BEVERLY HILLS — The new Netflix film “Holiday in the Wild” highlights the “miracle” of God’s creation and reminds audiences that second chances are always possible, said stars Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis.
The romantic comedy, which released globally Nov. 1, stars Davis as Kate, a New York woman who books a second honeymoon with her husband when their son leaves for college. However, when Kate’s husband abruptly leaves her, she decides to travel to Zambia on her own. There, she helps a rough-around-the-edges pilot, Derek, (Lowe) rescue an orphaned baby elephant and thrives amid majestic animals and scenery.
Davis, who also served as an executive producer of the movie, is known for her longstanding commitment to elephant conservation. She told The Christian Post that bringing her passion to the big screen was “amazing and a miracle.”
“These animals were put on earth by God as well; it's not just our earth, it’s their earth, and [all of it] is God’s. So we're all together,” she shared. “And the fact that there are people devoting their lives to saving these baby animals who are orphans, and then releasing them into the wild where they should live, that is really their birthright, is a beautiful thing to me. And the fact that we can support it through our film is just really a miracle.”
Lowe’s youngest son, John Owen Lowe, also stars in the film as Davis’ son. “Anytime I get to work with my boy it’s good,” the actor said. “He's just a really talented young actor and he and Kristin are so great in their scenes together. She loves him almost more than I do.”
Lowe told CP that his initial attraction to the film was Davis’ passion for preserving creation. “My draw to the movie was Kristin's commitment to elephant conservation and how it’s such a legitimate part of her life,” he said. “This is sort of her dream project. It would never have happened, but for her hard work in this area. And I think that authenticity is what kind of you feel in the movie.”
A romantic comedy-meets-National Geographic film, “Holiday in the Wild” was filmed in South Africa, including at an elephant orphanage in Zambia. It features stunning shots of the region’s wildlife, including elephants, antelope, buffalo, giraffes, lions, monkeys, rhinoceros, warthogs, wildebeest and zebra.
According to filmmakers, one of the goals was to bring to light the elephant poaching and conservation battles in the African wilderness, issues Davis said are happening in real-time.
“[Viewers] may not be able to travel to Zambia or to South Africa like we did, but I wanted them to see how gorgeous it is and just see how cute those baby elephants are and how devoted the people are who are taking care of them and devoting their lives to it,” she explained.
“Like it's real, everything that's in the film is really happening right now.”
Filmmakers ensured that no trained animals were used in the making of the movie. The overwhelming majority of takes involved animatronic elephants, robotic elephants, performances carried out by one of the film’s five puppeteers or shots of the elephants following their usual daily routines.
“It was a really a group effort and it took many years for it to come together properly and to come together in an ethical way with the elephants and to find the right elephant rescues that could accommodate us, but also we were accommodating them and what was right for the elephants because that's our message and we had to be true to the message,” Davis said.
Written by real husband-and-wife duo Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky, “Holiday in the Wild” also follows the personal growth and development of its stars. Both Lowe and Davis experience life-altering events that help them discover their true purpose and calling.
Kate, a former veterinarian, quit practicing to support her husband and raise her son. But after her son goes off to college, she becomes restless, unsure of what the future holds. Similarly, Derek, disillusioned by past hurts, is challenged to open his heart to love once again.
"[Lowe's character] has been through something really hard that I don't want to give away, and he does think a door has closed," Davis said. "But the fact that he's open enough slowly to allow that door to open back up ... even though he's crusty on the outside ... you can see his heart by his devotion to this cause and to these animals."
A feel-good Christmas film, "Holiday in the Wild" celebrates both the beauty of creation and the human capacity for love. “A lot of people come here to get lost,” Derek tells Kate of Africa, “so they can be found again.”
“It's about second chapters, and sometimes people don't find their passion when they would like to,” Lowe explained. “It's not our plan. It's somebody else's plan. And you never know when it's going to happen but you need to be open to it. And that's one of the great things about [Kristin's character's] journey, that when things look bad, it's actually a doorway to something even better. That's a big-time life lesson that I carry with me all the time.”
Davis agreed, saying, “We don't know what's going to happen in life. We're not in control. And that's the truth.”
“Holiday in the Wild” is currently streaming on Netflix. The film is rated PG.
Watch CP’s interview with Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis below.