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The Religious Affiliation of Movie Producer
Ralph Winter


From: Monique Parsons, "Hollywood Gets a Conscience: Reacting to an excess of violence and sex, some in the entertainment world are using faith to challenge the industry's ethic" (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/42/story_4210_1.html; viewed 19 August 2005):
Hollywood Christians compare their position to Joseph's experience in Egypt: good folks stuck in a heathen land, trying to do the right thing. Many Christians here simply hide their faith, fearing ostracism, rejection from secular Jews inside Hollywood, and criticism from evangelicals beyond...

"X-Men" producer Ralph Winter, a devout Presbyterian, faults the "flavor of the week" mentality, "this frenzy to have the latest and greatest and make a bundle of money." Such pressures present "tremendous challenges for people of faith," says Nicolosi, who worships at a parish in Santa Monica popular with the Hollywood crowd. "It's hard to keep your faith if you make it. It's hard to keep your hope if you don't."

...And Christians don't always show their cards. Winter, for instance, convinced stars Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen that the plot should take a different and more clever turn; together they pressured the director to change the script. Faith--as far as Winter's cast and crew knew--simply wasn't a factor. "You don't get extra points for being religious inside the studio," says Winter, who has walked away from projects that didn't convey positive messages. "Anybody's going to be respectful of your beliefs, but if you start talking about Jesus, that's a problem. That's divisive."

...Being moral doesn't mean creating bad art, though. Klausman tells people who want to influence Hollywood to work harder. "I have people who approach me with Christian poodle acts and play 'Jesus Loves Me' on the piano and don't understand why we can't make a series out of that," he says. "I've got a cassette of exorcisms they feel could be the next great reality program. I don't think so."

On the other hand, if the work isn't supported by Christians outside the industry, it will fail. Winter says more than 100 wealthy evangelicals turned him down not long ago when he sought funding for a film version of "Left Behind," the wildly popular Christian best-seller.

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Webpage created 19 August 2005. Last modified 19 August 2005.
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