Feature Films by LDS/Mormon Filmmakers and Actors
Weekend Box Office Report (U.S. Domestic Box Office Gross)

Weekend of August 13, 2004

[If table lines up improperly, use mono-spaced font, i.e. Courier]

Natl Film Title                Weekend Gross % B.O. Theatrs
Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star   Total Gross Change  $/Thtr   Days
--- ---------------------------  ----------- ------ -------   ----
 3  Collateral                    16,174,309  -35%   3,205     10
    Bryan H. Carroll*             52,560,520        $5,047
      (assoc. producer
      2nd unit director)

11  Napoleon Dynamite              1,756,496  + 1%     563     66
    Jared Hess (writer/director)  15,880,823        $3,120
    Jerusha Hess
      (writer/costume designer)
    Jon Heder (1st billed star)
    Aaron Ruell (3rd billed star)
    Jeremy Coon (producer/editor)
    Sean Covel (producer)
    Chris Wyatt (producer)
    Munn Powell (cinematographer)
    Cory Lorenzen
      (production designer)
    Curt Jensen (art director)
    Tim Skousen, Brian Petersen
      (assistant directors)

14  The Notebook                   1,155,431  -38%     925     52
    Ryan Gosling                  74,694,064        $1,249
      (1st billed star)

20  Anchorman:                       650,415  -59%     707     38
      The Legend of Ron Burgundy  83,470,623          $920
    Brent White (editor)

33  Around the World in 80 Days      190,366  -10%     226     61
    Perry Andelin Blake           23,519,011          $842
      (production designer)

38  Bugs!                            132,479  - 5%      28    521  
    stars Papilio,                12,101,249        $4,731
      a Great Mormon butterfly

39  Riding Giants (documentary)      131,562  -15%      63     38
    Jeff Clark                     1,469,929        $2,088
      (featured LDS surfer)

46  Saints and Soldiers               73,789  -43%      26     10
    Ryan Little                      278,257        $2,838
    Adam Abel (producer)
    Brian Brough
     (assoc. producer/produc. manager)
    Wynn Hougaard (editor)
    J Bateman (composer)
    Matt Whitaker (screenwriter)
    Jennifer Buster (casting)
    Actors: Corbin Allred, Larry Bagby III,
      Kirby Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe,
      Curt Dousett, Ben Gourley,
      Ethan Vincent, etc.

69  Home on the Range                 16,117  +42%      24    136
    Roseanne Barr (actress)       50,008,224          $672
      (1st billed star)

80  The Young Black Stallion           5,694  - 8%       5    235
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   6,493,252        $1,139

87  China: The Panda Adventure         1,992  -42%       2   1116
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   3,846,340          $996

88  The Best Two Years                 1,974  - 2%       3    178
    Scott S. Anderson                936,660          $658
    Michael Flynn (producer)
    Fred C. Danneman (executive producer)
    Gordon Lonsdale (cinematographer)
    Wynn Hougaard (editor)
    Michael McLean (songwriter, music supervisor)
    Dave Sapp
      (line producer/1st A.D./unit production manager)
    Darin Anderson (production manager)
    Michael L. McDonough (sound editor)
    Rebecca Nibley (costume designer)
    Actors: K.C. Clyde, Kirby Heyborne,
      David Nibley, Cameron Hopkin,
      Scott Christopher, Michael Flynn

SAINTS AND SOLDIERS SETS LDS CINEMA RECORD ON FIRST WEEK GROSS CHART; GOD'S ARMY TOPS 1ST WEEK PER THEATER AVG. CHART - Just to add data for background here are the top first week box office totals for LDS Cinema films ranked:

1. Saints and Soldiers - 204,468
2. Book of Mormon Movie - 189,742
3. The R.M. - 180,245
4. God's Army - 159,300
5. Brigham City - 156,400+     (this is an estimate - Excel Entertainment has not released actual numbers. It may have done better than God's Army.)
6. Best Two Years - 139,196
7. Charly - 96,229
8. The Other Side of Heaven - 98,128
9. The Singles Ward - 68,909
10. Home Teachers - 65,635

The Legend of Johnny Lingo also took in $207,461 its first complete week (of course it was playing all over the country), so it actually did better than S&S. (We don't count it as LDS Cinema.)

As for first complete week PER THEATER totals, here are the rankings:

1. God's Army - 53,100
2. The Other Side of Heaven - 48,064
3. The R.M. - 12,016
4. Saints and Soldiers - 7,864
5. The Book of Mormon Movie - 6,543
6. The Best Two Years - 6,327
7. The Singles Ward - 6,264
8. The Home Teachers - 3,282
9. Brigham City - 3,000+ (again estimated - probably more than Pride and Prejudice)
10. Pride and Prejudice - 3,085
11. Charly - 2,673
12. Handcart - 1,939

"SAINTS AND SOLDIERS" BEST-REVIEWED LDS CINEMA MOVIE AS REVIEWED BY LOCAL REVIEWERS - "Saints and Soldiers" has received the highest-ever reviews of all LDS Cinema movies released thus far.

The previous record was held by "The Best Two Years," which was the most recently released movie... and before that, one of the highest-ever-ranked movies was "Pride and Prejudice." If this is a trend, and each LDS Cinema movie keeps getting better, with better reviews, then critics will be comparing "Sons of Provo" favorably to "This is Spinal Tap," and "Baptists at Our Barbecue" will "Baptists at Our Barbecue" will be hailed as better than "Some Like It Hot."

REMEMBER: This table ONLY summarizes reviews by the major Utah newspapers that have consistently reviewed LDS Cinema: Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News (Deseret Morning News), Ogden Standard Examiner, Salt Lake City Weekly and Utah County's Daily Herald reviews by Eric D. Snider and subsequent reviews by Snider done independently. The table is interesting in that the grades from the reviews are from the same reviewers each time.

[Listed In Order of Avg. Local Review Score, Best-Reviewed at Top]

Title (Year)                  Budget    BoxOf Gross   OpWknd Thtr SLT DN  OSE ES SLW Avg.
Saints and Soldiers (2004)   $  900,000 $  129,056+ $129,056   3  3.5 3   3.5 A- 3   84
The Best Two Years (2004)       400,000    932,173+   92,436  22  3   3   3   B  2.5 73
God's Army (2000)               300,000  2,628,829    88,584   3  2.5 3   2.5 B+     71
Brigham City  (2001)          1,000,000    905,073   103,629  51  3   2.5 2.5 B      69
Out of Step (2002)              700,000    ~80,000             7  3   2.5 2   B  2.5 66
Pride and Prejudice (2003)      350,000    372,752    38,329  18  2.5 2.5 3   C+ 2.5 65
Other Side of Heaven (2001)   7,000,000  4,720,112    55,765   2  2.5 2.5 2.5 C+     62
Jack Weyland's Charly (2002)    950,000    814,666    56,900  36  2   2   2.5 B- 2   56
The R.M. (2003)                 500,000  1,111,615   130,352  15  2   2   2.5 B- 2   56
Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003)            1,690,025   109,868  63  2.5 2   2   C  2.5 55
Handcart (2002)                 300,000     98,666    20,000  18  2.5 2.5 2   C- 2   54
The Singles Ward (2002)         500,000  1,250,798    46,649  11  1   2   2.5 C- 2   46
The Work and the Story (2003)   120,000     14,474     2,192   5  2   2   1.5 D- 2.5 44
Book of Mormon Vol. 1 (2003)  2,000,000  1,672,730   114,573  30  1.5 2   2   C- 1.5 44
The Home Teachers (2004)        500,000    196,123    47,494  20  2   1.5 1.5 C- 1.5 41
Day of Defense (2003)           500,000                       16  1   1   1   F  1   20

[Listed chronologically]

Title (Year)                  Budget    BoxOf Gross   OpWknd Thtr SLT DN  OSE ES SLW Avg.
God's Army (2000)            $  300,000 $2,628,829  $ 88,584   3  2.5 3   2.5 B+     71
Brigham City  (2001)          1,000,000    905,073   103,629  51  3   2.5 2.5 B      69
Other Side of Heaven (2001)   7,000,000  4,720,112    55,765   2  2.5 2.5 2.5 C+     62
The Singles Ward (2002)         500,000  1,250,798    46,649  11  1   2   2.5 C- 2   46
Out of Step (2002)              700,000    ~80,000             7  3   2.5 2   B  2.5 66
Jack Weyland's Charly (2002)    950,000    814,666    56,900  36  2   2   2.5 B- 2   56
Handcart (2002)                 300,000     98,666    20,000  18  2.5 2.5 2   C- 2   54
The R.M. (2003)                 500,000  1,111,615   130,352  15  2   2   2.5 B- 2   56
Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003)            1,690,025   109,868  63  2.5 2   2   C  2.5 55
The Work and the Story (2003)   120,000     14,474     2,192   5  2   2   1.5 D- 2.5 44
Book of Mormon Vol. 1 (2003)  2,000,000  1,672,730   114,573  30  1.5 2   2   C- 1.5 44
Day of Defense (2003)           500,000                       16  1   1   1   F  1   20
Pride and Prejudice (2003)      350,000    372,752    38,329  18  2.5 2.5 3   C+ 2.5 65
The Home Teachers (2004)        500,000    196,123    47,494  20  2   1.5 1.5 C- 1.5 41
The Best Two Years (2004)       400,000    932,173+   92,436  22  3   3   3   B  2.5 73
Saints and Soldiers (2004)      900,000    129,056+  129,056   3  3.5 3   3.5 A- 3   84
OpWknd: Total gross box office ticket sales in the opening weekend.
Thtr: Number of theaters movie played in on its opening weekend.

SLT: Salt Lake Tribune
DN: Deseret News
OSE: Ogden Standard-Examiner
ES: Eric D. Snider, reviewing for the Daily Herald (Utah County) until August 2003.
SLW: Salt Lake City Weekly

NOTES: "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" is technically not part of "LDS Cinema" genre, but is included here for reference.

"The Work and the Story" opened in 5 regular multiplex theaters on 3 October 2003, with a weekend box office gross of $2,192. This the figure shown in the table above. Prior to that, however, the movie was shown for a month (beginning on 29 August 2003) in 2 Utah comedy club locations and one indepenent film/art theater location. Moviegoers most interested in seeing this movie probably went to see it during these "pre-release" weeks, but are not counted in the table.






KIRBY HEYBORNE THRASHES QUEEN AMIDALA - The LDS Cinema film "Saints and Soldiers," starring prolific LDS Cinema actor Kirby Heyborne, won the Jury Choice for Best Picture at the prestigious Stonybrook Film Festival in New York earlier this month. "Saints and Soldiers", which was directed by Ryan Little ("Out of Step") went up against many high-profile, bigger-budged independent films, including "Garden State." No, "Garden State" is not the story Gov. James McGreevey - it stars Zach Braff ("Scrubs" TV series star, in his directorial debut) as an up-and-coming actor who returns to his New Jersey hometown and encounters a quirky girl played by Natalie Portman (best known as Queen/Senator Amidala from the Star Wars prequels). With high-profile stars, "Garden State" has received considerable national media attention, but the LDS-made "Saints and Soldiers" has received even better reviews and higher film fest. accolades.

In related news, Olivia Amidala Pate is the actual name of the daughter of young LDS filmmaker Elias Pate, the assistant director of the LDS Cinema film "Handcart," and the co-writer/co-director of the critically acclaimed science fiction thriller "Missy."

KSL'S CAROL MIKITA: LDS CINEMA WRITER/STAR GROBERG MAY FILL VACANCY IN QUORUM OF 12 APOSTLES - John H. Groberg's book In the Eye of the Storm was the basis for the top-grossing LDS Cinema movie of all time: The Other Side of Heaven. (His book has now been retitled to the title of the movie.) In the movie, Christopher Gorham portrays Elder Groberg. Groberg himself makes a cameo appearance. Anne Hathaway, star of "Princess Diaries 2", now in theaters, played Elder Groberg's girlfriend, who became his wife at the end of the movie. Will this feature film action hero be the next Apostle? This article mentions "The Other Side of Heaven" movie, which is why we forward it here...

Hey... is Elder Merrill J. Bateman (also mentioned in this article) related to J Bateman -- the composer of "Saints and Soldiers"? Maybe it's the same guy... If so, would Elder Bateman continue to write film scores as a sitting Apostle? Ezra Taft Benson served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture while he was an Apostle, so conceivably the upcoming Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise movie "War of the Worlds" could be scored by a sitting Apostle...

SECRETS OF "SAINTS AND SOLDIERS" J BATEMAN REVEALED! IS HE A GENERAL AUTHORITY? - It is true that KSL's Carol Mikita named Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy as a possible new Apostle, now that two members of the Quorum of the Twelve have departed. But although Elder Bateman, a former president of Brigham Young University, has a name somewhat similar to "Saints and Soldiers" musical score composer "J Bateman," they are NOT the same person.

Well, we kind of knew that... but stranger things have happened. Sitting senator Orrin Hatch, after all, is the writer of songs that have been in many feature films, including "Stuart Little 2" (2002), "Rat Race" (2001) starring Whoopie Goldberg, and the non-LDS Christian movie "Joshua" (2002).

"Saints and Soldiers" composer J Bateman is, according to a recent Meridian article by Ron Simpson, the "proprietor of ArtistPoint studios and an engineer/producer, J has a variety of international and domestic credits, including the score and music supervision for the recent Saints and Soldiers." Bro. J Bateman is ALSO married to none other than actress Britani Bateman, the lead actress in the LDS Cinema hit comedy "The R.M." Britani Bateman played Kelly Powers, the daughter of a General Authority (but, alas, not a general authority/film composer). Will J. Bateman's LDS Cinema film "Saints and Soldiers" top the box office performance of his wife's LDS Cinema film? Time will tell... One thing we know for certain at this point: Out of 15+ LDS Cinema movies to hit theaters thus far, it is the Batemans' two movies that are ranked #1 and #2 in terms of best opening weekend at the box office. Coincidence?

J Bateman's next feature film is the romantic comedy "Love Surreal," which -- like "Saints and Soldiers" -- was directed by Ryan Little. The film is now in post-production. It boasts an all-star cast, including non-LDS actor Orlando Searle (lead actor from Black's "Pride and Prejudice"), veteran LDS actor Scott Wilkinson (Treu's "Wish Upon a Star", Merrill's "Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd", Paur's "Rigoletto", etc.), LDS actor K.C. Clyde (lead actor "Elder John Rogers" in "The Best Two Years"), LDS actor Frank Gerrish ("Brigham City", "Baptists at Our Barbecue") and LDS actor Ben Gourley ("Charles Bingley" from "Saints and Soldiers").

LITTLE CLIMBS TO #17 ON TOP LATTER-DAY SAINT FILM DIRECTORS LIST - Ryan Little's "Saints and Soldiers" continues to do well in theaters, and combined with his previous "Out of Step", his career total box office has now passed that of former BYU film school dean Bro. Sterling Van Wagenen (who for many years was Robert Redford's brother-in-law). Van Wagenen's only theatrically released film was the excellent, critically praised but little seen Jewish-themed "Alan & Naomi." Canuck Ryan Little's career total box office is poised to pass that of Scots filmmaker Bro. Andrew Black ("Pride and Prejudice"), probably within a week. Idahoan continues to score box office $ with "Napoleon Dynamite," but even with $15 million posted thus far, has far to go before passing Blake's SNL alum-starrer.

Ranked by Gross Box Office $

Top Latter-day Saint Film Directors
(who are currently directing)

1. Kieth Merrill
2. Don Bluth
3. Richard Rich
4. Neil LaBute
5. Bruce Neibaur
6. Perry Andelin Blake
7. Jared Hess
8. Mitch Davis
9. Richard Dutcher
10. Kurt Hale
11. Steven Ramirez
12. Gary Rogers
13. Scott S. Anderson
14. Adam Thomas Anderegg
15. Blair Treu
16. Andrew Black
17. Ryan Little
18. Sterling Van Wagenen
19. Kels Goodman
20. Nathan Smith Jones

* Based on total career North American box office gross


By Greg Hernandez , Staff Writer

Theater space for independent films has historically been limited to the art-house circuit. But with the quick fade this summer of some big-budget films, such as "King Arthur" and "Catwoman," more room is being made in the big movie houses for small-budget indies like "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Garden State."

"When you have these high-profile casualties, it frees up some of the shelf space and there's no question that creates an opportunity for some of these smaller films," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co., a box office tracking firm. "If every one of the big summer movies from the major distributors did well and held in the marketplace for a protracted period of time, they would be taking up a lion's share of the screens."

Studio blockbusters typically bow in 2,000 to 3,000 theaters on opening weekend. In contrast, "Napoleon" opened in six locations back in June while "Garden" bowed two weeks ago in nine.

Box office analyst Robert Bucksbaum, president of Reel Source Inc., said the big multiplexes are showing far more interest in independent product these days.

"You are seeing a trend where the big multiplexes are not just playing the mainstream movies, they are reserving a few screens here and there for independents that do well," he said. "In the past, you wouldn't even see an independent movie in the summertime. Now, if they can make room in their schedule and come off a film early to play an independent, they'll do it."

"Napoleon," for example, benefited greatly by being booked early on at the AMC 30-screen multiplex at the Block of Orange where it was out-grossing such mainstream comedies as "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" and "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

"AMC and other circuits saw that so it gave us an entree to go into the other large commercial theaters,' said Steve Gilula, president of distribution at Fox Searchlight, which released the film.

Searchlight had released "Napoleon" in Los Angeles and New York with little fanfare. But word of mouth on the quirky comedy was excellent from the start and it has steadily gained screens since then. It is currently playing in 546 theaters, 123 of which were added just last week and Searchlight plans further expansion throughout the month.

"We knew it was an independent film opening and expanding against all these mega studio movies so we wanted to assess how much momentum we'd get," Gilula said. "It does have the potential to go to possibly 1,500 locations or more."

"Napoleon" is slowly making its way toward the box office top 10, finishing in 13th place last weekend with $1.7 million in ticket sales. It has grossed $12.5 million to date.

"It's quite an extraordinary phenomenon," Gilula said.

Also released by Searchlight, "Garden State" expanded to 35 screens last weekend and has grossed nearly $1 million so far. It had a stellar per-screen average of $14,616, nearly double the average for the weekend's No. 1 film, "Collateral."

"Garden" will expand to more than 150 theaters this weekend, then to at least 500 locations later in the month.

Lions Gate Entertainment has been able to secure more than 1,000 theaters out of the gate for two of its summer releases: "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Open Water."

"Open Water" had a strong $1 million opening last weekend despite being in only 47 theaters. The drama about a couple of scuba divers stranded in shark-infested waters will go into wide release Aug. 20.

"It's a great opening and we feel it sets up the wide release really well," said Steve Rothenberg, Lions Gate's executive vice president of distribution.

Still, Bucksbaum said it's usually not easy for theater owners to change courses midstream if a major studio release is tanking and a smaller independent is surging although multiplexes can move a bomb to a smaller theater.

"You usually got fixed terms for how long you can hold a film," he said. "You can get out of them but the general practice is once you book a film, you aren't going to get rid of it in one week. It's a difficult scenario; you are always treading water on what to do in these situations."


CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE: HIGH PRAISE FOR NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, WHICH IT CALLS "NOT A MORMON MOVIE" - ABOUT World Magazine: WORLD is a weekly newsmagazine, published 50 times a year. WORLD includes sharp, full-color photographs and offers complete coverage of national and international news, all written from a Christian perspective.




For a list of other articles about "Napoleon Dynamite" that have appeared at see


LDS AUTHOR/SCREENWRITER OSC BELIEVES M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN STOLE PLOT FOR "THE VILLAGE" - The Shyamalan / Haddix story is all over the papers, if you care to look... OSC here weighs in on it, and repeats his regrets that "The Sixth Sense" covered ground similar to Card's own "Lost Boys," making "Lost Boys" difficult to pitch. "Lost Boys" is Card's most overtly LDS-themed mainstream novel, featuring as its main characters devout Latter-day Saints living in contemporary North Carolina. And ghosts.

I have seen "The Village," and I have read the synopsis for Haddix' book, and I can see there are clear similarities, but I don't think Shyamalan intentionally copied the book, nor do I think Haddix' people have legal standing to win a law suit. But I agree with O.S. Card that the right and smart thing for Disney/Shyamalan to do would be to pay Haddix a reasonable but slightly over-market fee, essentially to pay her off. Here's the thing: When I saw "The Village" I was shocked because, quite independently, I had thought of a very similar idea, and I certainly had never heard of Haddix's book. So I give Shyamalan the benefit of the doubt and can easily believe he thought of this on his own.

ORSON SCOTT CARD COLUMN ABOUT HYMN WRITING - Orson Scott Card, the most acclaimed and popular living LDS science fiction writer, has written numerous screenplays for animated short videos/DVDs made by Living Scriptures, Inc., and his landmark novel "Ender's Game" is slated to be made into a major feature film by Wolfgang Petersen ("Troy", "The Neverending Stoy", "Das Boot", "Enemy Mine"), with a script by the screenwriters of "X-Men" and "X-Men 2." Card is also the director of the short film "Remind Me Again." Card's screenplay "My One and Only" was recently a finalist in the 3rd LDS Film Festival full-length screenplay competition. From the looks of this Meridian Magazine column, Card seems to be saying he is going to write a weekly (?!) column about hymn writing (?!). He is already writing his "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything" column for his local newspaper in Greensboro, and he regularly writes a political column, and may still be contributing to for all I know... All of which makes is simply more evidence that he is certifiably insane. But what are you gonna do? The worst Orson Scott Card novel is better than pretty much everything you'll read in a college conemporary English lit class. In the s.f. pantheon he ranks up there just below the Asimov-Clarke-Heinlein trinity, and he is one of the most important, influential figures in the whole history of Mormon arts and letters. If he wants to write hymns, let him write hymns. But the sequel to Lovelock would be nice some time.



We have some new upcoming locations for "The Best Two Years" in Texas. "The Best Two Years" will be opening on August 20 in theaters in Plano, Grapevine, Houston, San Antonio, Texas. We will also be opening in Memphis, TN on the same day.

Also, B2Y will be hitting theaters in Anchorage, Alaska on August 27.




THOMAS CONSIDERS LDS CINEMA BOX OFFICE AND MARKET SIZE - Just a thought: We tend to use $1 million as a kind of benchmark for LDS Cinema films, but let's put that in perspective. Taking into account that a bunch of the income is from discount or "dollar" theaters, let's just say the average price that a theatergoer pays on a ticket is $5 (just for a round figure). To gross $1 million, a film would then need to have 200,000 people pay to see it. That doesn't seem like a lot, with a church membership of about 12 million, but how many of these members live outside the United States or even in areas of the United States where these films don't end up playing? And how many of those are active members? How many of those would be interested in seeing ANY LDS Cinema film instead of choosing on of the countless other recreational activities that are available to all of us?

Let's just pretend that everyone in the United States has the opportunity to see the film. Church membership in the United States is just over 5.5 million. That's about 2% of the U.S. population. Let's call this the film's target audience. Now, compare that to another generic film whose target audience is everyone in the United States. (Admittedly no such film exists, since they target age groups, etc. - but the same divisions have occurred within LDS Cinema itself.) Since there are 50 times as many people in the United States as a whole as there are members of the church in the United States, if a similar percentage of that target audience actually goes to see the film that has the whole U.S. as its target audience, the non-LDS Cinema film grosses $50 million. (50 X $1 million = $50 million).

The fact is that the median point (where there are just as many films that have grossed more money as there are that have made less) of LDS Cinema is right about at $1 million (a little bit under, actually - but good data was not available for a couple of films that were essentially direct-to-video films that tried unsuccessfully to have some sort of theatrical run with no advertising dollars or distribution whatsoever to back them up). I tried to look it up, but I couldn't find an exact number for the median point for all films released in the United States, however I was able to confirm that it was well below $50 million. In fact, it was well below $6 million. Last year, (2003) only 58 films grossed more than $50 million. But there were over 500 films released.

If this is true, it seems that members of the church are supporting these films at a much better rate than what the general U.S. population supports films in general. So maybe our criticism of the "audience support" for LDS Cinema films is misplaced. Maybe we're doing as well as can be expected, especially considering the budget these films have had (both for production and promotion) and the difficulty of distributing these films in a way that members have a reasonable chance of being able to see them.

The following STUDIO releases made less than $50 million last year (2003):

Peter Pan
The Jungle Book 2
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Secondhand Lions
Rugrats Go Wild
The Core

Just to name a few that at least by name recognition alone you would think would have gotten some audience.

Further addendum:
By the arguments presented earlier, you might say that if we put grossing $100 million as the boundary of a Hollywood "Blockbuster," any LDS Cinema film that grosses over $2 million in the theaters has achieved "blockbuster" status among members of the church. Which films have made it? Only "God's Army" and "The Other Side of Heaven."


This is a formal announcement for the exciting supernatural thriller, THE SPIRITHUNTER

This feature-length motion picture was written, directed, produced, and edited by David Weidner, a lifelong member of the church. THE SPIRITHUNTER was recently screened at the American Film Market and the Cannes Film Market. It also won the Key West Independent Film Festival 2004, and is now an official selection at this year's Telluride Independent Film Festival, to be shown over Labor Day. Screening is Friday, 8 pm, Sept. 3rd, 2004.

The story follows a man who awakens one morning to find his memory gone.

After experiencing some disturbing, supernatural events, he is told that he has recently died. He is now a spirit, wandering the earth in a state of limbo, unseen by the living. He discovers he is marked for pickup by a being known as the Spirithunter, a collector of souls for the devil. All souls who cross over must face this challenge. Depending on how well you lived your life, is how much of a head start you have. No one knows when the Spirithunter will come calling for them. But when it arrives, there is no escape.

There is only one way to beat the Spirithunter. You must find your body, and reunite it with your soul. But having no memory of how, where, or when you died, can complicate the search. And the clock is always ticking...

The director, David Weidner, is an LDS member and a former professional soccer player in Europe.

The film does not mention any organized religions in the script, but the underlying themes of the afterlife are unmistakably LDS.

If you need any other info, he can be reached at ####### or per email at #########.


Shannon River Productions

[Write to if you would like us to forward your requests for interviews/questions/etc. to the director. ]

ROBERT STARLING FILM PROJECT: ON MY HONOR (ABOUT FOUNDER OF BOY SCOUTS) - "On My Honor": A proposed film about Lord Baden-Powell by Cecil B. DeMille, Jerry Molen and Robert Starling

"On My Honor" is an epic film conceived and begun by Cecil B. DeMille, but left unfinished because of his untimely death in 1959. The subject of the film was not Boy Scouts per se, but rather an action-adventure film similar to "Lawrence of Arabia" about the turn-of-the-century military campaigns of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the international Scouting movement.

Cecil B. DeMille is remembered as one of the most influential filmmakers in history. Known for making some of the biggest-budget epic films of his time, his productions regularly topped the American, and world box office. He received multiple Academy Awards and nominations, and may be best remembered today for his landmark production of "The Ten Commandments." Other films he produced and directed include "Cleopatra", "Samson and Delilah", "The Greatest Show on Earth" and "The Plainsman."

The second issue of Scout Memorabilia (1966) includes an article about the project, and indicates that the project was originally includes an article about the "On My Honor" project, and indicates that the project was originally continued for a few years by DeMille's associate producer Henry Wilcoxon after DeMille's death. Wilcoxon hired Sydney Box as a screenwriter.

But "On My Honor" lay dormant for many years, until now. Veteran producer Robert Starling obtained an option on the project from DeMille's granddaughter, and was then joined enthusiastically in the effort to finish the DeMille film by Jerry Molen (the Academy Award-winning producer of "Schindler's List", "Jurassic Park", "The Other Side of Heaven" and numerous other Hollywood hits.)

Although the subject matter is different, this "how-the-film-got-made" scenario is reminiscent of that behind the 2001 science fiction film "A.I.", which was begun by Stanley Kubrick and finished Kubrick's friend Steven Spielberg. (Spielberg is also a long-time collaborator and friend of Jerry Molen; many of Spielberg's biggest movies were produced by Molen.)

Production of "On My Honor" is expected to generate intense enthusiasm. Over 500 million people in the United States and around the world have participated in the Scouting program, which indicates a potential "pre-sold" audience for the film similar to (and perhaps even larger than) Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ." It is hoped that the money can be raised and the picture can be produced before the worldwide Scout movement's 100th anniversary in 2007.

Among the countless influential individuals who are Eagle Scouts are filmmaker Steven Spielberg, businessmen Ross Perot and J. Willard Marriot, and astronaut Neil A. Armstrong. The list of all the people who have participated in Boy Scouts, whether as youth or as adult volunteer leaders, includes too many leading writers, actors, civil rights leaders, environmental activists, politicians, artists, professional athletes and scientists to list here.

The Boy Scouts have recently become an inadvertent and unwilling battlefield in the American culture wars and political battles. Because of this, the "On My Honor" project is expected (like Gibson's "Passion") to cause a firestorm of controversy. But Molen and Starling apparently feel the time has come to complete DeMille's final film, and to hopefully enjoy the same measure of success as both the Gibson movie and DeMille's other successful motion pictures.

They believe that because of the potential controversy, funding for the film will have to come from outside the Hollywood studio system. They are seeking investors for the anticipated $50-70M budget movie who will join them in standing up for Scouting and its ideals and principles.

STARLING'S "THEY ALL DISCOVERED AMERICA" - LDS film and documentary producer Robert Starling has been developing a very interesting project for many years, and anybody wishing to participate financially in the project may wish to contact him.:

"They All Discovered America" is a TV documentary miniseries of six 1-hour episodes, about fascinating but little-known evidences of many voyages to America before Columbus by peoples from diverse lands and cultures between 3500 B.C and 1472 A.D. including at least one voyage by Jewish refugees to the Promised Land in 132 A.D. that is NOT mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

Starling is currently seeking funding for the project, which has been 30 years in the making.

ROBERT STARLING: CAPSULE BIOGRAPHY - Latter-day Saint. Born 31 January 1946, Columbus, Georgia. Writer/producer/director of some video and DVD projects for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Writer/producer/director of the Church DVD "An Introduction to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (2002), which features numerous video vignettes providing basic introductory information about the Church with audio tracks in 8 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Russian, Japanese and Chinese. Topics the DVD covers include: humanitarian service, the role of the family, arts and culture, church education, temples, etc. The DVD is also known as the Bridge Building Presentation.

Writer/producer/director of "Celebrate America," a TV special of featuring the Latter-day Saint 1985 Rose Bowl Dance Festival, which aired in prime time on Channel 9 in Los Angeles in 1985. Writer/producer/director of "Monument to Faith," a Church documentary abut the Vernal, Utah Tabernacle and its rebirth as a temple. Writer/producer/director of "Hurricane Mitch" (1998), a documentary about the Church's response to one of the worst natural disasters in the the modern history of Central America.

Starling has worked on many film projects aside from those done for the institutional Church. Many of these projects relate to Latter-day Saint culture and belief, but others have been general Christian subjects or films for a general family audience. Starling was the consulting producer for the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Jack Weyland's Charly" (2002). Worked on "Baker's Hawk." Second unit director on the feature Charles Sellier's documentary "In Search of Historic Jesus" (1980). Also wrote the original treatment and the first draft of the screenplay for "In Search of Historic Jesus," although he received no screen credit as a writer. Worked on many Church film projects. In 1977 he co-founded ALMA, the Associated Latter-day Media Artists. Developing a feature film biopic of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts movement - a film project originally started by Cecil B. DeMille. In January 2004 Starling gave a presentation at the 3rd LDS Film Festival, which was described thus: "Robert was the producer of the first BYU student film 'Ice Cream and Elevators,' filmed in the early 1970s. He will showcase the film, which plays on a 'nostalgic' BYU campus and talks about his experience as a producer for the Church." Starling is currently developing a TV documentary miniseries project titled "They All Discovered America": six 1-hour episodes about fascinating but little-known evidences of many voyages to America before Columbus by peoples from diverse lands and cultures between 3500 B.C and 1472 A.D. including at least one voyage by Jewish refugees to the Promised Land in 132 A.D. that is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Starling is currently seeking additional funding for the project, which has been 30 years in the making.

HEATHER TOONE UPDATE (LDS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR) - Among women LDS assistant directors, perhaps nobody is more accomplished and experienced than Sister Heather Toone.,+Heather

Heather Toone, assistant director:
- Love Surreal (2004?)
- A Pioneer Miracle (2003; sv)
- First Vision (2003)
- Dead Ringer
- "The Modern Prophets" video series
- The City Of Joseph

Heather Toone, second assistant director
- The Work and the Glory: Pillar of Light (2004?)
- Down and Derby (2004?)
- Saints and Soldiers (2004)
- The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1 (2003)
- The R.M. (2003)
- The Call of Story (2002; PBS)
- A Kid Called Danger (1999; 2nd 2nd AD)

Set P.A.:
- Texas: The Big Picture (2003; IMAX; Set PA)
- The Testaments (2000; Set PA)

Lives in Provo, Utah. Assistant director for the feature romantic comedy "Love Surreal" (2004), which was made by a primarily LDS crew, including director Ryan Little. Assistant director of a number the Church-produced film "First Vision" (2003), and other films, including "Dead Ringer", the "Modern Prophets" videos, and "The City Of Joseph." Assistant director for the Latter-day Saint-themed video "A Pioneer Miracle" (2003), directed by T.C. Christensen. Second assistant director for the Latter-day Saint-themed feature films "The R.M." (2003), "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey" (2003), "Saints and Soldiers" (2004) and "The Work and the Glory: Pillar of Light" (2004). Second assistant director for the feature film "Down and Derby" (2004), directed by Eric Hendershot. 2nd Assistant Director of the PBS documentary "The Call of Story" (2002). 2nd 2nd Assistant Director of the direct-to-video film "A Kid Called Danger" (1999), directed by Hendershot. Set P.A. on the Church-produced 70mm film "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" (2000) and the IMAX film "Texas: The Big Picture" (2003).


LAURA DERN ("JURASSIC PARK", "WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANY MORE"): UTAH (BUT NOT LDS) FAMILY HERITAGE - Laura Dern, star of "Jurassic Park" (produced by Bro. Jerry Molen of "The Other Side of Heaven", "The Legend of Johnny Lingo" fame) and the new movie "We Don't Live Here Anymore" is not a Latter-day Saint, nor was her great-grandfather (the governor of Utah), she is quick to point out:

Not Dern. "She has a remarkable, facile emotional instrument," Ruffalo says. "It would be a shame if she didn't use it however it felt necessary. The thing is, she's nothing like the character in the film. She's one of the wacky, wild, way-out-there people. The character is not her." Who is Laura Dern? To judge by her genealogy, a mix of the historical and the bohemian. Her great-grandfather, for instance, was governor of Utah. "The first non-Mormon governor," she clarifies. "He was an amazing man. George Dern, who was secretary of war under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, governor of Utah, and his father was a big attorney in Chicago who partnered with Adlai Stevenson, who's my dad's godfather." Her dad, on the other hand, is a provocateur, she says. "All he wants to do is have a banter, to drive you crazy," she says. "He'll even make up stories. You can say something good about Michael Moore and he'll be, like, 'Oh, you like Michael Moore? But what about that story that just broke about him last night...' and while you're saying, 'Someone's personal life has got nothing to do with politics...' it turns out my father's made up something totally bogus."

Excerpted from Newsday interview:,0,5852444.story?coll=ny-movies-bigpix

MAKAYLA AND MCKENZIE CHRISTIANSEN: LDS TWINS MAY FIT YOUR NEED FOR YOUNG EXTRAS, PERFORMERS - MaKayla and MCkenzie Christiansen are young Latter-day Saint twins who have been described as "awesome in film. photographers love them! They will do whatever you ask. They are dramatic and darling!!"

They are very interested in working with LDS directors and being in LDS films.

If you need extras in film or child young performers, contact Danielle Christiansen 801-374-3291

You can see their photos at:

NEW U.K. INTERVIEW: ROBERT REDFORD: IN AN LDS MOVIE, MARRIED TO AN LDS GIRL - [Robert Redford] took all the iconography of the genre - running horses, an almost religious feeling for landscape, a sense of the astonishing speed with which things change (50m buffalo eliminated in just 20 years), the pioneer stubbornness of characters battling on against hopeless odds (the real Butch Cassidy was in fact a Mormon boy) - and he gave it a spin. He invented the buddy movie.

When [Redford] returned to the States in 1956, he didn't go back to California but instead became an acting student at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He married, a Mormon girl, and in 1961 he bought a two-acre plot of land for $500 near her home town in Provo, Utah. "I was just starting a family, I was working in the theatre in New York. I came from the west and I wanted my family to have an option, to have their summers in the open, in the west. I'd looked to the future and I could see what was happening. The west was open for its final chapters, its manifest destiny. Everything was going to be taken. Arizona had already gone, even then." But Utah was Mormon, people weren't coming there. "It was kind of secret, off the map, and that's why I chose it. It was remote enough from civilisation to feel you were part of nature, part of the way it was. Part of that pioneering spirit that established this state."

No new info about Redford's marriage to Sister Lola Van Wagenen, but it's interesting that it is noted in this all new interview with the U.K.'s Guardian.,6737,1281879,00.html

LDS CINEMA STAR LISA HIGBEE ("THE SINGLES WARD") LIVE ON STAGE! - Come see "Into the Woods," a musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine

August 17-21 8pm
Murray Amphitheater, Murray Park
$6 adults, $5 children
General admission, call 264-2614 or come early

This musical will be fabulous. It's a re-telling of several favorite fairy tales, including Cinderella (played by Lisa Higbee of 'The Singles Ward,' and Lynn Chatterton plays her father), Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Ridinghood.

Also, watch for us on 2News and Good Things Utah Monday morning.

See you there!




LDS CHEF'S TV PILOT IN POST-PRODUCTION. CHECK OUT TRAILER! - Check out the trailer. Go here: Then click on picture of the chef.

Michael F. Bavota
Latter-day Saint. Born in Baltimore, Maryland. Lives with his wife in San Antonio, Florida (near Tampa). Also credited as: Michael Bavota; Chef Bavota. Biography he provided:

Michael F. Bavota / Chef Bavota is a freelance writer living in Tampa, Florida. He began his writing career in 1979 with various children's stories, newspaper feature articles and publications in trade magazines. In 1983 he won honorable mention in the Writer's Digest Annual Fiction Contest, placing 23rd out of more 6,500 entries.

Michael's knowledge of seafood and experiences with the United States Department of Commerce-National Marine Fisheries Services has lead him to be published by national business trade magazines, including Seafood Business, Supermarket Business, The American Seafood Institute Report and The Shelby Report.

His first book, Seafood Lover's Bible, a 200-recipe seafood cookbook, was published in April 1999 by Clear Light Publishers and is a publisher's best seller. Michael has recently completed his first fiction novel entitled, Spirit of the Everglades, a story about the Florida panthers. This book was released August 2004.

Michael F. Bavota is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature, Writer's Digest School, The Advanced Writer's Workshop, and The Elements of Effective Writing. He attended Morgan State University and currently has more than 200 columns and articles in print. Michael was born in Baltimore, Maryland.

Chef Bavota is an entertainment / educational chef and has performed at numerous supermarket grand openings. He was the featured show on Cruise West's Alaskan Cruise in 2002 and 2003. His new show, The Chef Bavota International Cooking Show, being produced by EscapeTV is currently in post-production.

DOES THE FILM NOIR CLASSIC "THE BIG CLOCK" (1948) QUALIFY AS LDS CINEMA? - I'm not sure that "The Big Clock," starring Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, qualifies as LDS Cinema. But it is a truly entertaining, interesting film, a great suspense movie that the entire family can enjoy. If you have a chance, check it out.

The signifcance of Utah in the film noir classic

The Big Clock

The Big Clock (1948) is a classic suspence film, often classified as film noir. The movie was one of 400 films on the nominee list for the American Film Institute's "100 Years 100 Thrills" list of the greatest thrillers in American film history. The AFI program was televised in June of 2001. The Big Clock was directed by John Farrow from a screenplay written by Jonathan Latimer, based on the same-titled novel by Kenneth Fearing. The novel and film were the basis for a 1987 remake directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman and Sean Young. The 1948 version is significantly more similar to the novel.

Ray Milland plays George Stroud, an ace reporter for a New York City crime magazine who decides to take some scheduled vacation time to go on a long-postponed honeymoon, rather than follow his boss's orders to go to Utah to work on an important story. Stroud's decision to not go to Utah is the key turning point that hurtles Stroud into a series of events which ultimately has Stroud investigating a murder, a murder for which he soon becomes the prime suspect. The film becomes a taut cat-and-mouse tale of suspence and intrigue, as Stroud attempts to elude police and his own employer, while at the same time trying to find evidence pointing to who really committed the murder.

Stroud never is able to leave on his honeymoon trip during the course of the movie. Had he simply gone to Utah, Stroud never would have become the suspect in a murder. Arguably, the movie may have been less interesting.

One is reminded of X-Files: Fight the Future, in which FBI special agent Dana Scully ends up in all kinds of trouble that she would have avoided by quickly moving to Utah where the FBI was re-assigning her, rather than going off on an unauthorized investigation with Fox Mulder. Had she simply gone to Utah perhaps the film's plot would have been more like Jack Weyland's Charly and less like Close Encounters of the Third Kind meets North by Northwest. Ah, the road not taken...

Interestingly enough, The Big Clock director John Farrow won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), which as directed by Michael Anderson. Farrow's screenplay was based on the classic Jules Verne novel in which characters not only talk about Utah, they actually go there, after spending an entire chapter talking to a Latter-day Saint missionary about Church history and doctrine. Around the World in Eighty Days is the best-known film that Farrow worked on, but The Big Clock is probably Farrow's best and most-remembered film as a director.

George Stroud, played by actor Ray Milland, is the protagonist and lead character of "The Big Clock." Milland received the Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award for "The Lost Weekend" (1945). He also received Golden Globe, Cannes Film Festival and other awards for that role.

The film opens by showing Stroud in a darkened office building, trying to elude men clad in business suits who are attempting to find him. Then the scene flashes back to the beginning of the events that led to this harrowing predicament: Stroud's decision to take a scheduled vacation trip with his family rather than go to Utah in pursuit of a story, as his boss wants him to do. Had he only gone to Utah, all of troubles and tragedies he encounters in the film would have been avoided.

The following dialogue begins a few minutes into the second scene, as George Stroud exits the building's elevator onto the floor occupied by the offices for Crimeways magazine, where he is the managing editor:

Grace/Woman at desk: Hold it. Mr. Stroud, Salt Lake's on the line, and your wife's trying to reach you.

[The woman, later identified as "Grace," is apparently the receptionist for the Crimeways magazine. Grace is played by actress Frances Morris, who appeared in over 150 films, including "Again... Pioneers" (1950).]

Stroud: Put Salt Lake on.

Grace/Woman at desk: But they're on.

Stroud: All right, fine.

[Stroud has walked through the front lobby of the Crimeways magazine offices, and continues walking into his own office, followed by a man who works there.]

Man in office: The confrence. It's almost 11:00.

Stroud: Plenty of time.

Man in office: But Mr. Janoth--

Stroud: [picking up phone] Hello. Yeah?... Yeah, this is Stroud... Oh, hello, Max. How are you makin' out?

Man in office: George--

[The Man, apparently a secretary or assistant to Stroud, is trying to urge Stroud to go to a scheduled meeting with all of the managing editors for Janoth's publishing company.]

Stroud: [still on the phone, ignoring the Man] Ya have? Oh, wonderful! Where was he? What did I tell ya? Once a seashell man, always a seashell man.

[Stroud here is talking on the phone with one of his reporters, currently in Salt Lake City, Utah. The reporter has located a fugitive that the Crimeways magazine has been running stories on. The fugitive is now in Utah. The fugitive has apparently gone to Utah to obtain rare seashells.]

Man in office: They're waiting.

Stroud: Will he talk?... Well, pretend you're a fellow collector or something. Ask him if he was gonna spend the dough on oysters or blondes. Ha ha!... Yeah... Look, you've got an hour and 53 minutes to get the story... Attaboy, Max.

[Stroud hangs up the phone, and grabs his assistant (Man in office) by the shoulders, exclaiming to him excitedly.]

Stroud: We've just located Fleming.

Man in office: They're waiting for you.

[Stroud looks out his office door, addressing the receptionist:]

Stroud: Grace, call the composing room. Tell 'em to hold everything. We're gonna replate.

Grace/woman at desk: Yes, Mr. S--

Stroud: And get my wife.

Grace/woman at desk: Yes, Mr. Stroud.

Man in office: George, you're the only one not there. Mr. Janoth will be furious. Time is money.

[Earl Janoth, the owner of the Janoth media company, is Stroud's boss, and the principle antagonist of the film. Janoth is played by Charles Laughton. Laughton received the Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award for "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933), and was later nominated the same award for "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) and "Witness for the Prosecution" (1957).]

Mr. Stroud: Fleming is in Salt Lake. Milner's gonna wire us a story. Here's the background and proofs of the story you already had set up.

[Phone buzzes. Stroud picks it up.]

Stroud: [To Man in office] Go on, Roy. Go on.

Mr. Stroud: [on phone] Hello?... Oh, hello, darling... Yeah... Huh?... No bath and no oatmeal? Let me talk to him.

[Cut to inside of the Stroud family's New York City apartment. A maid is helping Stroud's son pack. Mr. Stroud's wife Georgette Stroud is one the phone with him. Georgette is played by actress Maureen O'Sullivan, who appeared in more than 70 films before passing away in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1998.]

Mrs. Stroud: All right, but he doesn't believe he's going. He thinks it's just like the last trip and the time before... and all the other trips we didn't go on... I'll let you talk to him. George, Daddy wants to talk to you.

George Stroud, Jr.: Hello, Daddy. But I don't believe we're going.

Mr. Stroud: But this is the McCoy, an expedition. Your mother's gonna do the cooking. What? Yeah, I know it's tough but you'll do the hunting. That's why you should eat your oatmeal, build up your strength. Ya better believe me. Look under my pillow.

[Little George Stroud, Jr., a boy about 6 years old, retrieves toy gun from under his father's pillow.]

George Stroud, Jr.: Oh, boy! Look, Mommy! An atomic disintegrator!

[Sound of gun clicking and popping.]

Mrs. Stroud: I think you've sold him, Wonderman. I'll let you know at lunch.

Mr. Stroud: A little child psychology, dear. All right, dear, 12:30 at the Van Barth, huh? Bye, darling.

[The film the cuts to a board room inside the Janoth building, where a meeting is being held about increasing circulation. An executive announces the purpose of the meeting, after which Earl Janoth (played by Charles Laughton) enters. He is a formidable presence. The meeting proceeds for a few minutes, until Mr. Stroud enters, late. An assistant editor is answering Mr. Janoth's question about how he intends to increase circulation for Crimeways, when Mr. Janoth and later Stroud interrupts:]

Assistant editor: Well, uh, I have one suggestion that might be of value: a new feature to be called "Solution of the Week." The most important part... or the most unique solution, highlighting the fac that crime does not pay. It's educational...

Janoth: Primigenous, stale, a hash-up of last week's news -- exactly what we don't want.

[Stroud is sitting next to the assistant editor, who is currently standing explaining his idea. Stroud quietly speaks to the assistant editor:]

Stroud: Fleming.

[Mr. Janoth overhears Stroud's aside.]

Janoth: What was that, uh, Stroud?

Stroud: I was reminding him of Fliming.

Janoth: The absconder?

Stroud: Yes. His story will sell a hundred thousand extra copies next week.

Janoth: If you mean his personal story, I'd agree... but haven't you overlooked the necessity of finding him first?

Stroud: We have.

Janoth: Have what?

Stroud: Found him.

Stroud: We have him in Salt Lake. We're replating one and two. It's too late to touch the cover now, but we'll do what we did with the Eiseman [spelling?] story. Run a three inch paper band around every copy with "Fleming Found" in block letters.

Janoth: Make them red. Steve, advertise this in the morning papers. Use the 25 key cities. Young man, you've stumbled on something -- perhaps not exactly what I've been looking for, but nonetheless valuable. You've struck 12:00.

Stroud: Thank you.

[End of scene.]

The next scene shows Stroud in the office of the company executive who had spoken at the circulation meeting. They discuss the importance of the Fleming story, and how the company needs Stroud to follow up on the story personally. Stroud protests, explaining that he is leaving that evening on a honeymoon trip with his wife and 5-year-old son. The executive asks how he can go on a honeymoon with a 5-year-old boy. Stroud explains that when he was living in West Virginia he tried going on his first honeymoon. It was just after he had written a major news story. The story brought him to the attention of Janoth, who called him, insisting that he come to New York to work for Crimeways immediately.

The conversation between Stroud and the executive is a generally amicable one, and the two men seem at ease with each other. But ultimately Stroud does not commit to doing what the executive asks of him (which is what Janoth wants Stroud to do). The executive explains that if he doesn't go to Utah to follow up on the story personally, he will be fired from his job. Stroud says he will not change his vacation plans, no matter what, and if that means losing his job, so be it. This scene does not mention Utah or Salt Lake City by name, although the men do mention Fleming by name.





Stars are baring more than their souls on the big screen lately


HOLLYWOOD -- Middle-aged movie stars are fearlessly fleshing out their resumes like never before. Drop into Los Angeles and the Hollywood hills are alive with the sound of sucked-in guts and flabby butt cheeks flapping. The most recent examples? In The Door in the Floor, Kim Basinger goes topless, Jeff Bridges bares all and Mimi Rogers shocks with a full-frontal scene.

But they're just a few of the disarming number of heretofore respected, 40-plus actors who have doffed their duds like nudity was going out of style -- and maybe it should if it means filmgoers are spared William H. Macy's near full Monty in The Cooler.

Is all this just a fleshy fluke? Doesn't seem so. In the past two years, audiences have seen 66-year-old Jack Nicholson's dimpled derriere in Something's Gotta Give, Danny DeVito's 59-year-old backside in Tim Burton's fable Big Fish and -- who could forget, even if you tried with months of psychotherapy -- Kathy Bates' skinny dip in About Schmidt.

Baring all "for your art" is nothing new in La-La Land, of course.

But what is new -- and probably unwelcome by most moviegoers who want to escape reality, not have its wrinkled hide pressed up against their retinas -- is that it's no longer the domain of buff heartthrobs and sleek, curvaceous glamour girls. Sure, there has always been the "controversial" fare of directors looking to lick, stamp and push the envelope of on-screen acceptability -- Harvey Kietel's knickerless turns in Bad Lieutenant and The Piano come to mind, or even David Cronenberg's love letter to malformed body members in the kooky, kinky Crash -- but that doesn't explain the likes of Something's Gotta Give (in which Diane Keaton donned her birthday suit), Calender Girls (with Helen Mirren leading a cast of middle-aged matrons) and Swimming Pool (with Charlotte Rampling revealing all).

In an interview with TV's pop-junk news rag Entertainment Tonight, Rogers, 48, admits she was wracked with nerves prior to her full-frontal scene -- until her director calmed her down. "He wanted to shoot it quite beautifully and he had a very interesting, well-known photograph that was his inspiration," she says. "That made me feel much more comfortable and confident about doing it."

Basinger's topless sex scenes in The Door in the Floor are nothing new for the 50-year-old actress, who starred nearly 20 years ago in 9 1/2 Weeks.

"I've done love scenes before and they're horrible! They're choreographed and just a mess. I've tried to make sure to not get involved with anything gratuitous."

Is it a shocking show of sagging solidarity?

A salute to wrinkles and rolls instead of the usual six-pack abs?

Not quite. Even Macy, in an interview with People magazine, seemed baffled that anyone would want to see his less-than-buff bod.

"Why didn't they ask me when I was 25?" asks the 53-year-old Fargo actor. "I tried to squeeze six months of exercise into six days and tore my shoulder."

Macy can probably credit -- or blame -- the success of The Full Monty and the always-potent consumer power of the aging baby boomer generation.

Both Something's Gotta Give and Calender Girls undoubtedly appealed to affluent older women who feel neglected in our Britney Spears-worshipping world.

But it's not mere commercialism driving the explosion of bare bodies on the big screen. There's also the charge a raunchy film can give a career. Take Macy's Cooler co-star -- and sex-scene participant -- Maria Bello.

At the ripe old age of 37, she was nearing what Hollywood typically considers senior citizenship eligibility. (Of course next to Macy she's a spring chicken.) But after The Cooler -- which was a fine film in which she gave a strong performance -- she found her career rejuvenated. She's been working nonstop ever since, last starring opposite Johnny Depp in Secret Window. For Bello -- and others -- explicitly exposing herself wasn't career suicide, but career rehab.

Halle Berry struggled for years to gain either critical kudos or box-office clout. Yet Berry, who had always refused to be nude in her films, didn't garner either until her pantyless performance (at the age of 37) in Monster's Ball, the movie for which she won the best actress Oscar.

Just a year earlier, Berry bared her breasts in the thriller Swordfish -- for which she received a $500,000 US bonus. In other words, $250,000 per nipple.

For some, it's less about the cash than it is about their character. If it was appropriate for the film, Princess Diaries star Anne Hathaway tells The Sun, "I have no problem with nudity in films and I have no problem with doing nudity in film." She adds, "It's not like I'd walk down the street stripping, though."

Berry and Bello aside, not all nude behaviour results in creative credibility.

Sharon Stone was game to show her gams -- and much more -- in Basic Instinct. But while the gambit paid off -- it made Stone an international star -- she was long considered a pariah in the Hollywood community until her role in Casino.

Most recently, Colin Farrell raised a ruckus when his member in A Home at the End of the World was lopped off and left on the editing-room floor -- initially, said rumours, because its size distracted the audience. Whether that's true or not, what's irrefutable is that without the controversy over Farrell's full frontal foray, the film would have been quickly forgotten.

"If Colin Farrell does it, it's cool, but I don't know if it's cool for me," shrugs Aaron Eckhart in a interview with Sun Media.

"I'm not big on nudity. I just saw The Door in the Floor, which I really liked, and Jeff bared it all in that ... I just don't know how much nudity does for the story, any story.

"I think it's more gratuitous, it's more manipulative and it takes us out of what's really going on."

Eckhart isn't alone. Hathaway's Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal turned down the lead in The Dreamers because of the amount of nudity it required.

It's a sentiment echoed by Matrix maven Carrie-Anne Moss, who co-stars with Eckhart in this month's Suspect Zero.

"It's just not in my nature. I won't do nudity and I never felt comfortable with ... huge sexual content. It's not my thing. I respect it when it's done right, but it's not going to be me. Now that I've had a kid, even more so I feel that way and thank God I felt that way before because ... I don't want that out there."




SPORTS, MUSIC, FILM, TV STAR BRO. THURL BAILEY ON STAGE W/JEWISH LDS PIANO SUPERSTAR GOLDSTEIN AND A REPRESENTATIVE OF EVIL - Interesting parallel this article draws between Israelis/Palestinian relations and LDS/Southern Baptist relations.


FAMILY FILMS, "FIRST VAMPIRE" PREMIERE AT U. OF U. EVENT - "First Vampire," a low-budget feature length film made by Latter-day Saint and some non-LDS film students is mentioned as having a premiere in this article. The article mostly focuses on an event at the University of Utah in which old family films will be shown.




REALITY TV: AMISH, NOT MORMON - Joining them were a cross-section of other young Americans, who had no idea who would be sharing their house in the LA hills until the doorbell rang. The first encounter did not go well. Before opening the door to welcome their guests, the non-Amish participants peered through the glass and shrieked in disbelief at the group's straw hats, bonnets and traditional clothing.

As one was heard muttering about "freaking aliens", another believed that they were Mormon neighbours on a mission to convert them.

[They're Amish, not Mormon, you moron...

Apparently this show is continuing evidence that most California teens are wrapped in an almost inpenetratable blanket of myopia, with no more knowledge about reality outside their SoCal-and-pop-culture enclave than a goldfish in a tank.

We'll leave for another time the ethical questions surrounding the whole idea of making a reality TV show based on pulling young people out of a harmless ethnic minority, letting them live it up in the mainstream world, and encouraging them to leave their religious/ethnic background in favor of "the world."]

Excerpt from:


Aaron Orullian
Latter-day Saint. Born 18 April 1971, Sacramento, California. Graduate of film school at Brigham Young University. Writer/director of student films "Esperanza" (1997) and "The Appleby Sensation" (1997). According to IMDb, he is the director of a film that the award for Best Narrative film at the Orange County Fair Film Festival in 1993. Wrote the feature-length screenplay Mt. Pleasant, which received Honorable Mention in the 2002 LDS Film Festival, making it one of the top 6 screenplays out of 25 entries accepted for competition. Mt. Pleasant was also accepted as a finalist at the 2003 Thunderbird International Film Festival. The story is described thus: "In early 80's central Utah, a Mormon garbage man finds himself on the trail of a killer while trying to make ends meet for his large family." Boom operator for the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Pride and Prejudice: A Utah Comedy" (2003).