Whether The Machine Gun Preacher will be a timeless piece of cinema has yet to be determined. But whether it will incite controversy...that's pretty much a given.
The film is based on the true story of Sam Childers, a reformed drug dealer and criminal who ventures to Africa to put a halt, at any means necessary, to the kidnapping of Sudanese children by terrorist organizations. Gerard Butler, who on his own is pretty intimidating, will play the lethal Childers, leading a cast that includes Boardwalk Empire's shining star Michael Shannon and Source Code's Michelle Monaghan.
Below, we can see Childers interracting with a kid who may or may not owe the man his life. Click the photo to see more images from the movie over at Comingsoon.com.
The Machine Gun Preacher will reach theaters on September 23.
The Help, a drama centered on African-American maids in Jackson, Mississippi and the white reporter who aims to bring their mistreatment to light, is currently stirring up controversy over its sentimental portrayal of the civil rights movement and relying heavily on a "white savior." The concern is reasonable, as Hollywood is notorious for sticking to what they know works and sells instead of telling a truthful story—certainly, a less sensitive approach to social commentary.
While the movie's trailers may have people believing one thing, The Help defies standards and allows each character to work through their problems on their own, white or black. There's no superheroism here.
Which brings us to Machine Gun Preacher, the latest movie from Gerard Butler and director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Stranger Than Fiction and Quantum of Solace). In the movie, Butler portrays a former drug dealer who finds new meaning in life after embarking on a mission to save kidnapped children in Sudan. Based on a real life story, it's a meaty part that, from the looks of the first trailer, Butler has really sunk his teeth into and could spell Oscar-nomination when the awards season rolls around. An inspirational story with bazookas, how could it go wrong?
But considering the fervor of those who found issue with The Help, Machine Gun Preacher seems even more likely to spark debate among those who consider Hollywood a proponent of racial insensitivity. Butler's Sam Childers is literally a white man coming in and saving the day. Not easy to swallow.
Machine Gun Preacher looks like a solid film, with Butler anchoring and an equally strong supporting cast, including Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker and Michael Shannon, backing him up—but this one is certainly at risk of controversy.
But you know what they say: any publicity is good publicity.
Machine Gun Preacher hits September 23. Check out the trailer below.
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The first image has been released of Gerard Butler in Marc Forster's Machine Gun Preacher, the upcoming biopic of Sam Childers. Childers is a former gang-biker, drug dealer, alcoholic and comprehensive ruffian who turned his life around after joining the Assembly of God church and became an active combatant of the kidnappings, murders and sex- and slave-trade of Sudanese children perpetrated by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Portraying Childers, who also founded the Children's Village Angels of East Africa in Southern Sudan, is Butler, pictured below in character.
Relativity Media announced today that it has struck a deal with Lionsgate to acquire the North American distribution rights for Machine Gun Preacher, a fact-based thriller starring Gerard Butler and directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace). According to Relativity's press release, the film features a "tour de force" performance from Butler, and has thus been slapped with a September 23, 2011 release date -- prime awards-season territory. The effusive praise for Butler sounds a tad dubious, if only because the actor's recent oeuvre includes such Oscar kryptonite as The Bounty Hunter and The Awful Truth, but who am I to doubt a studio press release?
Machine Gun Preacher had been slated to languish on Lionsgate's shelf for the foreseeable future, with an approximate release date of "whenever we get around to it," as the studio focused on rolling out its glut of titles. In addition to Butler, the film stars Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Michael Shannon (Superman: Man of Steel), Madeline Carroll (The Spy Next Door) and newcomer Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo). It chronicles the true-life tale of Sam Childers, an American biker-gang member who found God, traveled to Sudan, and started an organization to aid victims of the Lord's Resistance Army, a para-military force infamous for its use of child soldiers.
Source: Relativity Media
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.