We were excited when Resurrection premiered on ABC. The show centers on the people of small-town Arcadia, Missouri, whose lives are forever altered when their dead loved ones start coming back to life. The show enjoyed a successful first season due to its intriguing premise, and has so far done a decent job of walking the fine line between religious and supernatural themes without yet coming down too hard on either side.
Then HBO started dropping promos for their new series The Leftovers (starring Justin Theroux), which centers on the people of Mapleton, New York, whose lives are forever changed when the "impossible" happens: two percent of the global population disappears. Like Resurrection, The Leftovers has so far avoided declaring its main event an all-out biblical occurrence, but apocalyptic and religious overtones are certainly threaded throughout the show.
Now Stoney Lake Entertainment is bringing Nicolas Cage to theaters in Left Behind, which tells the story of the people who remain after the Rapture takes up much of the population. The film is an adaptation of the New York Times best-selling book series of the same name, co-authored by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.
Cage plays Ray Steele, an airplane pilot whose copilot disappears mid-flight along with millions of other people around the planet. Global panic ensues, and Steele finds himself trying to calm his terrified passengers while trying to steer the plane to safety. He's also having emotional conversations with his daughter Chloe (played by Cassi Thomson) who is on the ground, trying to make sense of what's happened, while the remaining members of humankind suffer a collective mental breakdown.
Is Hollywood trying to tell us we should get ready for some serious doom and gloom?
Although all three projects are based on novels, Left Behind is the most overtly biblical, with the film's producer, Paul Lalonde, declaring that the film is "a historical account in a sense, because it's based on a true story, it just hasn't happened yet. So it's very important to us that the core story not be changed."
Lalonde went on to say that they had offers from major studios to distribute the film, "but none would allow final control of the story to be left in our hands.” Left Behind is Stoney Lake Entertainment's first feature film.
Whether or not the film is perceived as a "historical account" by audiences may not matter. Cage's star power plus the film's action-driven plot will draw in audiences, and apocalyptic themes definitely seem to be de rigueur at the moment.
We just hope Hollywood isn't privy to some kind of cosmic warning that the end times are in fact on their way — we've got to see what's going to happen in Season 2 of Resurrection and The Leftovers first.
Left Behind also stars Lea Thompson and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and is set to open in theaters on Oct. 3.
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