Alex Kendrick and his brother Stephen grew their media ministry work at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia into an amazing film enterprise, Sherwood Pictures.
They began with Flywheel, about a used car sales man who changes his life approach. Next, the inspiring football drama Facing the Giants got an amazing response in theaters, then home video. Next was Fireproof, the highest grossing independent film of 2008, starring Kirk Cameron as a firefighter struggling to heal his marriage. Fireproof, now also available on Blu-ray, also began the Love Dare book series after the fictitious book written into the screenplay transformed into an actual New York Times best seller.
The Kendrick brothers are currently working on their fourth film titled Courageous, a fatherhood-themed drama centering on four law enforcement officers. Alex Kendrick recently shared some updates, inspirations, and filmmaking approaches.
Describe the initial work and your “season of prayer” for Courageous.
As with each movie, we take a year or more to pray, seek the Lord, and research themes He directs us towards. We ask for “God” ideas, not “good” ideas. In each case, the Lord has been faithful to point us in the right direction and then put wind in our sails. There is no secret formula. Just pray and obey.
Describe the Courageous script process.
When God pointed us toward fatherhood, we began reading, interviewing, and studying Bible passages on issues related to fathers. Whenever you study an area with intensity, you learn things that surprise you. In this case, the statistics on fathering issues alarmed us, and stirred the need to tell a story that would convict and inspire every man that saw it. We wrote a story that will hopefully allow any father to identify with similar issues in his own life and then point him in the right direction.
Who is involved in finalizing the script process?
My brother and I write the script, then present it to our Senior Pastor, Michael Catt, and our Executive Pastor, Jim McBride. The four of us go over every scene and pray over the story. We then get counsel from trusted advisors and members of our movie team and make any changes necessary to prepare the script.
What experiences, challenges, and victories has the script team had?
Whenever you pray and work in unity, which is a victory. The Lord has given us great partners, like Provident Films, to map out the most effective way of presenting each film. Marketing and distributing a movie is very difficult today with a culture oversaturated with media promotions. But when God is leading the team, it is a joy to be a part of the journey. And so far, He has exceeded our hopes in every way.
About how long will the pre-production process last?
We write for three months or so, then prep for another three months before shooting.
Do you know which locations you might be filming in?
Not yet. That part is still in process as of this interview.
You wore several hats during the production of Fireproof. How might you delegate duties during the filming of Courageous?
I take on fewer roles with each project. For our first movie Flywheel, I wore about seven hats. For Giants, it was five. During Fireproof, I had four jobs. If this continues, I may be out of a job! But really, the more capable team members we have, the more you can delegate. For example, my brother Stephen has turned into an effective producer, so he takes most of that load so I can direct during the shoot.
After the success of Fireproof and the national attention (i.e. Nightline, etc.) you received, are you feeling any pressure to equal the success of Fireproof?
I can’t worry about that. Life naturally has ups and downs. The Lord may use this film exactly as He intends even if it grosses less than Fireproof. We have to be okay with that as long as we obeyed Him and gave Him our best.
Briefly describe the Love Dare book updates and future plans for related programs/materials.
Feedback on the Love Dare has been absolutely overwhelming! There are four million books out there now and we hear stories from everywhere about how the dare is impacting marriages for the Lord. We praise God for this! The new book, Love Dare Day by Day, has added a yearlong devotional for couples and has already been well received. We asked the Lord for a culture changing direction, and He answered. We just pray He keeps His hand on each project. Without Him, it’s pointless, but with Him, the impossible seems to happen.
Will you act in Courageous?
As of this writing, no one has officially been cast. That will happen in the coming weeks.