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 Making 'Machine Gun Preacher'

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PostSubject: Making 'Machine Gun Preacher'   Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:21 pm

Hanging out with Gerard Butler was all in a day’s work for Deborah Giarratana. She’s the producer on the actor’s latest movie, Machine Gun Preacher, out Friday. The movie follows Pennsylvanian Sam Childers, a drug dealing biker turned champion of countless orphans in South Sudan.

Giarratana was recently back home for a screening in South Florida, where her parents have run Grace Church of Kendall since 1963. The Coral Park High School grad moved out to L.A. in 1996, soon getting into the animation business, working at the company that is currently Dreamworks, and then later with Jim Cameron. The mother of two credits her faith and her family for much of her success.

How did you get involved with this project?

Around six years ago I saw Sam Childers on Dateline NBC, and I was really overwhelmed by what he was doing in Africa. My heart was gripped how he was helping children, and I wanted to find out more about this guy. The more I got into his background, the more I thought this would be an amazing opportunity for a major motion picture.

What was Childers like?

Before his transformation, he hurt a lot of people. This was a real process for him. But he has a real message: Don’t dwell in the past and the pain; there is good in this world.

How did you enjoy the producing side?

Good stories are the language of our culture. I see a lot of people who are just trying to get through the day and are worried about tomorrow. If we can tell good, compelling stories that can motivate people and find purpose we can help them, which is why I started this in the first place.

What was the process like for you personally?

I’m exhausted, but it’s good exhausted. It takes a lot of perseverance and maybe a little bit of blessing. It’s a lot of hard work, believe me.

How did Gerard Butler get involved?

He was so moved by the story. He actually went to Pennsylvania and met the real life Machine Gun Preacher and lived in his community for a few days so he could get his head around who he was. When he came back he said, ‘I have to do this movie.’ He got paid nothing — I mean a fraction of a fraction of what he normally gets paid. So you can honestly say it was a labor of love. Something happened to him on his journey. He found about his life and his purpose about who he is as a human being.

What was it like working with a bonafide movie star?

He showed compassion on every level to everybody [on set] as well as many of his fans that followed him everywhere. He was a godsend to this project, and I want him to be blessed for the rest of his life. He made us all look good.

Madeleine Marr
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