What happened to Redeeming Love, The Movie?
This is basicallly what I had planned to post on Facebook but now know if you have over I believe 200 fans you cannot change the name of the fan site. We had around 13,000 fans......
Redeeming Love- The Movie announcement
Hello to many of you who have been fans of the Redeeming Love – The Movie Facebook page for many years! As you probably have noticed there have been no updates for a long time. This is because after working on this project for over 10 years we lost the rights, which was one of the hardest things I have ever been through. I was commanded to take down the Facebook site immediately which left me with no way to connect with you. I have received many messages, emails etc. asking about what happened , even some very recent. I felt the need to explain so please read the post on the page to learn more about what happened. I have decided to change this site to the Christy Lee Taylor fan site so I can stay connected with you, I have chatted back and forth with so many of you over the years and it just seemed silly to lose contact with you all. I SOOO appreciated your support and prayers over the many, many years we worked on this project. I am now working on some new things and would love for you to know about them and any prayers would be so greatly appreciated! If you don’t want to be a fan of this site I understand, but if you would like to stay connected with me and Abba Productions, just remain on here to learn more about upcoming film possibilities and more!
First I want to start off by saying I have hesitated writing this post for a very, very long time, as I don’t want people to think I am mad or angry with Francine. I think she is an amazing talent and her books impact people for Jesus. I however felt the need to write this and explain what happened after the numerous, numerous inquiries I have had over the years. I felt that when I posted this switch I would get a lot of questions as to what happened and it is very hard for me to re-live it over and over again. I finally feel that I have mostly moved on and want to explain why it took so long =) Those of you who had followed the journey sort of know how much it meant to me……
I fell in love with Redeeming Love like many of you when I first read it, it was literally the best fictional book I had ever read! I dreamed of the possibility of making it into a film one day. I felt it could impact so many people for Jesus without being overly preachy. It was just such an amazing story of God’s redeeming love.
Being the very Type A personality that I am I decided I needed to try to get the rights to this amazing book. I was just out of college at the time and although I had grown up acting and modeling, I had very little experience in filmmaking. I had taken a few jobs in production on some projects to get my feet wet, but there was still a lot to learn. I read a lot, I went to conferences, and I did what I could to learn the industry.
I then decided one day when I was at work to look into getting the rights, so I looked up Francine and the book. It turned out she was speaking at a conference that was coming up in Idaho. I called my Mom, who is one of my best friends and greatest supporters and told her we were going to Idaho!
We flew out to the conference of about 100 women and most were from Idaho and the surrounding states…we were the probably nutty people from Florida! I approached Francine and told her I would like to speak with her at some point during the weekend if she had the time. Soon she was telling me she had time. As my Mom walked the property praying, I sat down with Francine…the best-selling author! I was nervous but confident in what I wanted. I told her how much the book had meant to me and explained that I wanted to make it into a film. It turned out many, many others had tried to get the rights over the years…BUT she told me to contact her agent.
I did so and shockingly they were interested in me obtaining the rights! Later at some point Francine told me something like she saw something in my eyes or in me and knew. That touched me greatly, but I knew it had not so much to do with me, but with my awesome God! It took a year and a half to negotiate the rights as it is quite an ordeal and during the time, Francine’s beloved agent passed away and I had to kind of start fresh with the new one. When we finally got the signed contract in the mail my Mom and I just sat there and bawled. We were beyond thrilled!
I had big plans for the film, I didn’t want it to be some cheesy film that got stuck in the “Christian” category. This film deserved to be bigger than that! I wanted around a 30 million budget to do it right. I knew however that if I walked up to an investor and said “hey, can I please have 30 million, and oh yes I haven’t really worked too much in film, they would probably be like, really sweetheart?!”…so I knew one of the first steps was finding a producing partner. We met with A LOT of people, some you would probably know by name, but many of them didn’t see the BIG picture. They were wanting to do it on a smaller budget. We could have probably made the film 3 or 4 times if we had been willing to do it for under 5 million….well we weren’t, it deserved better.
I had always thought very highly of Ralph Winter but had been told by people basically good luck as it seemed MANY Christian filmmakers wanted to partner with him. I even went to a conference he was speaking at, and he himself said basically people need to get in line. He didn’t say this in an egotistical way at all, but rather a matter of fact, I can’t read all your scripts, kind of way. This solidified me knowing I had to find a better way than just walking up to him at the conference to get to him.
I was out in Los Angeles (one of many trips over the years) and had a night with no meetings so I decided to go to a little workshop on How to Keep Your Marriage Alive in Hollywood put on by the Hollywood Prayer Network. I figured why not, I was married and this is a tough industry, so I went. Little did I know I would end up talking with a dear lady there who asked what I was doing in LA. I told her and she proceeded to tell me that she knew some people that might be interested in my project…and guess who one of them was….YUP Ralph Winter.
I got in touch with his director of development and she wanted to see the book. At first they passed as she thought it might work in a modern day setting…as much as I wanted to work with them, I felt this would compromise the story and declined. Well about 6 months later I got another call from her…I think she may have read the WHOLE book at this point and she asked how things were going with the book. I explained where we were and we were still looking for the right partner…well, now they had thought more about it and wanted to partner with me! Ralph Winter, who has produced films that have grossed around 2 BILLION at the Box Office, wanted to partner with me! I was ecstatic!
Over the next few years we shopped the film around, at one point even Oprah’s company was looking at it. I had talked with some very well-known actors about the film. We had attached a screenwriter, Jeremy Leven who had written the screenplay for The Notebook. We had a lot of interest but no one ready to put up the money. It took Spielberg about 12 years to make Lincoln and James Cameron 10 to make Avatar, and these are VERY well known directors… so I knew this could take some time. We were in it for the long haul, the problem was there was a reversion clause in my contract. We were getting close to that date, but we were also getting very close to moving forward in a big way. In about January of the year we were to lose the rights I had a talk with Francine’s agent who assured me they would be reasonable if we brought them something. In my head I was thinking even finding the money to get the screenplay written might be enough. Fast forward to about March and we had a company that wanted to put up the FULL funding. The company was backed by a billionaire investor and they were going to put up 15 million, but we knew there could be more if it was decided more was needed. We had since dropped the budget to that range as we realized there were some great films coming out in that range. We flew out to Los Angeles and met with the company. We were thrilled that they wanted to partner, went out for a celebratory dinner and flew home dreaming of what the next few months would entail!
Well, that dream quickly became a nightmare when on June 14 we received an email from Francine’s agent stating that they would not be extending the rights. To say I was devastated would be a huge understatement. I was in tears for a long, long time and I am not an overly emotional person. My son who was about 7 at the time came in carrying his money and offered it to me to make my movie…he didn’t understand fully what had happened, he just knew Mommy was very,very sad.
The next morning I woke up and Jeremiah 29:11 was in my mind…I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future….to this day I don’t have an answer to why we were unable to bring this film to fruition, but I trust The Lord and His plan. We had invested a lot of money into the project and my parents had as well, but it was never about the money, it was about reaching people for Jesus! The next couple of years were hard, very hard….I would be out and get asked how the film was going, get emails, and messages asking about it. Just when it would start to heal it was as if a band aid was being ripped off…after doing some bible studies and shedding many tears, I finally started to heal. I had some major health issues that followed I believe from the stress of losing it. After gaining 50 pounds within a year but not eating that much and feeling exhausted most of the time, I knew something was wrong. After going from doctor to doctor I still think the stress of this was the major cause. Thankfully I have started healing and pray for God to continue His healing. There are still times, even 3 years later, when it is hard…just tonight as I was writing this, my husband asked me what I was doing….I cried telling him. I have tears in my eyes now as I type this…not sure if it will ever be easy, 10 years is a long time to carry something with you, to protect it, nourish it, pray for it….but I know God has plans for me and for it.
There were a few times over the years I had the privilege to speak about the project, a women's breakfast, The Blue RIdge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and other places...BUT nothing prepared me for what happened after I lost the rights. I got a call asking me to come speak to a book club who had just read the book. The lady who was hosting had heard me speak and loved my journey. I explained to her that I no longer had the rights and wasn't making it into a film. She STILL wanted me to come and speak and tell my journey....I was kind of thinking LORD ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!?? So I told her my son was playing football and if their team won I wouldn't be free that night to speak as my priorities are God, Family, Work. HOWEVER if his team lost I would be able to come. So I left it up to God and guess what, he lost, and I had to go and speak. It was incredibly hard to get through the talk and I sort of warned them I may get a little teary, and I did when I told about my son coming in with his money after I lost the rights. The cool thing was after I got done speaking a sweet lady came up and explained she was Jewish and didn't really have a close relationship to God but after reading Redeeming Love she seemed to want that. I told my Mom after I spoke that if she got saved, the whole 10 years would have been worth it! Again, I may not know why, but I can trust God to turn my pain into triumph for HIs Kingdom!
I was always so grateful and thankful He had chosen me for this, and even now as I don’t have it anymore, I know His ways are best. Although I still may not understand why, I know Francine and her people must have had a reason. I heard recently that another company has obtained the rights and are working on a film version. I hope so much that they do it justice and make it amazing. Although it is hard and I may not be the one bringing it to the big screen, I can only hope that it is still able to impact many people for His kingdom….it truly is an amazing, amazing story. As I was reading some of this to my Mom tonight I started choking up again, I am not sure I will ever be 100% over the pain of losing it, but with God's strength and mercy He will see me through!
Both Jim Caviezel and Hugh Jackman could have made great Michaels!