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ABOUT MOVIE:When a high school football star is suddenly stricken with irreversible, total blindness, he must decide whether to live a safe, protected life or to summon the courage through playing football to step back into the world.

23 Blast is based on the amazing, true story of Travis Freeman. A typical teenager growing up in a small town in Kentucky, Travis is a local hero on and off the field. In the prime of his youth, he is unexpectedly stricken with an infection that destroys his optic nerve; he becomes blind overnight.

Under the influence of parents who love him, a physical therapist who challenges him, a coach who inspires him, and a best friend who he cannot bear to leave behind, Travis shows us what true bravery is by competing on the gridiron, helping his team advance to the State playoffs. We follow Travis and Jerry Baker, his closest friend, from the time they meet on the football field as kids through high school. Jerry’s attraction to the dark side of teenage temptations threatens to pull the friends apart. It is only on the football field where they truly connect.

Depicting a story of hope triumphing over despair, of courage and faith overcoming fear and of victory prevailing over adversity, 23 Blast is designed to encourage and uplift audiences.
Becky Ann Baker actress in film

My camera died so I had to have my son take a picture of us on my Kindle Fire. Only problem with that is it was only set up to take a selfie (I'm not skilled on that) So, my son, Isaac did his best given the equipment, lighting we had and not seeing what he was shooting. He did pretty good!

ABOUT ACTRESS: Becky Ann Baker is an American television, film, and theater actress. She may be best known for her portrayal of Jean Weir on the short-lived NBC drama Freaks and Geeks.

She made her first Broadway appearance in the 1978 production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her musical and dance background also helped win her roles in the Broadway performances of Titanic, the revival of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the revival of Assassins, and The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein.

Off-Broadway, her credits include Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Vincent J. Cardinal's The Colorado Catechism, the critically acclaimed revival of George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner's June Moon, Durang, Durang by Christopher Durang, Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona, To Whom It May Concern by Terry Stoller, Bob's Guns, and Laura Dennis.

Becky Ann Baker has been in several other movies and T.V. shows like Men in Black, Two Week Notice, Star Trek Voyager - played Nechani Guide and T.V. Shows A Simple Plan, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and many more. It was a thrill to meet her and hear her speak last night about working on this project.

They had a GREAT Cast, Mark Hapka (staring role), T.V's Days of Our Lives, and TV's Criminal Minds, Stephen Lang, Avatar, Terra Nova, Alexa Vega, Spy Kids, Machete Kills, TV's Nashville, Max Adler, TV'S Glee, Believe Me, Bram Hoover, movie debut and also 23 Blast Co-Writer, Kim Zimmer, TV's Guiding Light, TV's One Life to Live, Timothy Busfield, Field of Dreams, Thirty Something, Dylan Baker, Spiderman 2 and 3, Anchorman 2, TV'S The good Wife, Fred D. Thompson, Sinister, TV'S Law &Order, Die Hard 2. 

23 Blast is written by Bram Hoover and Toni Hoover, directed/produced by Dylan Baker and produced by Gary Donatelli and Toni Hoofer. Executive producers for the movie include Daniel, Snyder (owner of the Washington Redskins) Misook Doolittle and Brent Ryan Green.

This was an inspirational and moving story. One you get up and cheer about! This is based on a true story about Travis Freeman. He has a book being released at the end of this month. I look forward to reading it. I loved watching the movie. You will too!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 
The Book Club Network blog  
Book Fun Magazine  


Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell
Nicky Whelan as Hattie Durham
Lance E. Nichols as Bruce Barnes
William Ragsdale as Chris Smith
Martin Klebba as Melvin Weir
Quinton Aaron as Simon
Judd Lormand as Jim

Moderator: Yeah, for sure. Well that’s great. And it’s just great how involved you've been in this movie. I know you've really spent lots of time and have been very connected. So it’s, it’s great and you know we actually have a press release and some information that we are sending out to the media just, you know, including that information so you guys will all get that if you haven’t yet from us. Thank you so much Jordin. 

THANKS to Gotham Conference with permission from

Sheryl Tirol | ROGERS &COWAN - have allowed me to bring you this interview. I was unable to make the conference call but I was sent the transcript to promote this film I saw on Sept 18th. 

My complete review of this movie is in BOOK FUN MAGAZINE 

JORDAN SPARKS BIO: It has been nothing short of a whirlwind: The then youngest-ever winner of “American Idol,” Jordin Sparks was just seventeen years old when she won the coveted title. In the years that have followed, Jordin has released two albums on 19 Recordings/Jive Records. Her self-titled debut went platinum, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The first three singles of “Jordin Sparks” went top 5 and the album’s second single, “No Air” sold 4 million digital downloads. “No Air” is now the third highest selling single by any “American Idol” contestant and is listed #27 in Billboard’s Top 40 Biggest Duets of All Time. Jordin’s second release, 2009’s “Battlefield,” debuted on the Billboard Album Chart at number seven and the first single, also called “Battlefield,” reached the top ten on the Billboard Singles Chart and second single, “S.O.S. (Let the Music Play),” topping the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart, becoming Jordin’s first #1. Sparks also co-wrote four tracks on the album, including “911 Emergency,” “Was I The Only One,” “Faith,” and “The Cure.” Cumulatively, her popular singles have sold 10 million digital tracks in the US.

2012 was also notable as it became the year that Jordin made her feature film debut as the lead in the Sony Pictures film “Sparkle,” released August 17. The film also starred the late Whitney Houston, Cee Lo Green and Mike Epps. The first official single from the soundtrack of the film, “Sparkle: Music from the Motion Picture,” featured a duet by Jordin and Whitney Houston. In addition to being produced by R. Kelly, the single titled, “Celebrate,” is notable due to the fact that is was Houston’s last recording. The “Sparkle” soundtrack was released on July 31.

In 2013 and for the third year in a row Jordin was listed in People Magazine’s Most Beautiful issue as well as featured on the cover of Women’s Running Magazine.

Jordin took a dramatic turn in the critically acclaimed film, “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” which was produced by Alicia Keys and released in theaters in October 2013. Jordin also starred in the hit series “CSI: Las Vegas,” as well as featured in the Lifetime movie, “Dear Secret Santa,” and the film “The Grace of Jake,” released date scheduled for 2014.

Also in 2014 she has served as Special Correspondent for the “Today Show,” hosted “E! News” as well as served as co-host on the red carpets for the American Music Awards and Billboard Awards. She is currently in the studio working on her third studio album and her latest film, “Left Behind,” starring Nicolas Cage will be released October 3, 2014. (for complete bio information go to Jordin's website)

Jordin Sparks Links:


Jordin Sparks: Ok, yeah, Hi Everyone. It’s been really exciting to be a part of this because like you said about the books, when I was younger, all the LEFT BEHIND books came out and then they released a teen series of the books for the younger kids that you know couldn't read 500 page books, fast enough. So I read this teen series growing up and I just remember being, you know, so affected by the thought of Wow, what if, what if my closest friends just disappeared one day. What if they just weren't here? Or my closest family members or you know, anything like that and it was just really interesting and as a kid that’s definitely very scary. It’s something that’s like, “Ah well,” Ok that’s very scary it’s just in a book but you know, when you read the bible and you, you take those things to be truth, you know it is definitely something that you can think of and go Wow, that could actually happen. 

My motivation for being in the movie was definitely, I was so excited because I had read the books. And, I was like, you know it would be really fun to be a part of this film because they had described it as something more action and it was definitely, in the beginning of the books, you know the plane is where the book starts. And there’s a whole other story after that, so it’s really fun to be able to see these characters that you might not have been introduced to in the actual books because you’re exploring the people that are on the plane. You’re figuring out their fears, how scared they are, what they’re going through. 

You look at them sort of like, Ok well, I was just on a plane the other day. What would happen if that happened to me on the plane that I was just on. You know, you kind of start to put yourself in those situations. And, so I was very excited to be a part of it, to be like OK this is a character that might not be in the book but you know, she’s got a valid part, so “Shasta” is a mother and her back-story is, is, you know kind of came up with that she’s getting on the plane with her daughter, trying to take her daughter to a safer place in her head that’s what she thinks she’s doing. She’s trying to take her away because of what she’s going through with her husband, her ex-husband, we haven’t really decided that. Is that, you know they’re not going through great things at the moment so she’s taking her daughter and she’s just very weary of everybody on the plane. She’s very, I don’t know, she’s very, I feel like she kind of thinks everything is a conspiracy, that everyone’s out to get her, so she, you know, has her daughter on the plane and she wakes up after taking a nap and her daughter’s gone. And it was really interesting for me because, I was like, I've never played a mother before. I don’t have kids myself, what I would do if somebody that I could equate to the little, the little girl who was absolutely incredible, she’s so cute. 

Her name is Kam, Hi Kam! Hopefully she’ll see this. She was so adorable and I just was trying to equate like who would I just be completely devastated, shocked, to see isn't there anymore. Not because they left of their own accord but because they were taken. And it was very interesting to have to reach deep-down. I remember at one point we were shooting my scene and I was so, I was so overwhelmed and nervous because I kept forgetting my lines when we were practicing and rehearsing and everybody was so great trying to calm me down but I was so nervous because my character was literally in hysterics. She’s sobbing, she thinks that, you know, everybody has been a part of it and aren't telling her and I remember standing there we got the lines out but I remember being so deep into that scene that I literally could not stop myself and bring myself out of that base for about 20 minutes after the scene was shot. 

And it was just really interesting.I grew so much as a person in how I was relating to her, how I wasn't like her, you know and just being in the situation with all the amazing actors on the plane in the first class cabin, I will say. It was just very, it was a very interesting and amazing experience to be able to dive that deep into a character.

Moderator: Wow, that’s, that’s great. Thank you. And so you've been in a number of great movies and is this role being an action-thriller style movie, kind of a lot of depth from a, you know, a lot of different perspectives and then having so much action happening and you, even talking about how deep you got into this character. How was this different for you, or how did you have to either prepare or, just share with us a little bit about this experience as a opposed to maybe some of the other films and roles you've played in those.

Jordin Sparks: Well it was different because like I said I play a mother and I’m, I’m not a mom, I don’t have kids, one day I would love to have kids. But I, and I know there’s nothing like a mother’s love from what my mom has told me and my brother’s wife who just had my niece she just is like, it changes your entire world. And I know how much I love my niece now and I can’t imagine the type of love that I’ll have when I have my own kids. So it was hard because I wanted to be able to express that but I had to find something relate-able to me, you know in the space that I’m in now to get myself to that point. And also being able to be in something action-thriller, you know scary, end of your seat is so exciting for me because I have been in a couple films. It’s been so amazing to be able to, you know, work on this side of my artistry, and on this craft of being an actor and getting into this world. And with my other characters I was definitely a lot more like them with Sparkle, it was literally like we were the same person just put in different time eras and you know, go with different things. Family, in terms of family but I really felt like I related to her a lot on all levels. So, I don’t want to say it was easy but it was definitely simpler to be able to walk in to her shoes than it was to walk in to “Shasta’s” shoes. So it was very interesting, it was fun. And I felt very supported by everyone who was in this scene with me. Because it was all of us who were in the first-class cabin. I think besides Nicolas and Cassi because she’s on the ground kicking butt down there on the ground (laughing) making sure everybody’s safe, looking for her brother. So it was, it was nice to feel supported in that way when I was just so unsure if I could project what I was trying to project.

Moderator: That’s great. Yeah. Thank you.

Jordin Sparks: Um hmm. No problem.

Moderator: Yeah. I think one other thing that we just want to hear from you and actually we just got an email question for you specifically about this. Just about, we know a lot of your fans are a broad section of ages but we know that a lot of young people really respect you and look up to you. Do you think that young people can relate to this movie? What do you think they’ll get from it? Will they enjoy it? Is it something they should also go out and see?

Jordin Sparks: I think the great thing about this movie in that this movie has the opportunity to do, is because of the people that they have brought into the film, they have the ability to have people from all over come in and see the movie whether they are believers, whether they’re non-believers. Whether they are agnostic, whether they you know, don't believe in anything, or you know it doesn't even matter. They have the opportunity to have so many different people come in and watch this. And I’m, I’m excited for my fans to come in and see it as well because whether they know of the story of the rapture from the bible, or they've watched, what is that show, the show The Leftovers is kind of similar where people just disappear you know. Everybody’s kind of, I think everybody can relate to imagining, like what if somebody that I loved wasn't around anymore, in an instant? And it can definitely happen, whether it is through, you know being taken up in the rapture or, you know, a tragic accident you know, life isn't promised to us here, you know, tomorrow is not promised and I think everybody can relate to that so I think it’s going to be really cool to see all the different types of people that come in to see this film and for everybody to just be able to start a conversation afterwards. Go - Wow that was really interesting, I wonder what A, B, C, and D is. So I’m excited for my fans to come see it. I’m excited for, you know maybe to gain some fans from other people that come and see the movie as well. So you know, it’s going to be great for all of us I think.

Moderator: Yeah, for sure. Well that’s great. And it’s just great how involved you've been in this movie. I know you've really spent lots of time and have been very connected. So it’s, it’s great and you know we actually have a press release and some information that we are sending out to the media just, you know, including that information so you guys will all get that if you haven’t yet from us. Thank you so much Jordin. 

LEFT BEHIND MOVIE IS NOW IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE!! Check out your local listings and my review of this movie at 
BOOK FUN MAGAZINE here is the Link PAGE 84

Nora Stlaurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network Blog 
Book Fun Magazine 


Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell
Nicky Whelan as Hattie Durham
Lance E. Nichols as Bruce Barnes
William Ragsdale as Chris Smith
Martin Klebba as Melvin Weir
Quinton Aaron as Simon
Judd Lormand as Jim

THANKS to Gotham Conference with permission from
Sheryl Tirol | ROGERS & COWAN - have allowed me to bring you this interview. I was unable to make the conference call but I was sent the transcript to promote this film I saw on Sept 18th. 

My complete review of this movie is in BOOK FUN MAGAZINE 

ABOUT CASSI THOMSON: Cassi has steadily worked her way up since she first showed promise as a natural talent at age 11 when she began working in commercials. In her early years as a child actress Cassi began appearing as a guest star on primetime shows such as “Without A Trace,” “House,” “ER,” and “CSI.”

In her breakout role at age 15, Cassi joined the cast of the critically acclaimed HBO original series “Big Love” (2006-2011) at the end of season three, playing the character Cara Lynn with a raw passion and compelling authenticity.  She quickly turned heads and became a series regular in season four, staying with the show until the series ended, having starred in a total of 20 episodes.

Cassi’s most current work includes numerous projects for both film and television; she has appeared as a guest star on many series, along with landing lead roles in television movies and independent films. In addition she enjoys her recurring role on the ABC Family award-winning series “Switched At Birth.”


 Cassi Thomson: Well when I read the script it was just, you know, as Vic said it was very much character-driven which is something you don’t really see that often in a movie that does have so much action involved. And it also is a very strong female character which there unfortunately aren’t that many of, nowadays. So, when I read it, I mean I honestly thought I would never,  I would never book it. Just because I, I you know, I’m not a big A-Lister name. I’m, I’m, I have been working for a long time but I, you know I just assumed I would never get this opportunity. But still, I, you know I put a lot of work in, and I sent in tapes, and then I auditioned. And, luckily they, you know, they gave me a chance to be a part of something that was one of, really the most memorable times of my life. And, you know, I had always wanted to do a film like this. And it just, it was great. I mean Vic was great. Nic, Nic, Nicolas Cage was great. All the producers were amazing. It really was, when they say it was a dream team it really was on all, on all ends. It’s very rare that you get to work for producers that you love so much and a director that allows you to be so free, and, and Vic and I have become really close. I just did another film with him. And he, he’s just one of those directors that you want, that you want. You want them on set because they do allow you to be free. And they allow you to experience your character. And let you really be the actor that, that you want to be but they’re also there with all the support, and trust, and he was just amazing. Everybody was really amazing to work with.

Moderator: So when you mentioned that it was one of the most memorable experiences of your life, what’s something that sticks out and what was one of the most memorable parts of it, or what, what was just compelling to you about this movie?

Cassi Thomson: Well I probably one of the most, well I mean I took away a lot of friendships from this film and I, you know I, I feel like I grew a lot as an actor working with someone like Nicolas Cage. That’s something that so many young actors don’t get a chance to do. And his professionalism and his talent really kind of changes you. Experiences like that I think change you always for the better. And I also luckily got to do all of my own, pretty much all of my own stunts on the film. And at one point (laughing) Vic had me climb like this 400’ bridge. So I free-climbed the 400’ bridge and was on top of the bridge with a helicopter kind of circling me with a camera and that was amazing. That’s something that I probably will never get to do again. So that was, that was very memorable.

Vic Armstrong: That was stunning. (laughing)

Cassi Thomson: That was good, it was just awesome. (laughing)

Moderator: Cassi what do think are the main issues and struggles for your character in the film? I know she goes back and forth from a lot of different emotional places throughout this movie. What do you think just as a character? Help some of the people on this call who have not seen this movie and don’t really even, maybe know much about the story. What will they get from your character and what is it that you feel like she really went through in this movie?

Cassi Thomson: Well in the beginning of this film, you, you quickly learn that “Chloe” doesn't really have any kind of spiritual beliefs at all and she doesn't, her family growing up didn't have any kind of faith, didn't go to church, didn't, wasn't really involved with the Christian faith whatsoever. And then her mom found her faith and kind of it, it, it threw a wedge into the family and it kind of pushed “Chloe” away. Because any, any conversations she did have with her mom was always centered around faith and her believe in God and “Chloe” needs to really, you know, get in tune with that and kind of was warning of, warning her of what is coming. And “Chloe” just saw it as more nagging and felt like she kind of lost her mom in a way I think. And that pushed her to separate from not only her mom but her whole family. So in the beginning of the film, I think that’s kind of her main struggle is she’s coming home for her dad’s, you know, her dad’s prized birthday party and then learns that he’s been called off to work. And so then she’s stuck on a, you know, she’s stuck with a one on one interaction with her mom which is uncomfortable. And then very shortly in to the film, the rapture hits and obviously when that happens "Chloe’s” struggles shift dramatically and become a lot more real, and become a lot more intense. But I think the thing that’s so beautiful about “Chloe” and so beautiful about the way she’s written is that she, no matter if it is the beginning, you know, the middle or the end, her struggles do always, kind of circle around her family. And you can tell how much she does love her family. And I think that that was my favorite thing about her is that she’s, you can really, you watch her struggle through this film so much with losing her mom and then, you know feeling like she’s just lost her whole world. And, it’s pretty, it’s pretty great to watch her, you know, watch her struggle through the film, I guess (laughing).

Moderator: Yeah. For sure. Is there one part of the filming or something just from your experience in the movie that stands out above the rest that you want people to hear or that you want to kind of just share, talk about regarding this movie here?

Cassi Thomson: I think one of the most interesting things for me is, they did, really our, our team did such an amazing job of creating these sets and situations of, of the world being in ruins. And for me, you know as a human being, Cassi Thomson, I know the world’s fine, and I know that everything’s OK but you’re really kind of sucked into these sets that you’re put on and there’s this, there’s this specific scene in a hospital and in the nursery section where all of the babies are kept. And, you know all of children, when the rapture hit, they’re all taken off the Earth. And so when “Chloe” finds herself in this nursery all the babies have been gone and you can just see, you know the remnants of these children and for me that was such a, such a crazy experience and such an eye-opening experience and it really was bone-chilling in a sense. To be put in these situations where you did, it did feel real for that instant. And that was just very, it was very interesting to, to be a part of something, like that. If that makes any sense.

Moderator: Yeah. No that’s great, great. We really appreciate. We’ll be back and ask most of you guys more questions. But thank you so much Cassi for your participation in this call with us. 

THIS ENDS IT FOR TODAY - COUNTING DOWN UNTIL OCTOBER 3rd when this movie is released in theaters nationwide!! Check out your local listings and my review of this movie at BOOK FUN MAGAZINE here is the link PAGE 84

 I'll have some more of the Left Behind interview with the cast members tomorrow!
Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine  



Moderator: .... Is there something anybody would just put out here that you would hope people take away from this movie? It seems something people have asked many, many times. I have a handful of emails asking that question. Is there something that you think would be important for someone who watches this to get out of it?

Nicolas Cage: Well Hi, this is Nicolas Cage and I was just listening and I, I’d like to answer that question. I was very taken by the family dynamic that plays out in this script. And that’s what drew me to the project. That and an opportunity to work again with Vic Armstrong. I had a good rapport with him on another movie. So I felt that I could get to where I wanted to go with Captain Steele. Because this is, this is a person who is in an extraordinary situation and realizes really what his values are through the, he reaches a catharsis through the experience of this extraordinary flight that he’s on. And, gets back to the heart which is his relationship with his family, which is his relationship with “Chloe” his daughter which is so powerfully, she’s so powerful Cassi Thomson in the movie. And I think that that’s what I want, if there’s anything for me, I want that to come across that people realize, yeah we all make mistakes but in a moment of crisis what we really want, what we really go to, go back to is, the love we have for our families. And that’s what, that’s what pulled me in, into this, into this project. That, and also how you make such an extraordinary set of circumstances authentic and how do you make that real and that was a tremendous challenge for, for all the actors to, to play it almost Cinema verite that this is really happening and we’re really believing in this situation and it’s to, to convey that to the audience is the challenge. I've always been attracted to movies that aren't afraid to venture into the unknown. City of Angels, movies that were knowing, movies that aren't afraid to face the possibility of these extraordinary circumstances and, and the challenge of making that real.

Moderator: That’s great. Thank you so much Nicolas we knew you were going to get on and we really appreciate you joining us so, thank you so much. Everyone has anxiously been awaiting your arrival here. So we’re going to ask you a few questions here. And then, you know I had said at the beginning of the call if there’s anything that, you know, you want at any time or anybody from the cast just wants to interject or add in that maybe we’re not asking specifically. One of the things we’re getting a lot of questions about that people are writing in is, you know, we’re all fans of your interviews, we know you've worked on many different types of roles, you've probably already been asked this but people here would really like to know, what about this script or what regarding the movie in general, you know, I know you've mentioned things about, you know, your brother before, you've mentioned things about just, you know, we've all talked, I don’t know if you heard us, a little earlier in the call about, you know The Leftovers, and other, like, shows that are out right now, kind of speaking to end-times. Is there anything regarding just culture today or anything that you could share about you know, why you would say yes to a movie like this?

Nicolas Cage: Well again, I, I really said yes on the merits of the screenplay. And also to work with, to work with Vic again, the director. I think all artists, if you’re tapped in, if you’re tuned in, to the zeitgeist, you know when they’re open to that, they’re going to pick up on, on that. And things happen I think, I really believe things happen collectively around the world that, people get thoughts and they start, you know, I didn't know about The Leftovers. I didn't know that was a television show that was already happening but you can pick up on these things. I mean, at one time I think someone invented a steam train in one part of the world and another person was inventing the same thing and they had never talked. So I mean, there are times when you can, you can, you can tap into something subconsciously. But that wasn't on my mind, I wasn't aware of any of it. I just felt that the script was a challenge and it gave me a chance to really try to make the extraordinary, believable. And, and to do something authentic within performance so that everything around me was, was going into chaos. People were just appearing on the airplane and how did I make that organic? How did I make that authentic? And again, all the actors, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, they were all on-point. And I find that exciting. To me, it was, it was an exercise and I’m very happy with the results.

Moderator: That’s great. So the story centers on “Rayford Steele” and his daughter "Chloe”. How do you describe their relationship? How does it relate even maybe to your own thoughts as a father? What makes them relate-able characters and for most of the people on the call here, they haven’t seen the film. Explain a little bit about your relationship there and why this matters in this movie.

Nicolas Cage: Well I mean “Ray Steele” is a, he’s a captain of a jumbo jet, a transatlantic jumbo jet going, you know to London, England. And, you know, he’s, he’s, he’s an important guy on that airplane and he has a flirtation and this, there’s, there’s a chemistry that’s happening with the flight attendant, so marvelously played by Nicky Whelan and he loses track, you know, he loses sight of what’s really valuable to him in terms of you know, his treasures within which is his love for his family. He’s kind of, not that he’s a bad guy but he’s making a mistake that many people make that are in powerful positions where they, you know lose track of the importance of family. They’re drawn away, or they’re seduced or they’re taken from their true inner-values by, by, by something attractive, or something flirtatious, or something that, that has the call of the wild. And they lose their place, and what I like about that is that many people do it. But that “Ray Steele” gets back to his true need for family through this experience, through this extraordinary experience and understands the value of family and just wants to get back to that no matter what happens. Just to be able to get back on the phone with his daughter. Say I’m sorry. And say “I love you.” And I think that’s, it’s as simple as that. I think that is heart-wrenching. And if you have a heart, I don’t think it’s possible to see the movie and not get a little verklempt. I mean it, there’s some very poignant, emotional moments.

Moderator: Yeah. Great. Was there, is this the first time you've really heard about this story? Like when you heard about the potential (inaudible) people being taken away from the earth or disappearing. Is this the first time like, the rapture was kind of a new concept…(cut off).

Nicolas Cage: No, no. I’m familiar with the rapture of course. I mean, I’m not familiar with it in any aspect outside of what the bible says, but you know, I was not familiar with the LEFT BEHIND series. My brother, Mark, is a Christian pastor, and he was very excited about this. And he said, you know, Nicky, you've really got to do this. I mean this is a, and so I, I, you know I’d already wanted to make the movie because I thought it was such a great script and an opportunity again to do something challenging. But when I saw how passionate he was, I thought, well yeah I want to make this movie for my brother too.

Moderator: That’s great. Well I think that you’re making this movie for lots of people because people are very excited about it coming out and it’s got a lot of anticipation around it so people are excited to hear from you. We’re getting lots of questions. And, you know one of the questions too that has come in is, you know, with a lot of the roles that you take that are very heartfelt, there’s a lot of things that you are drawn to, or that you play where you tell a human story with a larger than life narrative. Is that something you, you love to play just because it really has the potential to affect people in their lives deeply? Or is it usually just like you said with this one where it’s the script or is there something about that, that is just meaningful to you because you probably see it affect people in a positive way.

Nicolas Cage: Well there’s, I mean if you look at my filmography, there’s no secret to the fact that I, I am drawn to movies that aren't afraid to take on spiritual themes. And you know, without going into my own personal, you know, spirituality which is very sacred to me and not something that I think is, you know for public consumption or to be put on the, or in the media but, but I like to let my work speak for me. I like to find movies that allow me to explore these inner or outer worlds through the work without having to really talk too much about it.

Moderator: Yeah that’s, that’s great and you do a fabulous job doing it. So, you may know that we have most of the cast on the call and then we have Paul LaLonde, we have Vic Armstrong on with us. Paul, Vic is there anything, since we have Nicolas on the line with us now that you want to make sure is said, or that is just communicated on this call.

Paul or Vic is there anything that you want to still bring up here, or even Nicolas, Cassi, Nicky, anybody that’s on the call, is there anything that you want to also add in that maybe has, you know sparked a thought from you that you want to include here before we wrap up this call?

Vic Armstrong: Hi this is Vic. Hi Nic. Welcome. (chuckling).

Nicolas Cage: Hi.

Vic Armstrong: So what was, what was interesting with what you’re saying there, I go back to when we sat down to discuss this script at Great Fosters at Egham in London before you flew out and I flew out here. We actually sat down and we, we both agreed we loved the script which was, you know the basis for any movie and we both loved the script but what was fascinating when I think back to it, all we discussed was our families and how this would affect our families. And how people aren't 100% pure. They do wave a slightly left or right on their journey through life. And it’s what you said there, it’s when “Ray Steele” does see the light. And he goes back to, to his family, and his love for his daughter and everything else. To me it’s fascinating, it brought it all back, hearing you say that. Because we didn't discuss the nuances of the characters. We've discussed in general how much your family does lead you through life and how much they mean to all of us. So that was wonderful to re-live that again.
Nicolas Cage: Yes. And also I, the only other thing that I would mention is that I, I want this movie to work for people, for me, of all faiths. It’s about when you have those moments there really are no atheists in fox holes. And so when you’re in a crisis, in a crisis like that, I want people from all faiths be able to say, you know, we’re, we’re all invited to the table. I mean we’re all going to get something from this movie.

Vic Armstrong: Exactly. Yeah.

Moderator: Yeah. That’s great. So since Vic just spoke up, Nicolas you may be kind of, we’ll all wrap this up here momentarily. It would just be great to hear you speak to what it was like to work with Vic Armstrong as your director. Right in front of him (laughing).

Nicolas Cage: Well actually I’m very comfortable working with Vic. I got to spend quite a bit of time with him on another movie that we made, called Season of the Witch. And it was a good experience and I thought that he directed me to a good performance and something that I was very proud of and wanted to work with him again. I, I knew that I would be able to relax with him and that I would be able to go within and just sort of exhale and be in the moment, be in the scene. That he would allow his actors to breathe and to be relaxed and to find the truth of their performances. And it really shows in the movie. I mean, across the board, of Chad Michael Murray, and Nicky, and Cassi again just, just powerfully real performances. And I knew that that would happen working again with Vic.

Moderator: Mmm hmmm. Great. And one last thing, you touched on a little bit but I know you have spoken to how just the importance of family and just how you really want people to take away from this too just how important that is. Is there anything more that you could just share with people about how this movie, does, kind of draw people to want to, I mean I know you mentioned that you know, the, the entire concept of the movie is about making sure, you know where your family is and thinking about them but is there something just about family to this movie that meant something personally to you as well?

Nicolas Cage: Well, anytime I make a movie, no matter how, how extraordinary the circumstances of the movie I try to come at it from a place of truth even if it’s truth in my imagination. I don’t want to act. I don’t want, because in that, in some way that implies lying. For me acting is trying to get the truth of an experience in my past or with in my memory almost like an impression and try to make it, you know, real within a performance. Recall it, and then bring it to the situation that my character finds himself in. And, it was, without thinking too much about it or breaking it down too much it was more about recalling emotions that I may have experienced in my own life, and applying them to the relationship between “Ray Steele” and “Chloe”, his daughter. And having a chance to say what I wanted to say through that character. And that, I think I've already probably said too much. But, but in other words, I don’t want to fake it, I want it to be authentic. And this character, in this movie, you know, within the context of the extraordinary circumstance gave me the chance to do that.

THIS ENDS IT FOR TODAY - COUNTING DOWN UNTIL OCTOBER 3rd when this movie is released in theaters nationwide!!  I'll have some more of the Left Behind interview with the cast members tomorrow! READ my complete review in BOOK FUN MAGAZINE here is the link PAGE 84

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog

Book Fun Magazine 

Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell
Nicky Whelan as Hattie Durham
Lance E. Nichols as Bruce Barnes
William Ragsdale as Chris Smith
Martin Klebba as Melvin Weir
Quinton Aaron as Simon
Judd Lormand as Jim
Lolo Jones as Lori

THANKS to Gotham Conference with permission from
Sheryl Tirol | ROGERS &COWAN - have allowed me to bring you this interview. I was unable to make the conference call but I was sent the transcript to promote this film I saw on Sept 18th. 

My complete review of this movie is in BOOK FUN MAGAZINE 

ABOUT NICHOLAS CAGE-  Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage is one of the most versatile actors of all time, equally known for his poignant portrayals in both drama and comedy.

Upcoming, Cage stars in “Left Behind,” a Christian-themed apocalyptic action film based on the best-selling book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins set to be released in October. He will also next be seen in “Outcast,” an American-Chinese action film alongside Hayden Christiansen. Additionally, Cage recently completed filming Paul Schrader’s “The Dying of the Light” with Anton Yelchin. He is currently in production on “The Runner,” which also stars Sarah Paulson, Peter Fonda and Connie Nielsen.

Most recently, Cage starred in David Gordon Green’s “Joe,” which premiered at the 2013 Venice International Film Festival and in the thriller “Rage” with Danny Glover.

In 2013 Cage renewed his appointment as a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice for the United Nations committing to a second tenure of two years. Cage’s original appointment took place in 2009. He traveled to Africa to undertake a mission with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in Gulu, Uganda, Mombasa, Kenya and Nairobi, Kenya. Here he met with child soldiers, gang members, inmates, Kenyan judges and magistrates to help stop human trafficking, child slavery and kidnapping. Cage is also a Luminary for Amnesty International and helps with their focus on human rights. This is not his complete body of work see his full bio at Online Media Spot |)


Movie Synopsis
Left Behind is an apocalyptic Action-Thriller movie starring Nicolas Cage based on the New York Times bestselling novel that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times.

The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.

“Left Behind” FAQs
A. Producers made the original “Left Behind” films specifically for a Christian audience. But it has always been their intention to create a film based on the books that not only appeals to the core audience but has the potential to expand to a broader audience as well. It depicts the immediate aftermath of what the day of the Rapture might look like in realistic bold and graphic detail. The Producers also wanted this film to be character driven to help the audience identify with how real people might react to this unthinkable event.

Q. When will “Left Behind” be released in theaters?
A. “Left Behind” will be released nationwide in theaters on October 3, 2014.

Q. What is the budget for this movie?
A. $16 million (this is for the production itself and does not include the print and advertising budget).

Q. Who has been cast, and whom will they play?

Nicolas Cage: Rayford Steele,
Chad Michael Murray: Cameron “Buck” Williams
Cassi Thomson: Chloe Steele
Nicky Whelan: Hattie Durham
Lea Thompson: Irene Steele
Jordin Sparks: Shasta Carvelle
Lance E. Nichols: Pastor Bruce Barnes
Major Dodson: Raymie Steele
Quinton Aaron: Simon - Olympic hurdler and bobsledder LoLo Jones has a cameo as an airport attendant

Q. Why are there characters that are not from the books in this film?

A. Writers and producers wanted to not only make a large action thriller; they also wanted engaging and character-driven storylines that depict the authenticity of how people would react in this circumstance. The film focuses on the first few hours after the Rapture occurs and follows the main characters but also layers additional characters on the plane for a well-rounded perspective.

Q. Who will play the anti-Christ in this movie?

A. “Left Behind” will focus on the first few hours after the Rapture. The character of the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia, will not be in this movie, but will be introduced in the second movie.

Q. Does the entire movie take place on a plane?

A. No. A significant portion of the film also focuses on the chaos and destruction happening on the ground when millions of people suddenly vanish. For that part of the movie, the story follows main character Chloe Steele as she searches the city for her family and the truth behind what really happened.

Q. Who is the director for “Left Behind”?

Vic Armstrong, a veteran filmmaker in the action genre.

Q. Where was the movie filmed?

Baton Rouge, LA

Q. Will there be a sequel? Will you do films for all 16 books?

A. Stoney Lake Entertainment intends to create a franchise for this property. How many movies that will be has not been determined.

Q. When will the DVD/Blu-ray/Download be released?

A. This date has not yet been confirmed but will follow the theatrical release.

Q. Are the actors all Christian?
A. Stoney Lake Entertainment produces faith-inspired films, but faith is not a factor in the casting process. Casting is solely based on talent and fit for the role.

Q. Will it still have Christian themes?
A. “Left Behind” is about the events following the Rapture, so it will always have a Christian theme.

Q. Are Left Behind book series authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins supportive of the movie?

A. Yes. Both authors have screened “Left Behind” in advance and both have given it a big thumbs up. “I believe it does justice to the novel and will renew interest in the entire series,” author Jerry B. Jenkins said. “It is the best movie I have ever seen on the rapture,” added Tim LaHaye. Jenkins provided very useful notes to the script during pre-production and visited the set during principal photography.

Q. How close will “Left Behind” be to the book?

A: “Left Behind” is based on a portion of the first book in the “Left Behind” series and will feature the main characters from the book, including Rayford Steele, Cameron “Buck” Williams, Chloe Steele, and Hattie Durham. The entire film takes place on the day of the Rapture, focusing on the chaos in the world in the wake of millions of people vanishing with no explanation.

Q. What is the Rapture?

A: The term Rapture is used to refer to the Bible prophecy where faithful believers are taken up to heaven before the apocalyptic end of days.

A poll conducted by the Barna Group in August 2013 found that four in 10 Americans (41 percent) over the age of 18 believe that “the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophecies in the Bible.

Q. What is Stoney Lake Entertainment?

A. Stoney Lake Entertainment (SLE) is a film production company created in 2012 by CEO Paul Lalonde, co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures. Unlike Cloud Ten, SLE will focus on producing bigger budget theatrical features. “Left Behind” will be SLE’s first feature film.


Sheryl Tirol | ROGERS &COWAN - have allowed me to bring you this interview to promote this film I saw on Sept 18th. 

Nora St.Laurent

TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network Blog
Book Fun Magazine