By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
NASHVILLE, TN (ANS – March 19, 2018) — Becca Adams has an ideal young family. With all their lives ahead of them, Becca’s husband dies in a tragic accident. Now Becca must reconcile why bad things happen to good people and find the strength to resist her demons and rediscover her faith.
The film is based on the award-winning book My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus, inspired by author Rebecca Crownover’s true story. After losing her husband to a tragic ATV accident, Rebecca wrote the book to help other children through their own tragedy of losing a parent. Rebecca drew the title from the real experience of her daughter dreaming of her father and her in heaven, which helped Rebecca regain her faith.
An earthly look at a heavenly story
Recent faith films tell the heaven-and-back story. But what about those left behind when a loved one goes for good? Based on an inspiring true story, My Daddy Is In Heaven, takes audiences on the emotional ride of a young woman’s tragic loss of her husband and her faith . . . and then finding faith again.
My Daddy Is In Heaven is based on Rebecca Crownover’s inspiring true story. She grew up on a farm in Texas, married and was wildly in love when an accident tragically took her husband’s life, tested her faith and ultimately strengthened it.
Today, as the award-winning author of My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus, Rebecca also writes the Texas Farm Girl series, entertaining and inspiring children with lessons from growing up on a farm. Hear Rebecca on love, loss and faith.
From Nasser Group Inc. and Cinedigm, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus features Corbin Bernsen (Major League, God’s Club), Jenn Gotzon Chandler (God’s Country, God’s Not Dead 2, Lorenzo Lamas (What would Jesus Do: The Journey Continues), and T.C. Stallings (War Room, Courageous).
The Nasser brothers — Joseph and Jack Nasser — have produced high-quality films for more than 25 years, including more than a dozen Christian films and more than 90 movies across all genres. They have worked with top actors, writers and directors, including Oscar® winners Sidney Poitier and Faye Dunaway, Peter Strauss and Mary McDonald. Actors such as Seth Rogen, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Danny Glover, Tom Berenger and Donald Sutherland appear in Nasser films as well. The Nassers’ Christian films include What Would Jesus Do? Parts 1, 2 and 3, God’s Club, and A Mile In His Shoes. Secular films include What Goes Up, The Whole Ten Yards and Final Girl. Their film Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story won Best Motion Picture at the Canadian Diversity Awards.
Cinedigm powers custom content solutions to the world’s largest retail, media and technology companies. We provide premium feature films and series to digital platforms including iTunes, Netflix and Amazon; cable and satellite providers including Comcast, Dish Network and DirecTV; and major retailers including Walmart and Target. Leveraging Cinedigm’s unique capabilities, content and technology, the company has emerged as a leader in the fast-growing over-the-top channel business, with four channels under management that reach hundreds of millions of devices while also providing premium content and service expertise to the entire OTT ecosystem.
Peter Wooding, younger son of author, broadcaster and journalist Dan Wooding, provides video for the Global News Alliance and also writes for ASSST News Service (www.assistnews.net ). He recently interviewed actress Jenn Gotzon Chandler about her role as Rebecca in the new movie.
Gotzon said: “My Daddy is in Heaven is based on an award-winning children’s storybook by Rebecca Crownover. What Rebecca did was that she and her husband were so close and they had a little girl named Acie and when her husband died in a tragic accident, Acie was little and Acie didn’t understand where her Dad went. So Rebecca tried to explain to her that ‘your daddy’s in heaven’ and she ended up making a storybook based on that to help tell the story. And then several years later, she decided to make a movie on it with the group directed by Waymon Boone. And My Daddy Is in Heaven comes out on March 13th on DVD or you can get it on Amazon, Wall-Mart all those wonderful places. But it’s really a real life story with real life reactions — struggling with bad choices, real life pain, what happens when tragedy hits, and our faith. Death happens, and you’re so close to God, and then all of a sudden you’re like ‘Lord why did you allow that to happen?’ And that’s what happened with Rebecca, and I play Rebecca in the movie; and she turns her heart, and she runs from God. I can relate to that because I’m a hot mess! I find myself only, when I’m a broken vessel, being able to learn and grow and that’s Rebecca’s journey through the entire movie My Daddy’s in Heaven.”
What was it like acting with Corbin Bernsen? Tell us about his role?
“Corbin Bernsen — he’s an amazing, fantastic, actor: he brings this energy, this passion, and his imagination.. So (when you’re) actors you’re in your imagination when you’re performing these lines that the writer writes. That’s really what acting is — it’s living truthfully under imaginative circumstances. And I was so fascinated by how Corbin enters into that space. We had this one scene where this combat fight between him and I (he plays my daddy in the movie) and I’m rebelling and I’m leaving the home and watching how Corbin got into that the energy — the passion, the anger. Everything that he brought into this role was so electric and raw, because he really wanted to make sure that he was authentic, and very natural to the reactions of pain, and not trying to falsify and put on a Christian face, because we all have Christian faces — at least I do! You know, sometimes, I’m not feeling good — I walk out and I’m like ‘hey,’ but what we really wanted to relate to is the human heart of what goes on behind closed doors in this movie.”
Gotzon said for those who are not dealing with loss, there’s so much humor in the movie “It’s so charming! The little girl who plays Acie — she is pumpkin cuteness — you just want to hug her and like stick her in your pocket! So, from the opening of the movie, you are just filled with like giddiness until the tragedy hits. We don’t stay in that dark space — it’s a part of the story — and then we follow Rebecca as a hot journey to rebellion and she goes to Houston, Texas and finds the bars, finds the party, and finds that space to try to fill the hurt she has. And in that journey she comes back. So there’s just so much humor and good times. It’s a good movie. It’s really a good movie. I love it.”
Gotzon described her big break into filmmaking, which came with the movie Frost/Nixon.
“It was 10 years ago. Ten years, that’s a long time. I remember I was at a cross roads in my journey, doing extra work, and I said ‘Lord, when is it going to be my turn? you’ve put this desire in my heart to tell stories, to play these roles showing human brokenness that has these transformations,’ and I just desired so much. The Lord said ‘I want you to focus on Me, My Kingdom, My Righteousness.’ And I say’ I go to Bible study, I go to church, what are you talkin’ about?’ And the Lord said ‘I want you to fall back in love with Me,’ and so I went through a journey of falling back in love with God: reading the Bible to know who God is.
“And then out of that, out of nowhere, I got a phone call and it was they said ‘We found your photo we think you look like Trisha Nixon.’ I’m like who is this? I didn’t have an agent, nobody sent the photo, I look like every other human in Los Angeles or at least a large population of people! They said ‘we think you look like Trisha can you come in for an interview?’ I was ‘picture-picked’ in a role that launched my career. That was nothing of my doing. It was by God’s Hand, in His timing. God has given each one of us a hope and a purpose — he’s designed us in our mommy’s womb with that. And it’s His will that He wants in our lives — that’s the truth! We just have to get out of the way, and we have to learn to grow through that process. So that is the real story about what launched my career. It was a life transformation internally.”
Wooding asked why is there such a hunger and demand for positive, redemptive, films? We’re seeing a lot more of them in Hollywood now.
“If you look at the news, what do we see? We see shootings, we see heartbreak, we see a very destroyed, broken society. We see anger. So naturally, if you’re feeling all those things, what are you looking for? You’re looking for — in essence — something to fill your heart with joy, with hope, with peace, with life, with goodness, with something better, good at least on the easiest thing to look at it. And so I think that’s the reason why there’s a craving in the human condition –looking for something that can make them feel better. Now they’re going to be people just like I have in my life, you’re going to look to see what’s around you. But God is the only thing that can miraculously fill that — and that’s the truth!”
As a woman in Hollywood what is her reaction to the scandals coming to light now?
“It’s a beautiful question. And it’s an interesting response because I see it two ways. The woman desires to be loved. We learn somewhere in our life that we must be beautiful to be loved. So if the woman is doing things to make themselves appear beautiful and then allowing themselves to be treated (poorly), there is a disconnect. And that’s where the morality and ethics, and strength and confidence needs to come into the woman to realize they are a beautiful masterpiece, created fearfully in the wonderful image of God. They don’t need to do anything to obtain their worth. Now the man — we’re a broken society – and with man, we’re all hot messes. And so if the man sees someone as attractive and they have an agenda which we’ve seen that. And then you have all sorts of things that spin this.
“We’re talking about two broken people, two broken situations, and I think at the end of the day people need to look at themselves and say ‘what do I believe about myself.’ And then if someone believes in Jesus and then if someone doesn’t. For me, that’s all I can speak about is how do I believe Jesus sees me and if I can renew my mind and meditate in that space, Jesus how do you see me? That is where the confidence and beauty is, and I think in that space, speaking to that wound, is where we’re going to see revelation to the question of what’s going on in Hollywood. Because what we’re seeing — to be honest with you — is surface stuff. We’re seeing the fire and the anger and the upset in the situation. But it happens because of a root you’ve got to get to that root.”
Gotzon told Wooding what is next for her in married life.
“What’s next for me my husband? Jimmy Chandler and I are celebrating our one year anniversary on March 17th and it’s five days after My Daddy Is in Heaven releases. And he’s actually playing a supporting role as a love interest to my character. And Rebecca Crownover –because this story’s about her and this is a character I play — when we were on set Jimmy and I were engaged and she said ‘Jenn, I can just see the love and the sparkle and the joy go between the both of you.’ So those little, precious, moments were captured on tape and Waymon Boone, our director — he is so good at directing all of us talent. So for me what’s next is My Daddy’s in Heaven. And my husband? We are creating our real love story into a Christmas romantic comedy called The Farmer and the Belle!”
DIRECTOR Waymon Boone
SCREENPLAY Joseph Nasser Noelle Nelson
Corbin Bernsen (MAJOR LEAGUE)
Jenn Gotzon Chandler (GOD’S NOT DEAD 2)
Lorenzo Lamas (WHAT WOULD JESUS DO: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES)
T.C. Stallings (WAR ROOM, COURAGEOUS).
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Rebecca Crownover
PRODUCTION Nasser Entertainment Group
The DVD is available at Walmart, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU and On Demand via local cable providers
For interviews, contact: Catherine Binkley, Catherine@Lovell-Fairchild.com , 405-618-3462
For press material, visit www.Lovell-Fairchild.com
Based on Texas Farm Girl’s, inspiring true story of love, loss and faith tested, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus launched March 13 on DVD, Digital and On Demand.
Photo captions: 1) My Daddy’s In Heaven movie poster. 2) Actress Jenn Gotzon. 3) Journalist Michael Ireland
*ANS would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview for the news service.
**About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister, and an award-winning local cable-TV program host/producer who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. You may follow Michael on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelIrelandMediaMissionary , and on Twitter at @Michael_ASSIST. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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