Husband-and-wife duo behind The Bible Miniseries and Son of God sign on to Erwin Brothers ‘Woodlawn’ produced by Kevin Downes and distributed by Pure Flix.
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who took faith-themed entertainment to new global heights with their record-setting miniseries The Bible, have signed on as executive producers of Woodlawn, a Christian period drama with a modern-day purpose and explosive sports action headed to theaters nationwide Oct. 16.
Downey (Touched by an Angel) and Burnett (The Voice, Survivor), join the project as executive producers under their United Artists banner. Their previous big-screen credits as production partners include Son of God, Little Boy and the much-anticipated remake of Ben-Hur due in theaters next spring.
Woodlawn, an Erwin Brothers film produced by Kevin Downes, is an exhilarating high school football story about revival and reconciliation that offers hope for overcoming the racial crises facing America today. That’s what drew the husband-and-wife team to the project.
“The goal of all the faith-based projects we’ve done has been to spotlight the power and goodness of God,” Downey explained. “Woodlawn fits that bill perfectly: It’s an emotional and riveting look at how revival changes the fortunes and hearts of a team, a school and a city.”
Added Burnett: “Jon and Andy Erwin have made a special film, one that will not only entertain and inspire audiences, but which could very well spark another great spiritual awakening.”
Woodlawn tells the true-life story of Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille), who lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Ala., after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973.
The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.
It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Geralds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen.
More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined.
The Colonels make a run at the state playoffs led by Nathan, who achieves superstar status in Birmingham and attracts the attention of legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant (Jon Voight). It’s the miracle, Hank says, of what happens when God shows up.
“We’re honored Roma and Mark are partnering with us to bring this important story to the big screen at such an important time in history,” director Jon Erwin said. “They are known internationally for sharing God’s unwavering love for us all through quality entertainment. That’s why Andy and I made Woodlawn – to share that message. It’s why we got into filmmaking in the first place.”
Woodlawn, distributed by Pure Flix in conjunction with Provident Films, stars Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Moms’ Night Out), Nic Bishop (Body of Proof), Caleb Castille (in his feature film debut), C. Thomas Howell (Red Dawn), Sherri Shepherd (The View, Precious) and Academy-Award winner Jon Voight (National Treasure).
It is directed by The Erwin Brothers (October Baby, Moms’ Night Out) from a script by Jon Erwin and Quinton Peeples and is produced by Kevin Downes (Faith of Our Fathers, Courageous).
To learn more about the movie, visit woodlawnmovie.com