Devon Franklin believes in miracles. In preparing for his next project, The Star, following the success of Miracles from Heaven, the producer and speaker looked to inspiration from a 1998 film classic.
"I always wanted to do an animated movie and there really hadn't been an animated movie of faith from a mainstream standpoint done since The Prince of Egypt," he said. "It was such a long time ago. I also feel like when you look at family faith animation, that's a big part of it, but when you look at the faith sector of that, it felt like an underserved market."
Like The Prince of Egypt, The Star also focuses on a biblical story and boasts an all-star cast, including Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Now releasing on DVD, the film earned $62 million at the worldwide box office.
"It was a blessing to get it out there, and I'm glad it did well," he said.
Another common thread with The Prince of Egypt is Mariah Carey, who once again delivers a stirring theme song. The music superstar is one of Franklin's friends who signed on as a favor.
"It was a big part of bringing the movie together when you know personally and kind of articulate the value of it and kind of twist their arm a little bit and say 'Come on, do me a favor!,' he said. "Thankfully, they were all very willing and I'm incredibly and eternally grateful."
For his next project, Franklin optioned the rights to The Impossible, a true story about a mother who loses a child who is then resurrected. It was recently announced that breakout star Chrissy Meitz of the television series This Is Us would play the lead. The film will be the third in a "miracles" trilogy for Franklin, following Miracles from Heaven and Heaven Is for Real.
"When I heard about, I thought 'I have to tell this story'," he said. "It is just so powerful. I'm grateful for it. We're going to be coming out next year."
As one of the leaders of a new wave of faith-based producers, Franklin said he takes his role "very seriously."
"It's a blessing," he said. "I'm very, very excited about that and incredibly committed to doing it. I know it's a very rare opportunity."
DEWAYNE HAMBY is a communications specialist and longtime journalist covering faith-based music, entertainment, books, and the retail industry. He is also the editor of the White Wing Messenger, director of communications for the Church of God of Prophecy, and author of the book Gratitude Adjustment. Connect with him at www.dewaynehamby.com or on twitter - @dewaynehamby.
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