Tim Chey, the director behind the upcoming big-budget "David and Goliath" film, told The Christian Post in an exclusive interview that the project is set to be "biblically correct in every way," and that he hopes audiences will be moved to tears when they see it.
The film, which is to be shot in Morocco and produced by RiverRain Productions, is said to have a $50 million dollar budget and is currently scheduled for an early 2015 nationwide theater release. Chey said that the movie, based on the biblical story of the battle between the giant Philistine warrior Goliath and David, the future king of Israel, has been in the works for close to 11 years.
Chey has directed and produced nine feature films, including the $20 million "Carry Me Home" (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), coming out nationwide in December, "Suing the Devil' (Malcolm McDowell), and "Genius Club" (Stephen Baldwin).
While traveling from London to Casablanca, Chey responded to CP questions about the upcoming movie in an email interview.
CP: Can you share a little bit about your faith background, and if it inspired the decision to get involved with the "David and Goliath" movie?
Chey: Yes, good question. I was a former atheist who found Christ in a hotel room after reading a Gideon's Bible in Manila. I never looked back after that. Our production company has had this film "David and Goliath" in the works for almost 11 years. We realized to film it right we needed to shoot the film on a grand scale (much like "Lawrence of Arabia"). It's one of the most incredible stories in the Bible about faith. In this case, it was much greater than a mustard seed.
CP: What kind of genre, or style do you plan to take the story in? Will it be more family-friendly oriented, or more mature in nature?
Chey: First off, it will be biblically correct in every way. But I want to show more of the cruelty of who the Philistines were and who Goliath was through historical data. Also, I want to flesh out the powerful fear Goliath instilled on Saul's army. Also David's brothers – the incredible tears they must have shed knowing the little brother was going to take on the 9-foot warrior. It could have been a Shakespearean tragedy, but turned into a victory through God.
CP: Does the script present the entire story of David as found in the Bible, or is it focused more exclusively on the David and Goliath encounter?
Chey: No, it's only focused on the events leading up to the fight. We will also have David fighting the lion and the bear via CGI. We've enlisted an A-list post-house to come up with state of the art visual effects.
CP: As a director, how do you balance using your creativity to produce entertainment for a mass audience with staying faithful to the Bible?
Chey: The mass audience is used to the best acting, the best visual effects, and the best epic filmmaking. To me, filmmaking is like playing professional basketball. It takes years of training and then ultimately, talent to do it. To get super-talented filmmakers who passionately love the Lord is a rare commodity. And to get super-talented filmmakers, who passionately love the Lord, and can raise millions of dollars, is next to impossible. This is why Christian films are looked down upon. However, even if a small cheesy film can win just one person to Christ, then let's be careful not to mock it like so many cruel Christians do.
CP: To what do you credit the number of faith or Bible-based films already released this year, including "Son of God," "Noah," "God's Not Dead," "Heaven is for Real" – has it become easier to make such films in recent years?
Chey: Well, it has to be God. I had reached the point in March 2012 where I was very discouraged at continuing to do Christian films. We were constantly being ridiculed by the secular media, our films were being sabotaged by online piracy, and fellow jealous Christians were mocking us saying the acting was bad, script was horrible, etc, etc. Thousands of people were coming to Christ so why did I let that bother me? I don't know. The Lord showed me clearly it was a spiritual attack. I repented and began to trust the Lord again. Within two months, we raised millions of dollars and made the $20 million dollar "Carry Me Home" (starring Cuba Gooding, Jr) on the early life of John Newton, writer of "Amazing Grace" and now "David and Goliath."
CP: What are your thoughts on the controversy that surrounded Darren Aronofsky's "Noah," another movie based on a story in the Old Testament?
Chey: He should have changed the title. It's the same thing with the movie, "Lincoln" from Steven Spielberg – it had nothing to do with Lincoln, but the 13th Amendment. What a disappointment that was. It's Hollywood's way to market and profit off the faith-based community while winking at the secular community and saying "we're still one of you, don't worry." This is why true believers have to step up and make the biblical films.
CP: What are your hopes for the final project? What do you hope audiences will be able to take away from when they see "David and Goliath"?
Chey: I want them to be moved to tears and increase their faith in the true and living God. I want them to stop being lukewarm. To make a stand for God. To slay the demonic giants who beseech us in this life. I want them to leave the theater and say "I will make a stand for the Lord" and tell those giants "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God."