You go on to a [film] set, it’s like when you go into a theater, you’re kind of opening yourself up to step into a different world. It was never a problem for me. I never imagined being involved to the degree that Lionsgate, Gil and Lani, and Stuart invited me into because I had no creative control so, it was a really great gift for me to be allowed to be a part of the process. I’ve enjoyed the whole thing.

CCM: So, you had no say in the creative process of the film?
I had no creative rights, no creative control at all. Anything they asked me about, they could take to heart or not.

I think that’s Gil’s heart about any movie that he’s done that’s based on a book (and he’s done lots). He said, “If the author is alive, it would be ludicrous to not have them engaged in the creative process.” It was done in spite of the fact that I had let go of all the creative control and the rights. They invited me to look at the script and to be involved in the conversations about selection of actors. I got to be on the set. I was very involved in terms of dialogue between Netter, Hazeldine, and myself with regard to the editing process and what they were working on. I saw the first cuts, gave them pages of feedback in which they always took into consideration—again, they didn’t have to do any of that. It was a great gift to me and I’m so grateful for that.

The Shack, CCM Magazine - image

cast of “The Shack” film—Lionsgate, Mar. 3, 3017

CCM: What, in particular, did you receive from Gil in terms of his response to his story? Did he just come out to you and say something to the effect of, “I just loved this book personally—it touched us…?”
That’s exactly right. And he would say this too, that Lani, his wife who co-produced it with him, is “a Shack evangelist.” She has always loved the book and she has been the engine behind the whole production because it touched her so deeply. Gil, Stuart and on through to the set designer, for example, Joseph Nemec… From the time he read the book, he wanted to be the set designer. It didn’t look like it was going to come his direction until the person that they initially approached had a conflict and had to turn it down. Then they turned to Nemec. It was a prayer and a dream on his part to be involved, and it shows up. You have this collaboration of different skills—from lighting down to the people that are putting together the floral arrangements and are part of the scenery…all the detail work.

For Lionsgate and the Netter’s to call me up and say, “We would really love you to be on the first day’s shoot and to pray a blessing over the entire cast and crew.” Now, that’s pretty incredible. It was a beautiful moment and a part of the experience. Again, nothing I could have anticipated.


3 Responses

  1. Jo Tell

    I have not read the book, nor will I, and I most certainly will not watch a movie based on this man’s imagination. Hank Hannegraff summed it up perfectly.

  2. JustJim

    We all like to live in a diorama picturing God and our personal spiritual beliefs as we have been taught and what we have chosen to learn through our life’s experiences! This book and movie will challenge an individual to open their minds eye and theoretically examine the possibility of God as portrayed thru the experience portrayed in Mackenzie’s life! I am closer to Our Heavenly Father because of it! Movie is very well cast and portrayed!

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