(Photo: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz)
Academy Award–winning actor Nicolas Cage is reportedly in talks to star in "Left Behind," a mainstream remake of the Christian-themed movie trilogy about the End Times.
The reboot will mark the first film from Stoney Lake Entertainment, a new production company led by Paul Lalonde, a Canadian/American film producer and writer and co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures, variety.com reported Friday.
"Left Behind" is the first installment of a 16-book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins about the adventures of the sinners left on earth after the Rapture. The series, first published 1995-2007 by Tyndale House, has sold more than 65 million copies around the world.
The series has already been adapted into three action thriller films starring Kirk Cameron, who plays the leader of the Tribulation Force against the Global Community and its leader Nicolae Carpathia, the Antichrist. The original series was launched in 2001.
Lalonde will produce the action thriller with Michael Walker, and co-write the script with John Patus, who wrote 2005's "Left Behind: World at War," the entertainment news agency said. Veteran stunt coordinator and second unit director Vic Armstrong is in talks to direct.
The plot focuses on a group of survivors during the first few hours after the Rapture. The budget of the film is in the $15 million range, and its production is likely to begin in early spring for a late next year release. The project was shopped at last year's American Film Market.
Variety quoted Lalonde as saying that distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films had given a theatrical guarantee.
Lalonde's Cloud Ten Pictures is the company behind the best-selling Apocalypse collection. Lalonde and his brother, Peter, started up the production company "as a means of spreading the Gospel message and producing inspirational Christian films that would help to disband the general consensus that Christian movies are low quality," the company's website says.
Cage has been unpredictable in his choice of films. Film critic Roger Ebert once wrote in an essay, "Great Movies," that Cage is "daring and fearless in his choice of roles, and unafraid to crawl out on a limb, saw it off and remain suspended in air. No one else can project inner trembling so effectively.... He always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience. He is committed to the character with every atom and plays him as if he were him."