Nevertheless, the typically reliable Hollywood Reporter tells us that producers are in negotiations with Nicolas Cage regarding his involvement in a reboot of the LEFT BEHIND series.
LEFT BEHIND is a series of faith-based novels about the Tribulation, the 1,000 years of turmoil that will follow the Rapture – an event that has all the faithful whisked up to Heaven while those found lacking toil away on Earth. While governments around the world attempt to pick up the pieces, Romanian politician Nicholas Carpathia (yes, really) becomes the head of the United Nations, promising a false sense of security. But the faithful know that Carpathia is actually the Antichrist come to bring about Hell on Earth and our heroes must spread the word of God in order to combat him.
Over a dozen books in the LEFT BEHIND series have been written by right-wing fundamentalists Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The books became a bit of a sensation. They were made into three films beginning in the year 2000. In those films, teen idol turned evangelist and evolution-denier, Kirk Cameron, played the protagonist, Cameron “Buck” Williams (Again – yes, really).
The books are beloved by millions of people and I could easily get on a soapbox and rant about my feelings regarding them. I won’t do that. What I will do is say that the books are fringe in that they are not just faith-based but address a very specific belief system within the evangelical Christian community, one not shared by the majority.
I will also say that the LEFT BEHIND films are some of the dumbest, most ridiculous films ever to come out of the woodwork. The message has no subtlety whatsoever and the films were often unintentionally hilarious.
That’s why it is so strange to see Nicholas Cage circling the project. Cage has famously had financial issues recently. But honestly? Playing the part previously embodied by Kirk Cameron? I would not have believed this story, calling it an internet hoax. However, many other publications have picked up the story and found new details. Also, word is mum from the Cage camp, just as it would be if he were in negotiations for a film role.
Another surprise is that Vic Armstrong, one of the most respected stunt coordinators in the world, will be directing the feature. Armstrong previously only directed one film prior to this, 1993’s ARMY OF ONE. However, his credits as a stuntman and stunt coordinator read like a who’s who of screen iconography. Armstrong has over a hundred credits in this capacity, including films in the JAMES BOND, CONAN, INDIANA JONES, SUPERMAN, RAMBO and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchises. Most recently, he supervised the stunts on last year’s THOR.
The new film will be budgeted at $15 million, a low figure but far more than the $4 million they spent on LEFT BEHIND back in 2001. Though the message will remain the same, producer Paul Lalonde hopes to set the events of the first film in the hours immediately following the Rapture. It would then follow a disaster movie outline as people try to survive, but with Christian overtones. If all goes well, Lalonde hopes this will be the first in a whole new trilogy of LEFT BEHIND films.
Whether or not Cage is on board, they hope to start shooting in early 2013. God have mercy on our souls.