Tim LaHaye pans script for ‘Left Behind’ reboot

Tim LaHaye pans script for ‘Left Behind’ reboot March 3, 2013

The Christian Post interviewed Tim LaHaye about the new Left Behind movie.

The new film will have a bigger budget than the earlier adaptation of LaHaye’s best-selling “Bible prophecy” novel. It will also feature Nicolas Cage as Rayford Steele. Steele is the protagonist who serves in the book as LaHaye’s wish-fulfillment surrogate, but LaHaye doesn’t seem to appreciate the awesomeness of having Nic Cage playing him. The conservative activist isn’t involved with this new movie and, therefore, he already doesn’t like it:

LaHaye, who took Cloud Ten Pictures to court several years ago over rights issues over the series, said he had read the script, written by Lalonde and John Patus, and indicated that he was not a fan.

“It’s probably the worst script I’ve ever read,” LaHaye told CP. “And I’ve read scores of them.”

“The plot line is nothing like the book. The only thing they retain are the names of the people, and maybe places,” LaHaye added.

“There is no redemptive value to this movie,” he continued, while acknowledging that “it’s got a lot of intrigue.”

Lalonde and Patus co-wrote the screenplay for “Left Behind II: Tribulation Force,” and Patus served as a consultant for its follow-up, ” Left Behind: World at War.” Lalonde also co-wrote the surprisingly successful initial “Left Behind” movie, which grossed $4.2 million in its theatrical release and became 2001’s most successful independent movie through its video release.

Nonetheless, LaHaye and Jenkins, whose books have sold more than 65 million copies, called the productions glorified “church basement movies.”

LaHaye, explaining why he felt the need to take Cloud Ten to court in a case that lasted nine years, said he was disappointed that 2001’s “Left Behind” starring Kirk Cameron didn’t get the initial theatrical production he said the contract had called for and he had dreamed about.

The Christian minister and author, who said he’s not really sure how much money Cloud Ten actually put into making the 2001 film, knows well that “part of the problem with Christian movies, is that it’s always been a money factor, to raise enough money to do a quality production.”

… Although LaHaye didn’t see his dreams realized the first time around and doesn’t have a hand in its remake, “Left Behind” seems to finally be headed for the theatrical treatment he had initially hoped for, just not in line with his exact vision. But he’s still dreaming.

In his brief interview with CP, the author tested a “dream” title.

“How about ‘Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist,'” the 86-year-old minister offered, referencing the third title in the end times series.

“Some day I’d like to do that, but not now,” LaHaye explained. He’s currently working to help raise funds for another film, “The Resurrection of the Christ,” said to be a sequel to Mel Gibson’s 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ.

So far, we’ve got Nicolas Cage and we’ve got Tim LaHaye whining that the script is “nothing like the book.” I’m almost starting to want to see this movie.

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  • There is an entire generation of English actors that lived by the code
    of ‘any work is good work’. Among them are Michael Caine, Christopher
    , Alec Guinness…This did not seem to lower the quality of their

     I have four words, only not in order.


  • Yep.  Michael Caine, Jaws: The Revenge.

    I actually respect an actor more when s/he does a bad movie, and is a professional about it and classes up the joint.  Take…well, Michael Caine.  He did Jaws: The Revenge, turned in a terrific performance, got a trip to the Bahamas, and got to pay off his mortgage…all because he is an actor who does his job to the best of his ability, always.

    Not that the phenomenon is limited to English actors.  Take, for example, Ed Harris (Milk Money), John Cusack (America’s Sweethearts), Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones II), Nathan Fillion (Waitress), Raul Julia (Overdrawn at the Memory Bank), or Kate Winslet (Titanic).

  • “I choose to forgive you,” Nicolae says. Proving that Jenkins has no fucking idea what ‘Anti’ means.

    But remember, especially as seen in Glorious Appearing, LH&J’s Jesus doesn’t have any truck with that sissy liberal “forgiveness” nonsense. So yes, they’re consistent and know what ‘Anti’ means, at least in this case.

  • Also, that “I choose to forgive you”? RTCs are supposed to be the ones magnanimously doling out Forgiveness Points.

    Like Buck with Chloe.


  • hidden_urchin

    Me too. That goes for the lower list actors as well. I’m always impressed when I’m watching a bad made-for-TV movie and there is an actor or two who are giving a solid performance despite horrible…well, everything else.

  • David Starner

    In reply to Steele’s “You have just seen the wrath of the Lamb!”: “Does that impress you, Captain Steele? Whose side are you on, He who sends global destruction that harms the weak and the poor, or he who tries to rebuild? Are you one of my sheep, one who loves his fellow man, or do you stand on the side of oppression and reckless destruction?” I can see that in a straight-forward Rapture novel or a subversion of the genre, but either way it would make for a much better Antichrist.

  •  When I read “Moby Dick” for literature class, my main thought was “Can you make it more obvious that you’re being paid by the word, Mr. Melville?”

  •  Was there misogyny in “Ghost Rider” or “Con Air”?

  • I’ve also heard that actors do the shlock movies so they can afford to do the special projects they really want to.

  •  Passion of The Christ 2: Acts of The Apostles?

  • Jurgan

    ““Some day I’d like to do that, but not now,” LaHaye explained.”  Yeah, what’s the rush?  If you don’t get your movie made soon, it’s not the end of the worl- oh, wait…

  • Loquat

    “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
     – Michael Caine, on Jaws: The Revenge

  • Rae

    Let’s see… 
    “worst script I’ve ever read”
    “plot line is nothing like the book”
    “a lot of intrigue”

    Considering that the source material is hovering on the painful side of the line that distinguishes between painfully bad and so bad it’s good, going in any direction seems like it would be an improvement. 

    I still want to see who’s going to play the antichrist, though! I’m hoping that it’ll be someone who doesn’t try to do “serious acting” so much as someone who thinks the role is awesome and will just run with it.

  • So psychic paper in novel form?

  • Nomuse

    For some reason I want to see Travolta in this.  Maybe he can bring HIS god and there can be a cage match  (pun not intended).

  • BTW. I still support Bruce Campbell for antichrist.  Bruce Campbell vs Nick Cage.  You know that, somewhere in the darkest pits of your mind, you want to see it.

  • I repeat. Jeremy Irons for antichrist.

  • histrogeek

     They both also have works that have enormous and complex back stories that mean any screenplay is required to have at them with a weed whacker, or else the movie will be 10 hours long and still be incomprehensible. Tolkien is another one, which is why Peter Jackson, protestations to the contrary, chucked big chunks of Lord of the Rings.
    Of course Tolkien and Moore have elaborate back stories because they are excellent and imaginative craftsmen who are obsessive about creating a rich universe. LaHaye has an elaborate back story because he’s using an incomprehensible heresy written a century and a half ago that hasn’t been updated and because he and Jenkins can’t be bothered to think up details enough to cover their glaring plot holes.

  • Carstonio

    If Jack Cassidy were alive, he would be my candidate for Antichrist. He played villains on some 1970s crime dramas, urbane and debonair but with a dark side.

  • walden

    Why all the hatred for Moby Dick?
    It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

    The problem is that if you want to read it as an adventure tale, you’re becalmed at sea for long periods of time.  But it’s not primarily an adventure tale…it’s philosophical and psychological essays hung onto what looks superficially like an adventure tale.  (It’s the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance of the mid-19th century).  I  love this book.

  • GeniusLemur

    IIRC, the studio didn’t want to do “The Quiet Man” (didn’t think there was a market), but John Wayne did. So he said, “Look, let me do ‘Quiet Man,’ and I’ll do these three purely commercial projects for you. That’ll take care of any money you lose on ‘Quiet Man.'”

  • aunursa

    Tolkien is another one, which is why Peter Jackson, protestations to the contrary, chucked big chunks of Lord of the Rings.

    The theatrical release of The Return of the King is 3 1/2 hours, and the extended edition is 4 hours 12 minutes.  Some LotR fanatics were upset that they didn’t include chapters such as “The Scouring of the Shire”, which would have extended the film to ~5 hours.  I saw the movies before I read each book, so I was not predisposed to hoping for a particular scene.

    Two scenes late in the extended version I wish had been included in the original.  (There were a number of scenes that could have been reduced or eliminated to make room for these.)

    The Mouth of Sauron just before the final battle: The sight of Frodo’s clothing in the hands of the enemy lent credence to their worst fears and meant that the diversion might be all in vain, and yet they were still willing to fight.  It gives an additional meaning to Aragorn’s speech to his troops, and his final battle cry: “For Frodo.”

     Gollom/Smeagol’s final brief dialogue with Frodo on Mount Doom:  Frodo had trusted Smeagol over Sam’s misgivings, and this final scene provided closure to their relationship.

    Frodo: You swore on the “Precious!”  Smeagol promised!
    Smeagol: [mocking] Smoegal lied.

  • The Guest Who Posts

    Sad to say, I hated both these scenes in the extended edition (the EE of “Return of the King” is my least favourite of the three).

    The scene of the Mouth of Sauron *in the book* is one of my favourite scenes, but the film botched it in so many ways. First, it had the Mouth of Sauron say that Frodo had already been killed, which meant that he could no longer use him as a bargaining chip against Aragorn (which was the entire point of the scene in the book), turning the scene from a hostage negotiation into a tacky case of “trying to psych Aragorn just by being evil for no reason”. It didn’t even add any suspense, since the viewer already knows that Frodo is alive. And then Aragorn straight-up kills the Mouth of Sauron, presumably so the audience can cheer over one of the good guys killing emissaries with diplomatic immunity.

    (I can’t see why the film made the Mouth monstrous rather than a handsome human, either, unless the film’s creators presumed that the audience wouldn’t get that he was a bad guy unless he was ugly.)

    “Sméagol lied” just turned Sméagol into a flat bad guy with no redeeming qualities, which goes right against what he was supposed to be, and made the good guys seem like idiots for showing pity and mercy.

    I’m not one of those Tolkien fans who hate the films; in fact, I’m a huge fan of them. But those two scenes just rile me.

    Re who should play Nicolae: I think Javier Bardem would do a cracking job of playing the Antichrist (despite not being East European), but I’d be heart-sick to see him in anything LB-related. Oh well.

  • histrogeek

    I was disappointed that the Scouring of the Shire wasn’t in the extended cut, though it was easy to see why it got cut. It was probably the only thing I was disappointed was dropped in the movie. Mostly I felt Jackson improved Tolkien’s story.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve only read The Hobbit. What did you think of Jackson’s first entry in his trilogy? I’m still angry about the greed of stretching out the book into three movies, and the I thought the padding was fairly obvious. The escape from the goblins took forever. But I liked the look of the 2D digital projection – far brighter and more colorful that many film projections.

  • VMink

    If there’s a Heck, I’m going straight to it for this, but I REGRET NOTHING!

    Then he reached in, loosened Carpathia’s belt, grabbed him by the lapels […] Rayford pushed him back up against the helicopter.
    “Captain Steele, I understand you are upset, but–”
    “Nicolae,” Rayford said, his words rushing through clenched teeth, “you can explain this away any way you want, but let me be the first to tell you: You have just seen the wrath of the Lamb!”

    So that’s what kids are calling it these days….

  • aunursa

    I haven’t read The Hobbit yet, so I can’t compare the movie to the book.  I was surprised that I enjoyed the movie as much as the LotR films.

  • AnonymousSam

    I went into it skeptical and suspecting padding as well, but came out of the theater quite pleased. I thought the expanded length allowed Jackson a lot of opportunity to give the dwarves added depth and character. Having such a huge cast makes it difficult to flesh out each character and some of the dwarves are still just there, but I suppose that’s the problem with lifting your cast directly from the Völuspá. :p

  • The only way “The Scouring of the Shire” could have been added is not by extending the film by another hour, but by completely re-configuring the entire trilogy into five movies.


  • Lori

    I didn’t see Ghost Rider, but I have seen Con Air. In that, the crime that sends Cage’s character to prison is that he accidentally kills a guy for hitting on his (blond, delicate, pregnant) wife. I could do a whole rant about that, but I won’t. There was also some skeeviness with the female guard and the serial rapist on the plane, but I’ve seen far worse.

  • Lori

    Bill Murray did Ghostbusters in order to get the studio to finance his version of Razor’s Edge.

  • Rashhuman

    Christians taking Christians to court? I’m sure the Bible says something about that…

  • AnonymousSam

    My memories of Ghost Rider are fuzzy, but aside from some skeeviness (to borrow your word) with his relationship to an ex, that movie didn’t have much female interaction at all, if I recall. The worst I remember is that he asks her to dinner, she tells him no and he keeps following her until she relents and says yes (giving off an insufferable jerkass vibe the entire time). The implication is that she was just saying no because reasons and he knew she’d cave in if he was persistant because she didn’t really hate him as much as she was pretending.

    Which… could actually be pretty misogynistic, now that I think about it, but my recollection is too poor to be sure that’s really what happened or if that’s just what I took home from it.

  • kadh2000

     ‘Tis okay.  Rayford later runs (almost tail between legs one could say) back to Nicolae because he can’t think of anything better to do.

  • Yeah, wouldn’t want to be without the super special Condor 216 and its awesome listening facility – including (hnur, hnur) the loo.

  • Tricksterson

    Which was gawdawful.

  • Tricksterson

    Oh, he does.  Jenkins Jeezus would never forgive anyone anything.

  • Tricksterson

    Yes Ashley Tsdale as Stripper Chloe! 

  • phoenix_feather

    I need to start coming back here more often–I can’t believe I almost missed this gem of an update! 

    I kind of want to show up to theaters with an NJC216 (the Mark of the Beast) drawn on my forehead.  And if anyone asks, just be like, “Oh, well usually when I watch an action movie I root for the side that’s NOT blowing up the planet.”


  • Rae

    The only thing I felt like was “padding” was the rock giant fight, but I’m a huge Tolkien fangirl who would have liked to see the original trilogy in six movies and would happily sit through a fifteen-hour film of The Silmarillion if someone made it, so I may not be the best person to ask about this… 

    I absolutely loved the HFR filming, though. It was beautiful! 

  • Carstonio

    The rock giant fight was part of what I meant by padding. Other scenes seemed to last too long. It took forever for Bilbo to get on the road with the dwarves.

    Am I correct in assuming that the 2D version was standard frame rate?

  • Gee, Jesus hasn’t come back yet and left anyone behind. Oh well, Timmy made some good money selling his bullshit to the sheeple.

  • Catherine Archer

    Well, I have not seen ‘Left Behind 1’ with Kirk Cameron, and will not likely seen this version. If Tim doesn’t like it, that is a good selling point.

  • nicolbolas

    I understand you feelings about the Mouth of Sauron scene, but I disagree with it.

    First, the point of the scene is changed from the book to the film, but for a very important reason: the audience already knows that Frodo escaped. In the book, the tension is on the fact that, last time we saw Frodo, he and the ring were captured.

    Therefore, the film changes the tension around. Sauron uses the Mithril vest as a way to damage the resolve of his enemies, rather than as some kind of bargaining chip. This puts the tension squarely on how our heroes react to this information: the very likely fact that they marched all this way to die *for no reason*.

    Aragorn cuts off his head and declares that he still believes that their sacrifice has value.

    The cutting off of his head part is perfectly fine to me. “Diplomatic immunity” is nonsense in this context. There’s no negotiation happening here. Sauron sent this guy out there for the *sole purpose* of weakening the resolve of his enemy. To attack with words rather than sword and spear. He is a combatant as far as Sauron is concerned, a part of Sauron’s overall military strategy.

    So Aragorn treats him like one.

    Plus, it ties into the Tolkein motif that evil people can fight with words just as well as weapons. Just look at the film: the confrontation with Saruman at Orthanc. Saruman weakens their resolve. He hits Theoden with questions about how he stacks up with his forefathers, which haunts him throughout the rest of the film. He makes Gandalf question whether Frodo has survived.

    So again, I have no problem with Aragorn treating Sauron’s Mouth like combatant.

  • Brightie

    That’s a big assumption. Maybe I got lucky, but when I was attending an SBC church I had three “elders,” and a different eschatological view for each. And one of my SBC friends was writing a Left Behind parody with her sister.