“This film was made on faith, by faith and for faith,” screenwriter and actress Sam Sorbo (pictured above right) told LifeZette in an exclusive interview about her new movie, “Let There Be Light.”
The story is about Dr. Sol Harkins (played by Sorbo’s husband, “Hercules” star Kevin Sorbo). Harkins is a popular atheist author hiding the pain of the death of one of his sons behind alcohol and tossed-off expressions like “party on” — which he uses in stages to dismantle the idea of Christianity and the existence of God.
After a car accident leads to a vision of his son, Harkins has a reverse crisis of faith — and begins to question his atheism and to reconnect with his family.
Sam Sorbo plays wife Katey Harkins — and two of the three Sorbo children, Shane and Braedon, also star as the couple’s sons.
“We made the boys audition [like anyone else] because they will be under scrutiny,” Sorbo said of casting her sons in the movie.
Kevin Sorbo also directed the film, while Sam Sorbo cowrote — so “Let There Be Light” was truly a family affair. But it’s anything but light material. In a culture that is increasingly steeped in division and in an industry currently drenched in , this is a positive and powerful film that seems to be landing at exactly the right time.
“We did not realize we were expressing, in a sense, the hidden values, the lost values of the virtuous American,” said Sorbo. She wrote the film with Dan Gordon (the screenwriter behind such films as “The Hurricane” and “Wyatt Earp”) before Trump’s surprising election victory — and long before . Both events seem to suggest there is a craving for a positive and meaningful film that promotes faith-related values.
“The storyteller’s job is to promote a worldview,” said Sorbo, an artist born in Pittsburgh. On whether Hollywood studios are beginning to accept the faith-based genre after massive successes like “God’s Not Dead” and “Heaven Is for Real,” she said, “Hollywood is trying,” but ultimately failing because it is “a culture that is distinctly anti-faith.”
It’s what she feels led to the giant box-office flops of 2014’s “Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” two expensive biblical epics from major studios, whose executives refused to hire people of faith to sit in the directors’ chairs.
“I call ‘Noah’ ‘Waterworld’ meets ‘Transformers,'” said Sorbo, 50, about Darren Aronofsky’s controversial retelling of the story of Noah’s ark. It’s a film she admits she “enjoyed,” though not as a biblical or faith-based effort.
“I’m hoping that faith will find its way to Hollywood,” said Sorbo, while admitting to being “skeptical” of that happening any time soon.
“Let There Be Light” was made without the participation of a major Hollywood studio, something Sorbo is quick to note.
Put together on a tighter budget than most films and promoted to churchgoing crowds and middle America, the film had financing, in part, from Fox News host and now movie producer Sean Hannity, who also has a role as himself in the movie.
In a twist of fate, Hannity was actually the one to contact Kevin Sorbo in the hope of helping to produce a movie. It came at just the right time, as Sam Sorbo and Dan Gordon were busy piecing together what would become “Let There Be Light.”
“I happen not to believe in coincidence,” said Sorbo about the perfect timing. “The stars aligned on this film.”
She continued, “In Hollywood, the money never chases the film. Typically the film chases the money.”
“We had a guardian angel over this project,” she added.
Though it all seemed meant to be, and Sorbo has nothing but praise for the filming experience of her movie and the crew in Birmingham, Alabama, she stresses that it’s more important than ever now for audiences to fight for films like “Let There Be Light.” Such independent pictures can be made outside of the Hollywood system with limited promotional tools and be representative of a large group of Americans — a group for which the
“If they [audience members] want to see this kind of film be made, they have to go opening weekend. They have to support it,” she said.
“Let There Be Light” opens in 300-plus theaters on October 27 — but Sorbo is hoping to expand the film, and she encouraged people and church groups to request the movie at their local theaters.
The success of such films “[sends] a message” to Hollywood, said Sorbo. Americans can vote with their dollars just as easily as they can on a presidential ballot, she stressed. Those dollars and where people spend them are what will ultimately change the power structure in places like Hollywood — .
“This Harvey Weinstein thing is such a slap in the face to the Americans who still value Judeo-Christian morals and virtues,” said Sorbo. She said the fact that the stories of the producer’s abuse were “hidden” for so long is what is most offensive.
In the end, the power belongs to the American people, something many are beginning to realize applies to popular culture as much as to politics. “Their dollars count, their votes count, their actions send messages,” said Sorbo.
“I can’t express enough how incredible a project this was.”
The actress and writer revealed she wants to write and star in more films like “Let There Be Light,” possibly with her husband stepping behind the camera again, though for now she stressed that her focus is on “Let There Be Light” and getting the movie’s message to the widest audience possible.
“I can’t express enough how incredible a project this was,” she said. She added as a message to potential audience members, “If you want good morals and if you judge good morals by biblical standards or by Judeo-Christian values that founded this country and if you value freedom, which is what those morals represent, then you need to support this kind of entertainment as opposed to other kinds of entertainment.”