UNPLANNED is a movie about the dramatic true story of Abby Johnson who “only ever wanted to help women.” Abby became the youngest clinic director in the history of Planned Parenthood. She counseled countless women about their reproductive choices and was involved in about 22,000 abortions. But after a life-changing experience, Abby turns into an anti-abortion activist.
The film is an adaptation of Johnson’s best-selling 2010 autobiographical book of the same name. “Unplanned” is being distributed by PureFlix and is set to be released on 800 screens on March 29.
Southern California Christian Voice had the pleasure of interviewing writers and directors for ‘Unplanned,” Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon who were also behind the hit film “God’s Not Dead.”
Q&A with Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman
How did God get your attention in order to make this film?
Subtly doesn’t work with us. We were sitting at our favorite coffee shop and a woman we know named Megan Harrington walked up to us with the book “Unplanned” and said, ‘you need to make this a movie.’ We looked at each other and said, ‘this is a chick flick.’ We wanted to make a Western. But the Lord had other ideas. We made the mistake of praying about it (the two chuckle). And then we read the book and after the first ten pages, we knew we needed to do it. It was so compelling.
So we asked God for our marching orders but were thrown for a loop when He said, ‘not yet. It doesn’t mean no. It means not yet.’ Four years later the spirit dropped on us when we were sitting in our office and God said, ‘now.’ That was ten days before Donald Trump became president. We came to realize timing was everything. Looking back in retrospect, we now have a very pro-life president and vice president comparatively to six years ago. Now with the infanticide laws that are popping up in all of these states, (the film) is for a time such as this.
How do you see the film influencing viewers?
I’ll tell you, this movie is anointed in an amazing way. The Lord is using this film as the counter for the infanticide laws. It’s going to change the world. It’s the Lord’s will. This is not a movie for just America—this is a global reach-out. Just last week in Georgia, before they enacted the “Heartbeat Bill,” we screened the film to state legislators. The information we got back was the movie strongly influenced the vote. So, even before the film’s release, it is influencing the world. One of our producers, Daryl Lefever is taking it to the Alaska legislators because they are debating the same type of thing up there.
Share how you prepared spiritually for the film.
We were disappointed we had to wait four years, of course. But we continued doing other things the Lord called us to do and continued to pray. Once the Lord said ‘now,’ we got very excited and started with the script. We prayed every day as we wrote it. He wrote things in the script and got rid of scenes He didn’t want. Truly it’s His movie—His hands, His feet, His eyes, ears, and so on.
After completing the script, we had a momentum going. God began to open up doors and tell us what to do and we would do it. We brought prayer teams on.
What role did prayer play in the making of the film?
Prayer was a major component. We knew we wanted to be the first movie that had a budget item of prayer ministry. We had a five-person team headed by husband and wife, Gabriel and Lorraine Varela— plus pastors, priests, evangelicals, Lutherans from all over the country. The team coordinated various well-known pastors like Rick Warren and they would fly to the set and bring a few people with them. They would stay for a day or two and pray, then once they left another group would come in. The prayer team was on set every single day with us. I can honestly say, they worked harder than we did. All day people would walk up to them on set and ask for prayer.
Prayer was a major component. We knew we wanted to be the first movie that had a budget item of prayer ministry.
There were miraculous healings on set. During a voluntary prayer before shootings, a girl was totally healed from Lupus. While filming one of the biggest and toughest scenes where Ashley Brache