Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love has touched many lives and reached many people as a novel, however, we are at BOR believe it would reach many more as a film. Many people do not understand this story in it’s current form, and some may be repulsed by the many raw and honest characteristics found throughout the novel. Until recently, sex trafficking was not realized as a crime happening within U.S. borders, and I wonder if some still do not realize just how long the crime has been in existence. You see, in the 1850’s and before, prostitutes were and are despised and rejected by society as bad people who could have done better. Those doing the rejecting gave no thought to the circumstances that led these women and girls to their present condition, nor did they offer help and freedom to those in bondage. In this era, and sometimes in the present, women with no husband or father often became so destitute and hungry that they were driven to sell themselves to survive. Furthermore, some poor families sold their children into sex slavery so that they could eat. In Redeeming Love, Sarah is the latter. She knew nothing but a life of being used and abused by men, and was afraid to escape because she would be beaten into submission. When a honorable man did arrive, she didn’t trust him at first, and later was afraid to start over. It took a tragedy to secure her freedom, and many sacrifices to help her stay free. Similarly, the Smallbone brothers’ landmark film Priceless has reached many people by proclaiming a “call to arms” of sorts for people to recognize and seek to help those currently in slavery. The film took a personal look at sex slavery by asking the audience how far they would go if it was their daughter, sister, etc. in bondage. Redeeming Love asks the same question, but in a different way. For this reason, I feel that the Smallbone brothers next project should be making Redeeming Love into an epic film. Think of it as the sequel to Priceless. We’ve seen slavery through the eyes of an impoverished woman and through the eyes of a father, but not through the eyes of a child who grew up a slave. There are very few that we would entrust with this task, for Francine Rivers’ most popular book has the potential to change the culture. The Smallbones should do this, not because of their notoriety, but because they have already demonstrated a deep understanding of the topic, and a commitment to above par Christian films. Those who were not reached by Priceless would be reached by a film based on Redeeming Love. However, for this to happen, we have certain requirements that we believe must be met because they reflect the reasons why Rivers has turned down other filmmakers in the past.
- Francine Rivers must work directly with the filmmakers throughout the entire process to ensure that the original plot content is upheld, casting is accurate, and that a strong commitment to character development drives everyone’s actions
- Redeeming Love should be an epic film that focuses on Sarah’s life up to the end of the novel
- The Smallbones should collaborate with the Erwins, as they have done in the past, to ensure maximum potential is reached
- Cast members should be diverse in ethnicity, age, and circumstance, to ensure that people from all walks of life are reflected in the story
- Time jumps should be minimal or nonexistent; the Erwins are masters of this technique
- Finally, if the Smallbones cast themselves in the film, they must act alongside their wives
To conclude, the team at BOR has developed a dream cast for this film. These suggestions derive from a study of how these actors have performed in the past, and our belief in their untapped potential.
Sarah/Angel: Moriah Smallbone is the only actress that can portray the heart of this character with gravitas.
Michael Hosea: Joel Smallbone has already proven that he can act well, and fits the personality of this character. The Erwins could coach him to improve upon his performance in Priceless.
Paul (Michael’s brother): Jim Caviezel would be great in this role. Paul’s character is passionate yet bitter, and caring yet afraid to come out of his shell. He is overconfident yet yearns for more. Caviezel has proven his ability to portray diverse characters in the past, and would draw unlikely viewers to the premiere. Our only concern is his age, which is a bit too old. We would like to see the Erwins ideas for this character.
The Duchess: Shohreh Aghdashlo is quite talented at playing a villian, and could easily become this character.
Mr. Altman: Luke Smallbone is a good fit for this role because Mr. Altman is described as loving, protective, and gentle.
Mrs. Altman: Courtney Smallbone is very similar in real life to this character. She has a strong faith in God and acts as a role model for younger women and fellow mothers. Plus, she and Luke already have three kids that could play the role of Miriam’s younger siblings.
Miriam Altman: Masey McLain would be great in this role. She has played several whimsical, artistic characters in the past, and can do it again. Plus, McLain and Caviezel would be a very interesting match-up onscreen.
Jonathan Axle: Believe it or not, I think Brett Rice could be really good in this role. He is an established actor in Christian circles, and is good at playing a gruff but compassionate 60-something male character.
Susanna Axle: Rhoda Griffis, because, why not? She’s a good matronly character who adds sass and spunk to any movie she’s in.