The Stream is reporting on the new biopic based on Johnson’s book, Unplanned, which is a full-length dramatic feature film that tells the story of how she went from running an abortion clinic to becoming one of the most powerful defenders of life in the world today.
This film brings together the talents of Cary Solomon and Chuck Konselman of the God’s Not Dead films and Daryl Lefever and Joe Knopp who produced the blockbuster, I Can Only Imagine, which opened in March of this year and grossed $83 million to date.
The cast of Unplanned includes Ashley Bratcher (War Room), Robia Scott (CSI), and Emma Roberts (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay).
Slated for released on March 22, 2019, producers filmed Unplanned in Stillwater, Oklahoma under strict secrecy, allowing no media posts or press mentions of the film until after it was completed. Only select media were invited on the site when producers were ready to reveal what they were filming.
The reason they went to these lengths was to protect the project – and themselves – from pro-abortion violence.
“While we’re here on-set, we call the movie Redeemed,” co-director Solomon told The Stream. “The reason we do that is we don’t want anyone to know we are making Unplanned as a movie. Because it would be very difficult to film if people were trying to burn down the warehouse while we’re in it. Or if protestors show up to scream and throw stones.”
Before each cast member was signed, the directors sat down with them and explained the kind of backlash they could face such as being passed over for future roles. This didn’t deter Ashley Bratcher, who portrays Johnson in the film, who sees this as an opportunity for dialoge.
“Being in the film industry, I am friends with all kinds of people,” Bratcher said. “There are all different opinions. This is a chance to open up the conversation to my pro-choice friends. Here is one woman’s real-life story. Let’s talk about it.”
Solomon also knows that a wave of cynical criticism is on the way which could actually benefit the film with free publicity. “Certain subjects are so volatile and freak people out so radically. Audiences become enthralled, saying: I need to see what this is about. [Planned Parenthood] has so much money at stake, they will have to defend themselves. Once the word gets out, we expect everything is going to blow up.”
As for Johnson, she admits that it was difficult to allow her personal story be the subject of a feature film.
“Right after the first conversation I had with Chuck and Cary, I had a realization,” she said. “This is going to expose my life and my family in a way that we have not been before. Honestly, it was a very vulnerable, scary feeling.”
Knowing the kind of media smears that may lay ahead, she relied on her Christian faith to go through with the project.
“Here’s the beauty of being honest with your conversion,” she says. “Everything that is ugly about my past has already been revealed! People know who I once was. I’m the first to say, That was totally me. Now look at the new creation I am in Christ.”
Unplanned will be one of three powerful new pro-life films that will open in theaters within the next six months. Gosnell, which chronicles the grisly story of the Philadelphia abortionist whose abortion clinic was known as the “House of Horrors,” opens in theaters on October 12. Roe v. Wade, a documentary exposing the truth behind the landmark case that legalized abortion in the U.S., is expected to be released sometime early next year.
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