normally, I devour any new material based on the ultimate fight between good and evil. For whatever reason, I shied away from these books, which just happen to be about the most important and extreme fight between a real evil (the devil and his horrible self) and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (who just happens to be the most awe-inspiring and magnificent person whom ever walked this earth). That is until now, almost ten years after the 12th and final book was released (there are four more books after this one, but they are actually prequels to the story).
Something really cool usually happens to me when I discover a mind-blowing and thought-provoking work of fiction…….a movie is either in the works, or about to be released while I am in the process of reading it. It happened with Eragon (great book, terrible movie) Harry Potter, A Time to Kill (a John Grisham novel about a father who looses it when his daughter is raped in a small South Carolina town….amazing book), Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly version), The Hunger Games, and The Da Vinci Code. Sure enough, I am in the middle of the series, and there is a re-make of the original movie that just started filming.
I actually watched the older version of the movie Left Behind when it first came out, starring Kirk Cameron. I liked it, and I remember being intrigued by the plot-line, but it still did not make me venture into reading the books. For everything there is a season, and I guess I was just not ready to delve deep into the book of Revelation at that time. It scared me, and it wasn’t until I was much more mature in my faith, that I was able to read the entire chapter without fear. Now, after reading it numerous times, I am hungry for more information of the most glorious day we Christians will ever get to witness…..the coming of Christ! The new film will be released in the spring of 2014. Here are some of the details that I discovered about the main characters:
RAYFORD STEELE: Nicolas Cage is one of my favorite actors, so I was completely beside myself with happiness when I found out he was to play one of the lead characters, airplane pilot, Rayford Steele. I love finding out if the actors that I admire are Christian or not, and I saw a ray of hope in his film, Knowing, in which his character struggles with his religious beliefs after the death of his wife. The movie itself sort of flopped with me though, because the whole premise of the end of the world was based on Aliens…..perhaps Tom Cruise would have been better suited :-). I pray that Mr. Cage is indeed a believer, but proof of such is hard to come by, as he is very guarded on all things religious and political (fairly unusual in Hollywood).
CHLOE STEELE: Ashley Tisdale, who is a former Disney star, was slotted for playing Rayford Steele’s daughter, Chloe Steele, but she had to back out right before filming began. Taking her place is Cassie Thomson, which I know from one of my favorite shows, Big Love, in which she played Nikki’s daughter. I believe the young world knows her from Switched At Birth, a television series from ABC Family (which, by the way, is so NOT for the Christian family……sorry, that one got away from me!). She seems like a lovely young lady, and based on her portrayal as a struggling youth in a Polygamist family, she seems to have been blessed with good acting chops. I could find no evidence of any Christian affiliation for Ms. Thomson, but I am hopeful.
BUCK WILLIAMS: Chad Michael Murray, whose fame stemmed from One Tree Hill, will be playing Cameron ‘Buck’ Williams, a young hot-shot journalist in the film, and another main character. This one is tough for me, as I am a big fan of fellow brother in Christ, Kirk Cameron. Mr. Murray is adorable, and I loved him in Freaky Friday with Linday Lohan, but Kirk Cameron made the original Left Behind movies, because he actually was a Christian in real life. I have seen much negative media shining on Mr. Cameron right now for his beliefs, but I think he should be commended for sticking his neck out there as a believer. Any actor who signed up to play Buck, knew beforehand that he had big shoes to fill, and I pray that Mr. Murray is up to the task.
Mr. Murray could be looked at as a Christian, based on his graphic art novel, Everlast, which is a about a guy who tries to save souls right before the end of the world, but I could not find concrete evidence of such. As a fellow artist, I was amazed that he had this talent within him, but neither my art, nor my preferences run toward the darkness of those types of novels. I found a quote from Mr. Murray that was published during an interview that he had with Kevin Polowy, about his religious beliefs:
So what inspired you to start writing graphic novels?
I can tell you that the story was inspired by a man who showed up on my doorstep, preaching about the end of the world, and he goes, “144,000 people are going to be let survive the End of Days. Do you want to be one of them?” And at that point I’m just like okay, I want to hear it. And it was really interesting. I heard this guy’s story and then I just kind of swallowed this idea and I went inside my house, and I just kind of contemplated it for a long time and thought, “What if it was true?”
Out of that I created Derek (Everlast), a soldier whose job it is to find people who are destined to survive the End of Days. And I just saw this as the greatest platform to launch it. It’s a really cool platform because you can do a little bit of everything with a little bit of ink. An incredible artist, obviously, can blow up your world for you, blow up a building instead of having to actually spend lots of production dollars, actually doing that, like some people.
You can read the rest of that interview here: http://www.nextmovie.com/blog/chad-michael-murray-interview-everlast/
The rest of the cast is still foggy, but I did find out that Hattie Durham will be played by Australian actress, Nicky Whelan. A new character written into the script by the name of ‘Shasta’, will be played by American Idol Alum AND fellow sister in Christ, Jordan Sparks, and William Ragsdale of Herman’s Head will play Chris Smith, Rayford Steele’s co-pilot. I have heard rumors that Nicolae Carpathia (who is the Anti-Christ) will not even make an appearance in this movie, which seems really odd to me, but we will just have to wait and see for ourselves. My only hope is that the movie will portray the Christian message that was intended by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins…….to come to the realization that Jesus Christ is the only way to our Father and eternal life. If we believe in Him and speak it with our mouth, that he died for our sins on the cross and rose again, we will be saved! I can’t wait to see what God does with this movie, and what He reveals to the hearts of all who watch it!