Many of the themes in my films are direct reflections of the environment I was raised in, specifically by my mother. She taught me an array of “life lessons” but at the top of the list was perhaps her most important prescription for living; always explore, be open to that which seems improbable and impossible because all is possible! The confidence to steer one’s life in that direction however, she continued, was based on the idea that we layer all of it on a bedrock of absolute faith in God, a recognition of His grace, and a thankfulness for His gift which he has bestowed upon us; life itself.
I suppose it all became very real for me over the years as I watched my mom struggle with personal demons, questioning God, even challenging him. Hers weren’t life lessons that existed only in a fantasy world… these were lessons for the real world where there is human suffering. To the end, through it all, she never gave up on God or her faith. She overcame every wave that threatened to sink her by making her way into God’s lifeboat love.
As I watched her slip away and finally return home into God’s loving care on May 8th this year I was flooded with all the obvious emotions. But I was also reminded in very short order of my connection to her: mother and son… one of the most basic relationships in existence. I was also quickly reminded of those life lessons learned so long ago, lessons that I have, to this day, employed on my own journey.
I didn’t know it when writing and shooting Beyond the Heavens, that two years later, my mother would be gone. I did however have the sudden “instinct” to share our story, our bond, and create an expression of her earliest lessons to me. I did it the only way I know how, I told a story through film. The result was Beyond the Heavens.
While the story itself is fiction, it does highlight a strong bond between mother and son and a quest to grasp the “great mystery of the universe.” It challenges faith, as I did. It explores the very belief in God, which I did. It even finds another “solution to the mystery; science,” which, for a time worked for me. But ultimately it arrives right back at the beginning, where my mother told me, promised me it would… in God’s loving arms.
My mom isn’t around to enjoy the release of the movie, but she did get to see it before she passed. Her reaction wasn’t one I expected… I was thinking she’d throw around words like “brilliant and genius!” Instead she simply looked at me, that knowing smile on her face, and nodded. She knew I “got it.” I’m sure she would have been thrilled to see the film reach a larger audience – if only to know her lesson had “long legs.” But alas, this part of her journey is over. It is because of that that I dedicate the “Wide Release” of Beyond the Heavens to my mom, Jeanne Cooper on her birthday, October 25. May she rest in peace with the knowledge that her work, her wisdom and her words, and her lessons to a young son live on.
Jeanne Cooper was a mainstay on “The Young and the Restless” since 1973, when she joined the show six months after it began airing. She earned 11 Daytime Emmy nominations for her role as Katherine Chancellor, including the win in 2008. She also earned an Emmy nomination for playing her son’s on-air mother on his television series “L.A. Law” in 1987.
Click here to check out the Official Movie trailer for Corbin’s new film Beyond the Heavens