Mom’s Night Out
About the Guest
A new wave of cinema is gaining ground in Hollywood, and a new generation of media-savvy Christian producers and direction are riding the edge of that wave. Join us for an insider's view of motion picture business, with Kevin Downs, and Andy Erwin, producer and director of the new crossover comedy "Mom's Night Out" from Sony Pictures.
Alex KendrickAlex Kendrick is a follower of Jesus Christ and has a passion to tell stories of hope and redemption. He is a co-writer for the screenplays and books, and he's the director and editor for Kendrick Brothers' films. Alex has spoken to churches, universities, conferences, and businesses all across America and in other countries. He has been featured on FOX News, CNN, ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, Time Magazine, and many other media outlets. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State Universi...more
Andy ErwinAndy and his brother Jon are a directing team that focuses on creating faith-based and inspirational feature films. The duo began their career when they were teenagers, working as camera operators for ESPN in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. They soon embarked on fulltime careers as sports cameramen covering University of Alabama games all over the country. The brothers had the opportunity to work with ESPN College Football Primetime, FOX NFL, and the NBA, and covered events like the X Gam...more
Kevin DownesKevin Downes’ career of producing, acting, directing, and writing spans more than 20 years. Some of Kevin’s fan-favorite roles include Officer Shane Fuller in Courageous and the video-game-loving Kevin, in Moms’ Night Out. As a producer, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE is his third film with the Erwin Brothers, along with Moms’ Night Out and Woodlawn. He produced the critically acclaimed Like Dandeli...more
A new wave of cinema is gaining ground in Hollywood. Join us for an insider’s view of motion picture business, with Kevin Downs, and Andy Erwin, producer and director of “Mom’s Night Out.
Mom’s Night Out
Bob: Have you noticed that there are more family and faith-friendly movies showing up at your local Cineplex? Alex Kendrick has a role in the movie, Moms’ Night Out— that opens in theaters this weekend—is pretty excited about the trend.
Alex: These movies—made by people who love the Lord and want to honor Him—the caliber of quality is getting better, and better, and better. The Lord is blessing these efforts. They made sure that this was family-friendly—something valuable to say. You don’t just leave having been entertained, and laughed, and teared-up at times, but you leave with something redeeming, and wholesome, and affirming—great joy to work with these guys.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 9th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll talk about the movies today and about a movie that’s opening in theaters this weekend—a movie you may want to go see. Stay tuned.
Well, welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. I should let you know that what you are listening to today we actually recorded back in February when we were onboard the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise. Some of the folks on the cruise got a chance to have a sneak preview of the movie that is opening tonight in theaters all across the country. It’s the movie, Moms’ Night Out. What did you guys think of the movie? [Applause]
Dennis: And we have with us the producer, Kevin Downes, and Andy Erwin—join us on FamilyLife Today. How does that make you feel to hear response like that?
Andy: I would like this crowd to travel with us to every theater because you guys are awesome. [Applause]
Dennis: I think they are up for that.
Dennis: We also have Alex Kendrick with us, who is a friend, and who also stars in this movie. Glad to have you back with us on FamilyLife Today.
Alex: Awesome to be here.
Dennis: Great movie. It celebrates moms and motherhood. We’re all about that, here on FamilyLife Today.
Bob: Kevin, the last time most of our listeners had a chance to see you, you were the bad cop in Courageous; right?
Kevin: Yes. You know, jail did a good thing for me. [Laughter]
Dennis: Did you have some rehab there; did you? [Laughter]
Kevin: I learned to play video games in jail. It was really wild.
Bob: Tell us the story about this film—where the idea came from and the phone call that you got. It was kind of one of those instant: “We’ve got to make this movie,”-things; right?
Kevin: Well, you know what? One of the things I was blessed to be a part of was—
—Alex was very giving in allowing me to talk at various events about Courageous. It was actually an event in Ecuador that kind of—we started talking a little bit about Moms’ Night Out. I would get asked a lot about what I would be doing next as an actor. It was just—I believe God put it on my heart to want to make a film that was about moms. Most of the films I’ve done in my career have been very guy-heavy and guy-oriented.
You know, it’s a very risky venture to make a comedy like Moms’ Night Out because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a film like it. It’s so unique. It’s just really—it was so much fun to watch it with the audience today and to see their reaction. That was the reason why we made the film so that moms could really celebrate their lives and the journey that they go through.
Dennis: Andy, I watched the movie with my son-in-law, Jake, and my daughter, Rebecca. I was really interested to see what my son-in-law thought of this movie.
They were instantly drawn into this. This is one for both moms and dads; isn’t it?
Andy: Yes. What attracted us to the story was Kevin had been a longtime friend—and he brought us the script. We looked at it and said, “This is our lives.” John has three kids. He has a newborn, right now, and two that are under the age of five. Then, my wife, Mandy, and I have a five-year-old and a two-year-old. It was like everything in this script has happened to us, at some point.
I think we tried to have a point of view from the dads and the moms. It celebrates the chaos of parenting. You can either laugh at the hardships or cry. It’s a lot more cathartic to laugh. It allowed us to explore some ways to affirm our wives but in a way where we can laugh and have a good time. I think there is something for everybody.
Bob: Now, what if everything in the movie has happened to you and your brother at some point—
Andy: Yes, that call to child services—it’s actually happened—mostly to my brother. [Laughter]
As John started rewriting some of this stuff, people would look at the script and be like: “That’s not realistic. That’s never happened.” He’s like, “Yes, it happened on Tuesday.” [Laughter]
Bob: Kevin, tell us about casting this film because you got a lot of veteran Hollywood actors who got involved in this movie.
Kevin: This was actually a really easy movie to cast. I mean—this is how Alex Kendrick got involved. We were having breakfast in Mexico City: “I want to play the pastor.” “Alright! Done!”—that was about it. [Laughter]
A lot of the conversations—the first time we met with Sarah Drew—who plays Allyson—she was our top choice for it. We met with her for two hours—John, Andy, and myself. We knew, coming out of that—because she lives that character of Allyson. She’s a mom and she believes in the themes of the movie. She’s actually going out—speaking/representing the movie because it’s on her heart.
That’s what we wanted in this film—was actors who really believed in the themes and lifting up the themes of this movie. And we got it.
Everybody that we went out to said, “Yes.” Trace Adkins—John wrote the role of Bones specifically for Trace Adkins and didn’t know if he would say yes. When he read the script, he fell in love with it and immediately said, “Yes.” So, it was a really fun movie to cast.
Andy: And Alex and Kevin can attest to—very rarely when you do a film, do you get your first or second choice for actors. Across the board, God just opened up the door for us to get our first choice in every role. So, it was an amazing cast. It was a God-thing. And just—we knew that with comedy it rose and fell on how good the cast was. Everybody just played their part in harmony beautifully—so, it came together.
Also, I just want to take a second to say, “Thanks,” to Alex—that I think that a sign of a good leader is somebody that launches other leaders. It was on the set of Courageous that really kind of inspired John to get out of the boat and say, “Hey, we need to start telling our stories,” because of a challenge from Alex. He’s been supportive of us along the way. So, to collaborate on this one with him, being an actor in it,—
—is only the tip of the iceberg of the impact he’s had on us. So, “Thanks.”
Dennis: That’s cool.
Bob: That is cool. [Applause] Alex, in most of the movies you’ve been in, you have worked with non-professional actors. I mean, you have had a few guys like Kirk Cameron who you’ve worked with who has had some acting background. Was it a different experience for you to work in a movie with folks who have done TV and film for a number of years?
Alex: It was. But this was a great privilege for me, too, because, as you can tell—in speaking, even to the audience in front of me, that’s just seen in the film—these movies, made by people who love the Lord and want to honor Him—the caliber of quality is getting better, and better, and better. [Applause]
Alex: And we need that—
Dennis: We do.
Alex: —because—yes—my brother, Stephen, and I are striving with every project we do to make it better and better in honor of a God who does thing with excellence. So, we’re learning. And these guys, as you’ve already seen tonight, have a lot of talent.
So, the Lord is blessing these efforts. They made sure that this was a family-friendly—something valuable to say. You don’t just leave having been entertained, and laughed, and teared-up at times; but you leave [with] something redeeming, and wholesome, and affirming—great joy to work with these guys.
Dennis: Alex, I know you’re going to agree with this. I want to address the live audience here—but also the ones who are listening. There were props—there were things that showed up in the process that could only be attributed to God. Have you got one of those stories of how God provided something—either the financing or maybe it was the actors and actresses that He provided?
Andy: Yes, I think that on two occasions—one was the little baby boy that plays Beck that’s—his name is Zion.
We were looking to cast that part up until the day we started filming—the day before. And we were just like—with the kids, it was so—we were casting a lot of it in L.A. We just hadn’t found this right kid.
Then, the other two roles we were trying to cast were the two little Hispanic twins. We said: “Lord, we need twins that are not just Hispanic, but half-Hispanic, that are two-and-a-half years old. We can’t find them anywhere around.” We were sitting at a restaurant with Kevin and—.
Kevin: Yes, we’re not in California. We’re in Birmingham, Alabama. [Laughter] We are at a Cuban restaurant that’s located inside of a carwash. [Laughter] So—
Dennis: In Birmingham?
Kevin: In Birmingham!
Andy: Called Miami Café.
Kevin: And literally, I’m hyperventilating, at this point, going: “Okay, we start shooting in about two weeks. Where are we going to find half-Hispanic twin two-year-old boys?” And we just had this conversation that morning, and we finished lunch.
We walk outside. I turn around—and out—come, stumbling, these two-year-old, half-Hispanic twin boys. Both of us had our jaws drop. We couldn’t say anything.
Andy: It was like déjà vu. You saw the first one go by. You’re like, “Oh, he’s a cute kid.” Then, all of a sudden—like the same one came by, dressed the same way. I was like, “Kevin, go talk to them in a non-creepy way.” He goes over: “Hello, son! How old are you?” I was like, “Kevin, that’s the creepiest way you could talk to them!” [Laughter]
Kevin: Then, their mom must have looked at me like I was insane because I’m like, “We’re shooting a movie,”—and we’re in Birmingham, Alabama—anyway, it all worked out. They were really cute and hilarious, but God totally just dropped them in our laps. It was amazing.
Kevin: It really was. [Applause]
Dennis: Cool—second story?
Andy: Then, the same thing happened with the little kid, Beck. We were looking to cast the right kid. We needed somebody who just loved the camera and just was real natural. We just didn’t know anybody.
Then, the night before, I was talking with my wife, Mandy. I said, “You know, your friend, Natalie, has really cute kids; and she’s a photographer.” I was like, “Ask her to bring their youngest over.” She was like, “Yes.” We brought him over, and I filmed him with my iPhone®. He just loved the camera. We actually cast him that night and put him in front of the camera the next morning. He stole the show.
Dennis: Next time, call me. We’ve got 20 grandkids. We’ve got plenty who love—
Andy: Well, that’ll come when we talk to your agent.
Dennis: —the camera. [Laughter] Trust me, they love the camera.
Bob: Alex, let me ask you because you have been—well, I’m thinking back to when Facing the Giants came to theaters. What year was that?
Bob: That year, I think, that was the only Christian movie that came out in movie theaters the whole year, maybe. I mean, now in 2014, it’s like every couple of weeks we are seeing movies that are either Christian films made by Christians or biblical films made by Hollywood.
Alex: And may they continue—to honor God! [Applause]
Bob: What’s going on in Hollywood with all of this Christian movie stuff?
Alex: Well, for one thing, I think they’re acknowledging there is a large percentage of the population that loves God-honoring and family-honoring media. When we see it, we support it. As it gets better and better in quality, you’re going to see a growing arena of films and stories that honor the Lord.
If you remember, there was a time in the 40s and 50s—you know Ben Hur, The Robe, Ten Commandments—when these—Sergeant York—these types of movies were made on a pretty regular basis. I think we got off track for a couple of decades. As the tools become more available, and as we pour into the next generation of filmmakers that desire to honor the Lord, you’re going to see more of these types of projects. Praise God—may they continue.
Dennis: Andy, you and your brother started in your career in your childhood, really.
I want to ask all three of you guys this question because you’ve broken into an arena that we really haven’t been in a number of years, as you mentioned, Alex. If you could do anything in the world and couldn’t fail, what would you do?
Alex: You ask a great question. I think the Lord’s wired me to want to tell stories that draw people to a closer relationship with Him. So, that’s what I would do. To some degree, He’s allowing me a chance—
Dennis: You’re doing it.
Alex: —to do that. Yes, and so extremely fulfilling.
Kevin: Yes, for me, I—you know, the first film I produced was in 1998. What’s happening this year—in 2014—was a dream of mine in 1998—that there would be a dozen or so films that represent our core values, that honor God, and filmmakers that honor Him with their lives are pouring out their talent into it.
We’re all enjoying those films. We’re taking away something that draws us closer to God and really humbles us. I think that’s happening—that dream’s being fulfilled and realized now. And to answer your question, I’m living that. I wouldn’t do anything else.
Dennis: Cool. Andy?
Andy: Yes, well-said. I would definitely echo both of these guys. I think I’m not a naturally very ambitious person. I worked for ESPN for years. I was happy as a camera man, working for ESPN; but in the process of us having this hobby that grew out of control—I never thought that this would be the way we would earn our living—it’s just: “We have a hobby.”
Dennis: Nice hobby, by the way.
Andy: Yes, and in the process, men like Alex and Kevin challenged us that: “Hey, you have a voice too. Step off the sidelines and be willing to take that risk.” I think that the privilege of being able to work around and with men of honor—that have that passion to engage culture and not just snipe at it from the sidelines—
—but to engage culture with entertainment and film, I just count myself very privileged. Every day, I have to pinch myself that this is what I get to do for a living.
Kevin: And we all have a voice. Buy a ticket to Moms’ Night Out—that’s the film that’s coming out next to our radio listeners. That’s how we support and make a statement that these are the types of films that we want to see because Hollywood listens to that.
Bob: And opening weekend—this weekend is the right weekend to buy—
Kevin: That’s right.
Bob: —to go out and be in theaters this weekend—
Kevin: Yes, May 9th.
Bob: —because the opening weekend determines whether a movie is going to be successful or not; right?
Kevin: Yes, that’s right. Opening weekend determines a lot—more than I ever understood until about a couple of years ago. I mean, even though—like for Courageous, I was actually filming another movie during the opening weekend. I bought tickets for my entire cast and crew, after we wrapped opening weekend, to go see it—even though I was in it, and I had seen it 20 times—but we need to support the movies when they come out in theaters opening weekend to make a statement.
Bob: When you guys went back to California, with Moms’ Night Out edited, to show to the executives at Sony—sometimes, I know, they look at Christian films and they don’t necessarily get it. They had to get this film. What kind of feedback did you get from them?
Andy: It was pretty amazing. After spending 15 minutes before we showed the film, staring in the mirror in the bathroom, saying, “I’m going to throw up,” [Laughter] it was wonderful to walk it in. It’s a neat feeling when you feel like you’re not asking something from the audience that you’re not able to give back to them.
I think the cool thing about Moms’ Night Out is—I believe with it being on Mother’s Day weekend and everything—that this is an incredible gift that you can give the special woman in your life because it is entertaining. It’s not a heavy burdensome movie. It’s very much just something you’re going to leave refreshed and affirmed about your family values.
So, when we walked into Sony, I think it was really neat to see that: “Hey, this is different. This is something new.” They kept saying: “This is a great crossover movie. There is nothing offensive in it to the audience, but there is something very relatable about parenting.” Then, that gives us a really neat window to represent our worldview and values in that; but to do it, maybe, more subversively than ever before because it’s something so disarming about being able to laugh.
We sat in that room. One of the main executives that was in that room—his mom was sitting right behind me. He brought his mom. She was cackling so loud that I could not hear the dialogue. I was like, “Well, I think we’re doing something right!” So, it was good. [Laughter]
Kevin: To answer your question, we all—about 20 of them saw the movie. We did it in a theater. When we gathered at the round table afterwards, the first comment that was said—he goes: “You know, during the first ten minutes, my mouth, internally, was dropped. I couldn’t believe it. And all I could think was:
—“’‘Oh, please, don’t let this fall apart! Oh, please, don’t let this fall apart!’—
Dennis: Oh, wow.
Kevin: —“and it didn’t. You guys totally delivered.”
Bob: That’s encouraging when you hear that kind of thing. Well, again, opens tonight in theaters all across the country. We’re hoping that listeners will rally this weekend—make it a big weekend for the movie—not just for your guys’ success—but this really does make a statement to the industry about the kind of films that we want to see; right?
Andy: I believe that—with Alex—he’d probably echo this—is we’ve—the core of guys who are represented here and others that have come along the way—we have kind of “the next man up” kind of philosophy—that we all are supportive of each other’s voice. Early on, Alex and Stephen both encouraged us that we all have the same heartbeat / same mission—different jurisdictions of audiences that we can reach. Let’s cheer each other on. So, in supporting that, we’re continuing to be able to engage culture.
Alex: Absolutely, I think our films in the past—Fireproof, Courageous—
—heavier on the drama side. We needed some laughter. So, Courageous—to be honest, it has a few moments of laughter; but it’s a pretty heavy topic. I think it was needed; but at the same time, it—we also need the laughter, as well.
Bob: We should mention—you and your brother are right at the beginning stages of filming your next movie; right?
Alex: That’s correct, yes. Yes, we’re—
Bob: Can you—
Alex: —you know, let’s get Moms’ Night Out the momentum it needs and, then, my brother and I are heading into our next one. This time, next year, maybe we can be talking about that one. [Laughter]
Bob: Well, and we’re hoping that maybe next year, on the Love Like You Mean It cruise, we can have a sneak preview of the new movie from the Kendricks.
Alex: Would you all watch that? [Applause and cheering] Done!
Dennis: You know, I think I speak for moms and dads, all across the country—who are watching the family unit fall apart and be attacked as never before in the history of our country—
—who want to say, “Thank you for honoring moms.”
Dennis: They do. They are important, and we need to praise them. And Proverbs 31—I just have to read this. It says: “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband, also. And he praises her.”
In a way, you’ve brought a voice back to moms—and for that matter, dads. We just applaud all three of you for using your talents for the glory of God. Way to go, guys!
Bob: Yes, would you thank these guys? [Applause and cheering]
Bob: Well, fun to listen back to that conversation that we had with Kevin Downes, and with Andy Erwin, and with Alex Kendrick onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back in February,—
—as we were talking about the movie that opens tonight in theaters, all across the country, called Moms’ Night Out.
If you’d like more information about the movie, go to our website, which is FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says, “Go Deeper.” You’ll find a link there to the Moms’ Night Out movie website that’s got information about theaters—where the movie is opening this weekend.
You’ll also find information there about a Bible study written by Tracey Eyster and Sherry Surratt. It’s called Beautiful Mess: Motherhood for Every Moment. It’s a six-session study for a group of moms to go through. Whether you go to the movie or not, this would just be a great study to get together with a group of moms six times this summer. Go through this study about the priorities of motherhood. Again, find out more about the Beautiful Mess Bible study on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. You can order from us, online; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY for more information—
—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, we are still early in the month of May; but we are pretty excited around here about the matching-gift opportunity that has been made available to us by some friends of FamilyLife. These are folks who recognize that summertime is a time of the year when ministries, like ours, often see a decline in donations coming to the ministry. Of course, our bills still have to be paid in June, and July, and August. When donations decline, we find ourselves trying to figure out what to do to make sure our bills are paid.
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It’s a very generous offer. It will mean that we don’t have to push “Pause” on some of the projects we’re working on, but we can continue to press through the summer at full-speed.
We’re asking you to consider making a donation, today, knowing that your donation is going to be doubled. Would you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the page that says, “I Care”?—make an online donation. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. You can make your donation over the phone. Or if it’s easier, just write to us and include a check when you write to FamilyLife Today at P O
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However you get in touch with us, let me just say, “Thanks,” in advance, for your partnership with us in this ministry and for helping us take advantage of this matching-gift opportunity. We really appreciate your listening and appreciate your linking arms with us in the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend. And I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about a lot of the money issues that couples often struggle with in marriage. Russ and Julie Crosson are going to be with us. They are going to help us navigate through some of the important questions we need to be asking about how we handle money in marriage. Hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, with help from Mark Ramey. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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