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[UPDATE: Caviezel Out, David Boreanaz In] Jim Caviezel to Star in CBS Navy SEAL Pilot

Jim-Caviezel-Family-Theater-Rosary-Bowl-FFBBeloved by viewers for both his performance as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2044 blockbuster, “The Passion of the Christ,” and as the star of the long-running CBS series “Person of Interest” — which ended after five seasons last spring — Jim Caviezel may be returning to CBS this fall.

From Deadline.com:

Once a CBS drama star, always a CBS drama star. Jim Caviezel, who headlined the network’s long-running procedural Person of Interest, has been tapped to lead the cast of its untitled Navy SEAL drama pilot from former Justified executive producers Ben Cavell, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly and Shameless executive producer Chris Chulack.

Written by Cavell and directed by Chulack, the project follows the lives of the elite Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high-stakes missions our country can ask. Caviezel will play Jason, the respected, committed leader of his assault team who’s been through more than a dozen deployments.

Cavell, Timberman, Beverly and Chulack executive produce for CBS TV Studios.

In the Navy SEAL pilot, Caviezel joins another actor from a long-running CBS procedural: former CSI: NY co-star A.J. Buckley. Also previously cast in the project are Max Thieriot, Neil Brown Jr. and Toni Trucks.

Caviezel next stars in The Ballad of Lefty Brown, which just premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival. He is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Frank Stewart.

Along with being a film and TV star, Caviezel is also a longtime friend of Family Theater Productions, having met our founder, Father Patrick Peyton, by chance, in 1991. The aging priest agreed to the young actor’s impromptus request for confession and gave him sage advice.

Click here to watch the moving video — a screenshot is below — in which he describes the life-changing encounter.

Jim-Caviezel-Screenshot

UPDATE on 3/22: As reported by Deadline.com:David_Boreanaz_by_Gage_Skidmore

As Bones is heading into its series finale next week, star David Boreanaz has been tapped as the lead of CBS’ Navy SEAL drama pilot. Boreanaz replaces Jim Caviezel, who was cast in the role last week. Cavizel, who has a long history with CBS as the star of the long-running crime drama series Person of Interest, has parted ways with the network and the Navy SEAL pilot’s producer CBS TV Studios over creative differences.

Incidentally, Boreanaz was raised Catholic, and his character on “Bones,” FBI Agent Seeley Booth, was also a Catholic.

Here’s to hoping Caviezel pops up somewhere else …

Image: Family Theater Productions/Wikimedia Commons: Gage Skidmore

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook.

 

 

Father Patrick Peyton: New Profile of Family Theater’s Own ‘Rosary Priest’

Patrick-Peyton-John-Paul-II-Mother-Teresa-Bing-Crosby-FFBSeventy years ago this past February 13, Family Theater Productions went on the air on the Mutual Broadcasting System with a radio drama called “Flight From Home,” starring Loretta Young and Don Ameche, with host Jimmy Stewart. Here’s a post we put up to mark the birthday on our Facebook page:

Family-Theater-70th-Birthday

The driving force behind it all was Irish-born Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., a Holy Cross priest with deep devotions to Our Lady and to the rosary — and blessed with the Irish gift of persuasion. Using all three, he founded Family Theater Productions, appeared at huge rosary rallies around the world and became one of the Church’s earliest modern-media evangelists.

He also popularized the famous phrases, “The family that prays together stays together,” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

Visit FatherPeyton.org, which pays tribute to his life.

Today, Catholic Web site Aleteia pays tribute to Father Peyton with a lovely profile that also includes information on his sainthood cause. Here’s a taste (click here for the whole thing):

Without having any background or influence in mass media, Father Peyton went to New York and convinced a woman from the Mutual Broadcasting System that the nation needed a Catholic radio program. The non-Christian woman decided to give Father Peyton a chance on one condition: he needed to enlist the help of Hollywood stars.

Father Peyton nervously called Bing Crosby and somehow, with the help of Our Lady, was able to win him over for the cause. The radio show hit airwaves on May 13, 1945 and featured “Archbishop Spellman of New York, President Harry Truman, Bing Crosby and the parents and sister of the Sullivan family of Iowa leading the Rosary… Father Peyton finished the program with an impassioned plea for families to pray the Rosary together for peace.”

The success of the first show was overwhelming and listeners were asking for more.

Father Peyton then went on a crusade to make his show a regular program, and established Family Theater Productions in 1947 with Hollywood stars eager to support him in his work. His various productions would go on to feature stars such as “Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck, Rosalind Russell, Jimmy Stewart, Helen Hayes, Ronald Reagan, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Robert Young, Raymond Burr, Lucille Ball, Bob Newhart, Jack Benny, Loretta Young and Frank Sinatra.”

To learn more and sample Father Peyton’s productions — and what Family Theater is still producing — visit us on YouTube and UStream.

For a glimpse into the future, get a sample of our upcoming Web series Catholic Central at www.catholiccentral.com.

And, of course, follow us here on our blog, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Image: Family Theater Productions

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett to Produce ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ Movie

Our-Lady-GuadalupeThere have been movies and TV specials about Our Lady of Guadalupe before, as we outlined here in December — but none of them was a big Hollywood feature. Now, that’s about to change.

As reported by Deadline.com, veteran screenwriter Joe Eszterhas  (“Basic Instinct,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Flashdance”), a Hungarian-born Catholic, has penned a new script about Juan Diego’s vision of the Madonna in 1571 Mexico, and taken it to LightWorkers Media, run by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. Through Lightworkers, the movie will go to MGM, where Burnett is also president of television and digital media.

Here’s some of what Deadline had to say (the article also tells the whole story of Juan Diego, which is a bit of surprise for a secular entertainment-news outlet):

Eszterhas had been working on the script long before the faith-based push became popular at Hollywood studios.

The thought about writing a screenplay about Our Lady of Guadalupe came to him 14 years ago during what he calls his life-changing “Christian conversion.” The screenwriter would later write a book entitled Crossbearer to share his story about that moment sitting on the curb in his cul-de-sac in 2001 at his wits end after battling cancer and addiction. A man who was once the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood with a wild lifestyle was now feeling defeated, and found himself begging God for help. That’s when something other-worldly happened.

When he regained his health, Eszterhas traveled to Mexico City to do research and to pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe to help him become a messenger for God. The end result is the spec script that Lightworkers just picked up.

Eszterhas told Deadline that his wife, Naomi, inspired to write the script about the Blessed Mother as she herself, felt a closeness to her. Downey herself played the Blessed Virgin Mary in both Son of God and the TV mini-series The Bible.

As soon as we get an idea of casting or a release date, we’ll let you know.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook.

 

What’s Your Story? Catholic Media Pros Share Personal Journeys (and What’s Next!)

Joseph-Nesta-Immaculate-Heart-Radio-Nancy-Usselmann-Daughters-Saint-Paul-Patrick-CoffinFrom the beginning of the time, one thing holds true — everyone’s got a story.

For Catholics, some of us are cradle Catholics, others are converts, and others are reverts (baptized Catholics who left the Faith but came back). These stories have been the backbone of EWTN’s “The Journey Home” for many years.

In our “Faith and Media” series, we’ve been talking to Catholic media figures about media evangelization, the importance of family prayer and so on. But we also asked them about their own faith journeys.

Or in the case of  podcaster, author, speaker and radio host Patrick Coffin, how he wound up at the 2016 Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, where we recorded this first round of interviews.

Two other subjects more directly address their personal story of faith.

Sister Nancy Usselmann,  national director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies talks about what brought her — a pop-music and movie fan — into the Daughters of Saint Paul, which lets her talk about Christ through media, as a “cultural mystic.”

Joseph Nesta, the senior community relations officer for Immaculate Heart Radio speaks from the heart about how Catholic media brought him into greater knowledge and practice of the Faith.

We just finished a new round of “Faith in Media” interviews, so keep your eye out for future installments with “Catholic Answers Live” host Cy Kellett, blogger and former CBS News journalist Deacon Greg Kandra, moral theologian Pia de Solenni of the Augustine Institute, “Papal Ninja” Sean Bryan of “American Ninja Warrior,” and Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange.

Image: Courtesy Family Theater Productions/Sister Nancy Usselmann/Patrick Coffin

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook.

‘The Shack': FTP’s Father David Guffey Talks About the Controversial New Movie

The-Shack-Sam-Worthington-Octavia-SpencerComing out this weekend, “The Shack,” based on best-selling book by William Paul Young, explores what happens when a grieving father (Sam Worthington) has an encounter with all three Persons of the Trinity, played by different actors — including “Hidden Figures” star Octavia Spencer as God the Father, or “Papa.”

Personifying the Trinity, and other aspects of the book’s theology, have caused some concerns.

Secular outlet The Hollywood Reporter had this to say:

With its sparkly spin on the New Testament, the film will be too New Agey for those who hew closely to doctrine (some conservative Christians have criticized the novel as a work of misguided heresy). But beyond theological debates, the feature is a leaden, belabored affair. However universal the perennial questions and struggles that The Shack illuminates, under Stuart Hazeldine’s plodding direction, its faith-based brand of self-help feels like being trapped in someone else’s spiritual retreat — in real time.

And this, from Catholic deacon and movie critic Steven Greydanus:

Like many popular sensations, from Titanic to Twilight, from Dan Brown to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, The Shack is easy to rip apart if one has a mind to. It’s too didactic for drama, too literal for allegory, too artless for poetry, and too fuzzy for theology. The writing is folksy and florid; when Mack falls in his driveway, he doesn’t just get a bump on his head: The lump emerges “like a humpbacked whale breaching the wild waves of his thinning hair.”

Although an enthusiastic cover blurb from Eugene Peterson compares The Shack to Pilgrim’s Progress, generically and thematically it’s somewhat closer to C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Lewis’ brilliant book, however, focuses on familiar foibles of human nature; Young attempts a portrait of sorts of the divine nature.

The Shack is essentially an imaginative exploration of theodicy, of the problem of evil, experienced not in the abstract, but as an existential crisis of faith. More broadly, it could be called a response to disappointment with God and disillusionment with religion.

David GuffeyAlso concerned, CatholicMom.com founder Lisa Hendey turned to our own Head of Production, Father David Guffey, C.S.C., to get his take. Here’s some of what he had to say:

The film is not a religious teaching on the doctrine of Trinity, any more than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a study of physical appearance of God. Each of these use artistic license to point to great truths of faith. Film is an art form and as art, evokes the imagination to discover mystery of life and the workings of God’s grace within it. I would not use this film to talk about Trinity, but instead as an opening to discuss the many ways that God is close to us and the ways that God actively tries to be part of our lives in the best of times and especially in the hardest of times.

I would encourage you to see this film with someone you can talk about it with afterwards. You will want to. It would be a great family movie night film the weekend of March 3, 2017.

After watching the film, invite family members to talk about the times in their life when they feel closest to God. Is it in nature or in a church or at a family gathering? How do we recognize the hand of God at work I the people around us and the events of our lives? Second, and perhaps more difficult, I would encourage a conversation on how the Phillips family coped with loss and grief.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Image: Courtesy Lionsgate

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook.