|Nicky Whelan and Nicolas Cage star in "Left Behind.|
(Stoney Lake Entertainment)
In 1994, Paul LaLonde served as executive producer of Left Behind, which was intended to be used as a documentary to those people “left behind” after the biblical rapture. Included in the cast was Hal Lindsey who was there to explain what had happened. In 2000, LaLonde helped produce the original Left Behind movie that starred Kirk Cameron. Now in 2014, he is producing yet another version of the movie, this time starring Nicolas Cage. In-between these dates, LaLonde has produced over eight other end-of-the-world features. The end times are a big deal to this guy, but why make the remake?
The original Left Behind, and its sequels, had a very limited budget and were sent straight to DVD. “The first book in the Left Behind series is really quite an enormous book and we tried to do the whole book in one movie. And it really didn’t do justice to, especially to the rapture but also to the whole book because there was no time to get to know the characters. And there was no time to really appreciate the enormity of the event,” says LaLonde during a recent press conference. “Basically the [new] movie is based on, you know, 25 pages of the first book, so it’s really a remake of about three minutes of the first movie.”
LaLonde had no intention of making another low budget movie so the he stepped up his game with A-list talent cast and crew. The fairly small cast includes Nicolas Cage as pilot Rayford Steele, Lea Thompson (who is currently a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars) as his Christian wife Irene, Cassi Thomson as their daughter, Nicky Whelan as Hattie, the stewardess he is having an affair with and Jordin Sparks as a young mother trying to outrun her troubles at home. LaLonde also chose Vic Armstrong to direct the thing. “If you go on IMDB and look up Vic Armstrong, you’ll, you’ll think he’s faking his resume. He’s been part of some of the biggest movies that there are,” says LaLonde. “He’s exactly what the movie needed and he didn’t disappoint me.”