A wonderful surprise came out of Hollywood on January 23 in the form of Gimme Shelter, a film with a powerful pro-life message that very nearly did not make it to the big screen. But the even bigger surprise is the generosity of the film's cast, including its biggest stars, Brendan Fraser and James Earl Jones, who were so inspired by the film's message that they donated their salaries to the real-life shelters that are referenced in the film.
Gimme Shelter is based on a true story about a pregnant teenager who runs away from her abusive mother. Her wealthy Wall Street father, played by Brendan Fraser, is not much of an improvement, as he pushes for her to have an abortion, and so the girl, Apple, opts for a life on the streets. She gets into a bad car accident, which lands her in a hospital. While there she meets a priest, played by James Earl Jones, who tries to help her. He convinces her to go to a shelter for pregnant teens, run by a real-life devout Catholic named Kathy DiFiore, a decision that ultimately changes her life, and saves the life of her unborn baby.
The film's message is a touching one that is overwhelmingly pro-life.
Film director Ron Krauss explained that he was motivated to create Gimme Shelter while visiting his brother during the holidays several years ago. One of DiFiore's shelters was close to his brother's home, and he decided to pay it a visit and was truly inspired by what he saw. He continued to visit the shelter regularly and became overwhelmed by the stories he heard.
Thus, Gimme Shelter was born.
But perhaps the most astounding news regarding the film deals with the incredible generosity of the film's actors.
The National Review wrote, "The actors so believed in the project that they worked for little or no money, and the biggest stars--Brendan Fraser ... and James Earl Jones--donated their salaries to the real-life shelters run by DiFiore."
Krauss provides some insight into his experience working on the film with Fraser and Jones.
When Brendan Fraser, whom Krauss calls "a person of faith," said he wanted to play Apple's father, "I was taken aback," Krauss said, "because he was a big actor, and I didn't really expect to have big actors in this movie. And James Earl Jones actually studied to be a priest when he was younger, and he understands a lot about racism, and about compassion and healing and faith."
Krauss added that Rosario Dawson, who plays Apple's junkie mother, "grew up in poverty," and that many of the actresses who play the teen mothers were actually shelter moms, "so it really had an authentic cast, whose motivation was not about money, but about getting an authentic message out."
According to Krauss, that message almost did not make it out of Hollywood. He claimed that the hostility directed toward Gimme Shelter was even worse than that directed toward Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ "because this film really connects with people."
Krauss observed that Hollywood does not typically respond well to most of the films Christians make because "the acting's not so great and the message is overdone" and they believe that the films are only going to reach a faith audience. It is for this reason, says Krauss, "I set out to make a film about life that was realistic. People get into bad situations, and then their faith shows up."
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|Title Annotation:||THE GOODNESS OF AMERICA|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Article Type:||Movie review|
|Date:||Mar 3, 2014|
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