Originally published in Lifesite News
The movie about Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion has found a distributor and will be coming to 800 North American screens in March. The film’s backers have released a two-and-a-half-minute trailer of the much-anticipated film.
Pure Flix, the distributor for God’s Not Dead, is releasing Unplanned on 800 movie screens March 29, the Hollywood Reporter (THR) reports.
Unplanned is a dramatic film adaption of Johnson’s best-selling 2010 autobiographical book of the same name. It tells the story of Johnson’s journey from Planned Parenthood facility manager to pro-life activist.
“I thought I was helping women,” said Abby Johnson, founder and director of And Then There Were None, an organisation that helps abortion workers exit the industry and find new jobs.
“But I was doing more harm than good. It wasn’t until I saw a child fight for its life that my world came crashing down and I understood the enormity of my actions. I had to leave. No one will be able to walk away after seeing this movie and say ‘I didn’t know,’” she added.
In the trailer, Johnson’s character is warned by Planned Parenthood that by crossing to the pro-life side she’s made an enemy of “one of the most powerful organisations on the planet”.
Unplanned was written and directed by Cary Soloman and Chuck Konzelman, the writers and co-producers for God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2 and Do You Believe. Daryl Lefever (I Can Only Imagine) is also a producer.
Pure Flix distributed the two God’s Not Dead films and Do You Believe theatrically as well.
“We had other offers but felt they would be our strongest partner because of the great success we’ve had together in the past,” Konzelman said of Unplanned.
Unplanned was filmed in secret and under a different name due to its content, and the filmmakers had to pull back from using some mainstream pop songs in the movie, because major record labels refused to license the music to them for the film.
Blake Kanicka, music supervisor for Unplanned, told THR that nine out of the 10 initial requests he’d made for licensing were denied. Among those turning the request down were Disney, Sony/ATV and Universal Music.
Some faith-based bands also denied the filmmakers use of their songs, telling Kanicka that they could not risk the possible controversy.
Actress Ashley Bratcher (War Room, 90 Minutes in Heaven) who plays Johnson, told the Fox & Friends programme in December that she had been warned that she would probably be blacklisted for acting in the movie.
The $6-million (R81-million) cost for making Unplanned was financed in part by Mike Lindell, the multimillionaire founder of My Pillow, who invested $1-million (R13.5-million) in the film. Lindell, a pro-life Christian, told THR he plans to continue supporting films that represent his values.
Bratcher has been candid about her moving experience of learning that her mother had planned to abort her soon after she began filming Unplanned, giving interviews to Fox & Friends, The Story with Martha MacCallum and LifeSiteNews.
The film has the endorsement of Kansas City Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann.
Naumann, also chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, said during his homily for the March for Life Vigil Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC: “If you see one film this year, see Unplanned… I warn you, Unplanned is graphic, it’s painful, but at the same time, inspiring…”
In addition to Bratcher, the movie stars Brooks Ryan as Johnson’s husband, Doug; Robia Scott (CSI, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Johnson’s superior at Planned Parenthood; Emma Elle Roberts (Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, I Am Not Ashamed ) as Marilisa Carney, Kaiser Johnson (Little Boy, Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hollow); and Jared Lotz (Of Little Convenience, Thanksgiving) as 40 Days for Life President Shawn Carney.
Asked when South African audiences might see the film, Chris Jones, one of the film’s producers, said: “We are currently nailing down the details of our domestic theatrical release in the US and Canada. After that is worked out, we will turn our attention to international distribution including South Africa. We are excited to release the movie in SA as our main producer has filmed there and fallen in love with it.”