If seeing is believing then the teaser poster released by Stoney Lake Entertainment for its “Left Behind” movie reboot should settle once and for all any doubts about actor Nicolas Cage taking on the role Kirk Cameron made popular in the Christian film based on the 16-part book series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
The movie poster, shared with The Christian Post by Stoney Lake Entertainment, the newly-founded production company behind the film, shows Cage dressed in a ragged suit and torn tie. Behind Cage, in the distance stands a downed passenger plane, its nose buried in debris and flames. Farther back is a cityscape, overshadowed by dark clouds and billows of smoke. It’s difficult to tell for sure, but the poster shows Cage either standing on sand, or walking on water.
Unlike the first Left Behind book, released in 1995 by Tyndale House Publishers, and its 2001 movie version, this adaptation begins hours after the rapture, or the spiriting away of Christians from Earth to heaven. “It will not cover everything that the first book includes, but will be more specifically concentrated on those first few hours and the chaos of the world in the wake of millions of people vanishing with no explanation,” according to the official website for the film, scheduled for a 2014 release.
Paul Lalonde, CEO of Stoney Lake Entertainment and co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures, which produced and distributed the first three “Left Behind” movies that went straight to video, told CP he’s rebooting the film to give it the blockbuster treatment many had felt the original version deserved, including LaHaye.
“… I’ve spent 24 years producing Christian-themed TV, films and documentaries that were made specifically for a Christian audience. Preaching to the choir so to speak. It has always been my goal to produce a big-budget version of ‘Left Behind’ that would appeal to a wider audience. The resources to do this exist now where they didn’t back in 2000,” Lalonde said via email.
Lalonde, who founded faith-based Cloud Ten Pictures with his brother, Peter, said “Left Behind” starring Cage, Ashley Tisdale and Chad Michael Murray “will always have a Christian theme,” since the plot is centered around the immediate events following the occurrence of the rapture.
The apocalyptic action flick is being co-produced by Lalonde and Michael Williams, J. David Williams serves as executive producer, and veteran stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong is directing. Based on an announcement on the official Facebook page for “Left Behind,” casting is currently being done in Baton Rouge, La., where the movie is being filmed.
While Nicolas Cage is known for taking on countless memorable roles and earning dozens of awards in the process, the veteran actor has of late been criticized for appearing in less-than-stellar productions. Initial news that the “Ghost Rider” and “Adaptation” star was in negotiations for the role of Raymond Steele led to Internet chatter that such news made no sense, while others argued that it made perfect sense considering Cage’s recent track record.
Fans of 2001’s “Left Behind” are hopeful, however, and have expressed excitement at seeing artwork unveiled for the remake, which will also star Chad Michael Murray (“One Tree Hill” and “A Cinderella Story”) as Buck Williams and Ashley Tisdale (“High School Musical”) as Chloe Steele.
When contacted by The Christian Post for comment on the new film, LaHaye, who took Cloud Ten Pictures to court several years ago over rights issues over the series, said he had read the script, written by Lalonde and John Patus, and indicated that he was not a fan.
“It’s probably the worst script I’ve ever read,” LaHaye told CP. “And I’ve read scores of them.”
“The plot line is nothing like the book. The only thing they retain are the names of the people, and maybe places,” LaHaye added.
“There is no redemptive value to this movie,” he continued, while acknowledging that “it’s got a lot of intrigue.”
Lalonde and Patus co-wrote the screenplay for “Left Behind II: Tribulation Force,” and Patus served as a consultant for its follow-up, ” Left Behind: World at War.” Lalonde also co-wrote the surprisingly successful initial “Left Behind” movie, which grossed $4.2 million in its theatrical release after becoming 2001’s most successful independent movie through its initial video release.
Nonetheless, LaHaye and Jenkins, whose books have sold more than 65 million copies, called the productions glorified “church basement movies.”
LaHaye, explaining why he felt the need to take Cloud Ten to court in a case that lasted nine years, said he was disappointed that 2001’s “Left Behind” starring Kirk Cameron didn’t get the initial theatrical production he said the contract had called for and he had dreamed about.
The Christian minister and author, who said he’s not really sure how much money Cloud Ten actually put into making the 2001 film, knows well that “part of the problem with Christian movies, is that it’s always been a money factor, to raise enough money to do a quality production.”
Christian movies also have a hard time shaking the “cheesiness” factor, although there have been notable exceptions, such as “The Passion of Christ” ($370 million) and “Soul Surfer” ($43 million).
Although LaHaye didn’t’ see his dreams realized the first time around and doesn’t have a hand in its remake, “Left Behind” seems to finally be headed for the theatrical treatment he had initially hoped for, just not in line with his exact vision. But he’s still dreaming.
In his brief interview with CP, the author tested a “dream” title.
“How about ‘Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist,'” the 86-year-old minister offered, referencing the third title in the end times series.
“Some day I’d like to do that, but not now,” LaHaye explained. He’s currently working to help raise funds for another film, “The Resurrection of the Christ,” said to be a sequel to Mel Gibson’s 2004 film, “The Passion of the Christ.”
Explanation for Millions of Missing People!
I am writing this letter to those of you who are wondering what has happened to all of the missing people on earth. Why is there so much chaos and confusion. If you are reading this letter than you have been left behind! What do I mean by being left behind? Well, that is what I am going to explain to you in this letter. Please bear with me as I try to explain. It may sound crazy and unimaginable, but please read the entire letter.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ. I am writing to you ahead of time. Because after the rapture I will not be here. Nor will any other true believers in Jesus. As you already know the world has been a very chaotic place. There have been many wars, riots, protests, food shortages, economic collapse, disease and natural disasters. How do I know these things? Well, God told me through his Word, the Bible. The Bible is the true Word of God. It tells us how we should live and what is to happen in the future. The Bible has never been wrong about future events. All of Bible prophecy has come true. You cannot say that about any other book or religion.
‘4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’
By now the world should be a very ugly place to live. A very dangerous place to live. When the Christians disappeared there must have been total chaos in the world. Drivers of cars, trains, buses and airplanes disappearing. Thousands upon thousands of accidents around the world. People disappearing before your eyes. Doctors performing surgeries, newscasters, police and firefighters, military personnel all gone in an instant! You will hear many rumors about what has happened to all of them. You will hear of alien abductions, which is what I believe will be the biggest lie. Or it may be some other lie. Although at this point in time it is hard to imagine what else they could come up with. Do not believe it!
I will tell you exactly what has happened. Jesus has come back to earth in the clouds and taken the true believing Christians with him. He has changed our bodies into spiritual bodies and taken us with him to Heaven. This is also referred to as “The Rapture” of the Church. Our bodies were changed in the twinkling of an eye. That is how Jesus described it to us. You can read it in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 15:52
“52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17
“17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
We will remain with him in Heaven for a short time. It should not be for more than seven years and perhaps less. Then Jesus will return with all of us and his angels to battle with Satan and his armies. Jesus will return to Jerusalem and set foot on the Mount of Olives.
The time left on earth before we return with Jesus will be horrific. The first 3 1/2 years known as “The Tribulation” won’t be as bad as the last 3 1/2 years “The Great Tribulation”. There will be a World Leader arise who will proclaim peace and safety for the world. He will confirm a Peace Treaty with Israel. He will institute a “One World Government” and a “One World Religion”. He will also have a religious leader with him. This World Leader is known as the Anti-Christ and the Religious Leader is known as the False Prophet both of which are possessed by demons and are under the control of Satan. They shall perform great miracles to deceive the world. They will proclaim to be able to bring peace and security to the world. Do not trust or believe them. He will make everyone receive the Mark of the Beast! You will not be able to buy or sell without the mark. DO NOT DO IT! If you take the mark then you are accepting Satan as your god. You will be damned forever and cast into the lake of fire for eternity!
The only way to escape is to Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! This will ensure that you will have eternal life with Jesus and your loved ones that disappeared. God will seal you with his mark. You will still have to endure the tribulation period before Christ returns. You will have to endure persecution from the Anti-Christ and his followers. The only other alternative is to worship Satan!
‘For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” ‘
I will write other pages to explain most of what I have told you about and information you will need to survive: “Rapture”, “Tribulation”, “Mark of the Beast”, “Eternity”, “Millennium”, “Accepting Jesus” (Get Saved!..A Gift from God!!!), Etc. You will find these pages under the “Don’t Get Left Behind, Prepare!!!” heading.
May God be with you and bless you, save you and protect you! Amen