One person who has been very active in promoting Risen — which opens this Friday — is Rich Peluso, the senior vice president of Affirm Films, the “faith-based” branch of Sony Pictures. Since I devoted entire interview round-ups to the film’s co-stars Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton, I figured I should devote a post to Peluso, too.
In the past, I have linked to a podcast interview that Peluso did with The Church Boys, as well as a couple of print interviews (or whatever the online equivalent of “print” is these days) that he did with LifeSiteNews and The Catholic World Report.
Here are the other interviews Peluso has done that I have come across since then:
Peluso talked to The Gospel Herald about balancing the familiarity of the Easter story with the different perspective that this particular film approaches it from:
GH: Why is this story still so important today?
RP: The same reason that we continue to read Scripture each day. Encountering the stories of when God intersects with humankind holds endless blessings and encouragement. We’re to remember this and experience it afresh. That’s one thing we’re hearing from Christians that encounter this story; it feels very fresh and new to them, and they’re picking up insights and experiences they’d not had before in engaging the story. Like other great lessons and stories and our culture and our faith, it’s important to relive the lessons who grew up with, because they continue to hold things for us in our life.
Having tested the film four times, thus far, in front of large audiences, Peluso has gotten the rave reviews he wanted.
“What we’re seeing from non-Christians and those who do not regularly attend church is that they do not feel preached to. They don’t feel kind of hit over the head with Jesus or the Bible. But, they are intrigued by this man and His followers. They are intrigued by the story of what happened, the birth of Christianity and the fact that the infrastructure of Judea, both the Sanhedrin and the Jewish leadership and the Roman leadership were all about crushing this man and crushing His followers. So that automatically lends them credibility.”
“Jesus is not talking at them heavily through this movie. It’s through Clavius’ interactions with Jesus and Clavius’ interactions with the disciples that we learn of Jesus’ teachings and we learn who He is as the Son of God. And again, it all feels just so easy to try on for the unchurched.”
And finally (for now), a couple of longer half-hour video interviews.
And he spoke to Gordon James Klingenschmitt of Pray in Jesus Name News:
If I find any more interviews with Rich Peluso re: Risen, I will add them to this post.
February 16 update: Peluso is also featured in this CBN News story:
February 17 update: Peluso told the Wall Street Journal he’s not worried about his film opening on the same weekend as The Witch, a horror film endorsed by the Satanic Temple: “We welcome anyone into the marketplace,” he is quoted as saying. “The transformative power of God, I think, stands up against any opposition.”
February 19 update: Peluso spoke to Sonoma Christian Home:
SCH: How did your screenwriters maintain a delicate balance between holding to the authenticity of the Resurrection story and the addition of several fictional characters?
RP: Paul Aiello wrote an amazing script and grounded this story in Scripture. It was Kevin Reynolds who added the new lens to the story. The first cut of this film was two hours and 40 minutes, but we had to work it down to something more digestible and entertaining.
He also discussed his favorite scene with the hosts of Daystar’s The Green Room:
February 26 update: CBN News also spoke to Peluso on the red carpet:
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