Risen: the producers and director interview round-up

Risen: the producers and director interview round-up February 18, 2016


Risen officially opens in theatres tomorrow, but it’s showing in some of them tonight, so it’s time for another interview round-up or two. I have already posted round-ups for co-stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton and Cliff Curtis, as well as Affirm Films senior vice president Rich Peluso. This round-up is devoted to the film’s producers, and it also includes a collection of studio-approved soundbites from co-writer/director Kevin Reynolds, who has been curiously absent from the publicity tour for this film.

Producers Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon both took part in the Q&A in Rome two weeks ago, and they both contributed soundbites to a featurette that went online a few days before that. They were also quoted in stories that I linked to here and here.

Since then, Liddell has spoken to Christian Cinema about the “responsibility” he felt while overseeing this film (and “rework[ing] the order of a few scenes”):

When I asked Liddell what kept him going through some of the toughest days of the project, he referred back to this challenge. He said, “One of the most difficult things about telling this story was finding the balance between staying committed to being biblically accurate- which was so important to us- and telling this really amazing fictional story that so many of us can identify with.” He continued, “At one point during the editing process, we were really struggling with finding that balance and I remember feeling such a weight of responsibility to tell this story the right way. After many frustrating nights trying to rework the order of a few scenes, it just hit me. I woke up and just had a really clear vision of how we should change a few things. And I felt a real sense of peace with the story. I know that was a ‘God thing’.”

Liddell was also one of the interviewees in this CBN News story:

And Shilaimon is one of the interviewees in this video from the Rome visit:

As for co-writer/director Kevin Reynolds, the only comments I’ve seen from him so far have all come in the form on-set soundbites. Some of them were used in an early featurette, and a few extra soundbites appear in this collection provided by the studio:

If I see any more interviews with these filmmakers, I will add them to this post.

February 20 update: Liddell shared an anecdote with the New York Times News Service to illustrate how Cliff Curtis approached the role of Jesus:

In another interview, producer Mickey Liddell discussed how Curtis approached the work.

“He’s a very serious actor who made a transformation for this film,” Liddell said. “He didn’t want the five-star hotel on the set but a small room in Malta. He understood that by being quiet he would be able to release something bigger on-screen.”

The producer laughingly looked back on a day in Malta when he went kayaking with Curtis.

“We were out on the water for five hours, and all he did was smile at me,” Liddell said. “He didn’t say a word.”

February 26 update: CBN News spoke to Liddell and Shilaimon on the red carpet:

"Risen" Dallas Premiere

Plans for the weekend? "Risen" is out in theaters today. Angela Zatopek CBN News has behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and producers from the Dallas premiere. The film explores the question of Christ's resurrection through the eyes of a Roman soldier, played by actor Joseph Fiennes.

Posted by John Jessup on Friday, February 19, 2016

May 8 update: Liddell was one of a few filmmakers profiled by The New York Times in a story on films that use scripture as a “springboard” (other films featured in the article include The Young Messiah and Last Days in the Desert):

“It’s almost a new genre,” said Mickey Liddell, a producer of “Risen.” “Audiences feel they’ve seen the biblical stories in movies. But what if we showed what else was going on at the time? That makes it more interesting, because you get a fresh perspective on the oldest story in the world.” . . .

Mr. Liddell attributed the film’s success to the faith-based audience’s growing sophistication as moviegoers. “Twenty years ago, I think they were happy with whatever came out — if someone took the time to talk about their faith,” he said. “But that audience has matured. Our film connected because of the originality of the material.”

May 24 update: I have now interviewed producer Patrick Aiello and his screenwriter brother Paul. And it occurs to me I’ve missed some other interviews they’ve done.

They spoke to Christian Cinema:

“I got the idea while I was sitting in the theater watching The Passion,” Paul added. “Watching such a grueling experience, it seemed obvious to me that the next stage was for the glory of Christ to be revealed. If you remember in the Passion, there’s this moment where the stone rolls away, and Jesus emerges healed and glorified. That’s where this started.”

The two decided that they wanted to tell the post-Resurrection story through the eyes of a non-believer. While the two are working on a third installment in the story, they spent most of the interview talking about what it meant to tell a good story that also shared their faith.

They spoke to Ed Morrissey (starting at the 58:42 mark in the video below):

And they spoke to various podcasts, including Life & Faith and E-zekiel.tv:

If I see any more interviews with these filmmakers, I will add them to this post.

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