Talking About the Movie “The Second Chan
About the Guest
On today's broadcast, Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith and director Steve Taylor talk about their movie, The Second Chance, a film that authentically tells the story of how a rebellious son and a street-smart pastor struggle to bridge the gap between their respective churches and cultures.
Michael W. Smith and director Steve Taylor talk about their movie, The Second Chance.
Steve: I took a lot of film classes in college. They didn't have that film major yet, but I took all the classes they had. All the way back to college, filmmaking was the eventual goal.
And I love music, and music ended up being the thing that sort of presented itself first, but the idea was to actually get into filmmaking, Lord willing.
Bob: Well, it appears that maybe the Lord was willing. The movie, "The Second Chance," directed and co-written by Steve Taylor, opens in theaters this weekend, and it stars Michael W. Smith, who says making the movie had an impact on his life.
Michael: It made me take a real deep look into myself comparing Michael W. Smith with Ethan Jenkins in the movie. It made me probably just reflect, as Smitty, going, "You know what? You might need to take another look in the closet and see if you need to straighten some things out."
Bob: Whether it sounds like it or not, this is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 17th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We'll talk to Steve Taylor and Michael W. Smith about their new movie, "The Second Chance" on today's program.
And welcome to rockin' FamilyLife Today, the Friday edition. I'm Bob Lepine along with the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey.
Dennis: I kind of like that. Can we trade out our theme music?
Bob: That, of course, is Steve Taylor. He is the director of a movie that opens this weekend, a movie called "The Second Chance." He also helped to write that motion picture, and it stars, among others, Michael W. Smith …
Dennis: … who you had a chance to sit down with and interview, and I'm not too bitter. He's sold 13 million records, count 'em.
Bob: Now he's a movie star with the movie, "The Second Chance" opening this weekend and, as we mentioned, directed by Steve Taylor and co-written by Steve Taylor and Steve also came over to FamilyLife Today to show the film to our staff and to get some feedback from our staff, and during the time that he was here, we had the chance to sit down and talk with him, as well, about his thoughts about moviemaking and so today, with the thought in mind that there might be listeners who are interested in seeing this movie, we thought we'd talk to the director and also talk to one of the stars.
Dennis: And FamilyLife Today is going to go to the movies.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: You're going to get a chance to listen in to a few clips.
Bob: [From audiotape.] There have been people who have approached you in the past and said "How about a small role in this" or "What about – we'd like to consider you for a lead role in something like this." You'd always said no to that. Why? I mean, that would be fun, wouldn't it?
Michael: It never felt like it was the right thing, you know, and it just didn't seem like this is what God wanted me to do. Now "The Second Chance," that's a different story because it's a great story.
Ethan: Yesterday my eyes were opened to what goes on in our sister church. Maybe you all know my dad pastored Second Chance when I was a little kid, but I hadn't been down there in nearly 20 years. I could barely recognize the old neighborhood. It wasn't all hugs and smiles. It was hard work, some grim reality. I still think I've got a little gravy on my loafers right where the penny used to go.
It was a tough gig down there. I got to see Jake in action last night, and I'm here to tell you, he is the right man for the job. Jake, we've got these pledge cards here. Why don't you come up here and tell us what we're investing in?"
Bob: We see your onscreen relationship with Jake, right? Tell me a little bit about the relationship that developed between you and the actor who played Jake.
Michael: Well, he's a great guy. He's a professional on all ends in terms of the work he's done in Nashville. He's been in theater for 12, 13 years. So he's a professional.
Bob: He'd never made a major film before, had he?
Michael: He had never made a major film. He's pastored a church before.
Michael: Very interesting enough to know that and just a real pleasant guy to be around.
Jake: This morning I was stuck at a stoplight in my 'hood – that would be neighborhood to you, sir. This woman comes up holding what looks like a baby wrapped in a blanket. She's tapping at my window, asking for money, and I know that baby is a plastic doll, but she keeps tapping. So finally I give her a dollar just to get rid of her.
James, chapter 1 teaches us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Every year I feel like we come here tapping on your window, but our baby is real.
Bob: You know, for the moviegoer, one of the number-one questions is can that Michael W. Smith guy act? That's what everybody wants to know. I mean, you know, everybody thinks – we've all seen – we saw John Denver in "Oh, God," remember? So we all have seen guys …
Michael: Obviously, it was a risk on my part, although I felt like I could do it. You know, I always kind of made a joke, "This will either be the first or last movie I ever did." I don't really think it's going to be my last, and I say that, I think, with humility.
Bob: You'd like to do another film?
Michael: I'd like to do another one, but it has to be the right thing.
Bob: There's a scene where you come down to the church for the first time and ask, "Where is my office?" This is the inner city church. It's really – you've had a relationship with this pastor, but you're about to come into his world like you've never been in his world before, right?
Ethan: You got away pretty quick after Sunday service.
Jake: It's a big building, I didn't want to get lost in the crowd.
Ethan: Oh, I would have been happy to tell you where to go.
Jake: Exit's that way.
Ethan: Look, I gave you my pulpit time televised, and you use it to start a fight. Now I've got the whole church mad at me, like, I'm the one who wrote your "Get Whitey" speech. They called a board meeting, Jake, and I wasn't invited.
Jake: That makes two of us.
Bob: How old is your youngest, 13?
Bob: If your kids were eight, nine, would you take them to see "The Second Chance?" There's drug deals going down on the street …
Michael: … yeah …
Bob: … there's prostitution …
Michael: … yeah …
Bob: … there's language …
Michael: … mm-hm …
Bob: Would you take your eight-year-old to see it?
Michael: That's a good question. I'm trying to think where is the cut-off. I don't think it's probably the right film for six, seven-year-olds, at least, and maybe eight is in that category, too. So I think the parent is going to have to kind of judge – is it eight? Is it nine? Is it 10?
Bob: Maybe this is the question – would Debbie allow?
Michael: I think Deb would allow. I think that she would allow – well, I'll have to ask her that. That's a good question.
Jake: Oh, Ethan, this is Tamala. Tamala, this is a white man.
Tamala: Don't be changing the subject. You've got to stop them up there. Between my chemicals and their campfires, we could all blow up.
Bob: There are mature themes …
Michael: … there are …
Bob: … in the film, which are either going to open some conversation – kids have got to be at a level where they can engage on those themes with some understanding or they'll get confused by it and not understand it, and the fact that there was language in the film – was that an issue for you?
Michael: It was, to a certain degree, but I felt like it had to be in there or it would never be – I think the movie would have failed miserably.
Jake: I’m not asking for your money. I've got gifted children in my community who need some hands-on guidance.
Michael: If you had tried to make this movie a G-rated movie, I probably would have not done the movie.
Jake: My wife needs tutors to help women trying to escape the bonds of prostitution. We need after-school supervisors, Bible school teachers …
Michael: And I say that, you have to understand my thinking in that process because it's not real.
Jake: This is how we fix problems in America – we roll down our windows, toss out some money and drive away. So my message to you on Second Chance Sunday is this – if you aren't willing to come down and get a little gravy on your shoes, just keep your [expletive deleted] money.
Bob: The director of the film, Steve Taylor, who some listeners recognize as the same Steve Taylor who wanted to be a clone years ago and had a music career, but Steve was here not long ago, and I asked him about the issue of language.
Steve: I am very careful about my language, you know. It was not a hard decision if you use, you know, profanities in everyday life. But, you know, I mean, I grew up in a family that we just didn't talk say certain words, and we still don't.
Jake: Julius tell you he wants out?
Gangster: He knows how to get out.
Jake: Yeah. Did he tell you I'm through burying your ex-mules? Gangster, I'm talking to you.
Gangster: Man, look, my 'hood, my roots, my [expletive deleted].
[sounds of a struggle]
Jake: Do you see that cross over on top of that church steeple, do you see it?
Gangster: I see it.
Jake: Good, because anywhere in this neighborhood you see that cross, is my 'hood, and my rules say slavery is over. You take them rules for family, y'hear? And how about I bend your arm over your head?
Bob: The movie is going to debut, and there are going to be little write-ups in newspapers, and at the end it's going to say, "Rated" – what do you think? PG, PG-13?
Steve: PG-13, right.
Bob: And then it's going to say "mild profanity, allusions to drugs, prostitution." You obviously said, you know, this is the kind of movie I'm going to make, and that's how you came down, but you're still wondering if you made the right choice or not?
Steve: I think I made the right choice, but it was difficult, because as a youth pastor – and I realize that a lot of what we do is modeling, first of all, and that's one of the reasons why I've always rejected the notion that we're not role models because we know we are, you know, and it's very disingenuous to act like you're not, you know, no matter if you're in sports or movies or whatever, that's just how it is. And, at the same time, when you tell a story, you know, you're telling a story.
Woman: Yesterday Sonny told me that he had something on his heart he wanted to share at staff devotions. Are you ready?
Sonny: I've been reading in my Bible where Jesus did something special for His friends, His best friends …
Tony: Sonny, what are you doing?
Sonny: I need to ask forgiveness.
Tony: What are you talking about?
Sonny: Remember when you said it hurt like [expletive deleted], and I said God don't like it when we swear?
Sonny: I was more worried about you saying [expletive deleted] than about how you was feelin'.
Tony: I shouldn't have said that, Sonny.
Sonny: I judged you, and I ain't never been beat up like that.
Sonny: I love you, Tony.
Tony: I love you, too, Sonny.
Sonny: You're my best friend.
Bob: Your eight-year-old is going to be a 10-year-old and then a 12-year-old and say, "Dad, can I go see this movie," what are you going to say?
Steve: Well, thankfully, I don't have to think about that right now. I'm probably going to be a very strict parent, you know. I mean, I definitely believe stories – there are stories that are told for adults, and there are stories that are told for teenagers and above, and there are stories for the family. And this movie kind of falls somewhere in between. It's not a story for little kids. I think there's a lot of good things that a 10-year-old could get out of it.
Bob: I think, again, the thing, for me, even as I listen back to that conversation with Steve, I don't know when I've been to a movie where anybody addressed bad language as bad language – on radio, on the streets, in the Wendy's – we're hearing language, and nobody's thinking twice of it. Profanity has become so common, and nobody says there's anything wrong with it. You guys are at least raising a moral issue and having somebody say, "We're not supposed to talk like that."
And I had somebody say that the scene in the movie where one of the characters approaches another one, and initiates washing his feet – could not have happened as effectively if there hadn't been profanity to set that scene up.
You said you hope this isn't your last movie. What do you hope this movie will do for those who do go see it? You said it's changed you. How has it changed you?
Michael: I think it's changed me from the standpoint of, you know – well, first of all, I think I'm pretty good about thinking out of the box. But after doing this movie, I don't think out of the box enough. I think sometimes I put God in the box and going, "This is who God is."
Bob: Your box was pretty small?
Michael: My box was small. So it expanded my thought process of there's so much more about God I don't know, and He wants to change that. And you know what? I think the whole thing about the servanthood thing, you know, I feel like I've been fortunate to be able to serve in a lot of ways – compassion, Data, the crisis in Africa, and [unintelligible]. You know what? I can do more, I can do more, and it made me take a real deep look into myself comparing Michael W. Smith with Ethan Jenkins in the movie, and Ethan, obviously, has a lot of stuff to work through as well as Jake. And it made me probably just reflect, as Smitty, going, "You know what? You might need to take another look in the closet and see if you need to straighten some things out."
Bob: Well, again, that is movie star Michael W. Smith and movie director Steve Taylor. We've been talking about the movie, "The Second Chance," which opens in theaters this weekend. And, you know, you stop and think, over the last couple of months – back in December we had "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" open up.
Dennis: It's been a good year already.
Bob: And January – "The End of the Spear" open up. Would to God that there would be more movies at the Cineplex that would help us wrestle with real themes about faith and life and God and what life is really all about, because there's enough junk out there, we need to crowd the screens a little bit with some good stuff.
Dennis: There's something I want to say that's going to be controversial, though, Bob, because when we featured that interview around the movie, "The End of the Spear," and some of our listeners really took us to task for promoting a movie that had an actor in it who is an avowed homosexual, and now we've featured a Christian music artist who is starring in a PG-13, think about that.
Bob: And there is some use of profanity, as we talked about, in this movie.
Dennis: Yes, and here is my exhortation to you within the Christian community. In John, chapter 21, after Jesus had finished teaching, there was a disciple who was kind of going, "And what about him? What about him? What about him?" And Jesus response was, you know, "Do you love me? Then do what I've called you to do. Feed my sheep, tend my lambs, care for God's people."
You know, Steve Taylor is making a courageous effort within the Hollywood scene to produce a film that has a powerful, redemptive element and you know what? Unless you've walked several miles in that man's moccasins, I'd be careful about throwing stones at him for why he did what he did. Why don't you pray for the impact of that film? We all agree there's too much of the other. Well, here, as you've said, Bob, there are three offerings within the – one of the strongholds of the enemy, in my opinion – Hollywood. It's not producing films that have a Christian worldview, but there have been three produced that unashamedly do.
And we need to pray for the success of movies like that, and, in the meantime, we need to do what we're supposed to do, and let's not pick at each other with an icepick and just cut each other to pieces and try to find something wrong with what we all do. The time for criticism is over; the time for revival and for renewing our hearts to what God has set before us is now.
Bob: I have always felt like there may be matters of conscience where somebody says, you know, "I can't, of good conscience, go see this movie for this reason."
Dennis: I respect that.
Bob: I do, too, but when you start saying, "And you shouldn't, either," you have to be very careful that you're not lapsing into legalism, because the Apostle Paul said that some men eat the meat that was offered to idols, others don't. Let him who regards the day regard the day." We have to be clear to walk by faith, by conscience, in terms of what God is calling us to do, but let's be equally circumspect about our own tongue and how we employ it to do good or to do ill.
We have to be clear to walk by faith, walk by conscience to do what God is calling us to do, and I think we need to be informed by a well thought-through biblical worldview. You know, I've been helped by books like the one that Ted Baehr wrote called "The Media-Wise Family." It helps you think about how to use discernment around media choices. We've had Ted on FamilyLife Today. We've got copies of his book in the FamilyLife Resource Center. Ted's book is a helpful guide that you can work through together as a family so that you can cultivate discernment about media choices.
If you want to know more about the book, go to our FamilyLife Resource Center, and you'll find information there about the book. Again, it's called "The Media-Wise Family." If you want more information go to FamilyLife.com, in the center of the screen you'll see where it says "Today's Broadcast," just click there, and that will take you to a page where you'll find more information about Ted's book, and you'll also notice that we have the soundtrack for the movie, "The Second Chance" in our FamilyLife Resource Center as well. Sixteen songs on the CD from folks like Third Day and Jars of Clay and, of course, Michael W. Smith and Fred Hammond and Andre Crouch and even a song on here from the American Idol winner in season 3, Ruben Studdard. So if you're interested, again, go to our website, FamilyLife.con. Click where it says "Today's Broadcast," and you'll find information about the CD there and about Ted Baehr's book, "The Media-Wise Family."
You can also call 1-800-FLTODAY if you'd like more information about these resources. Again, it's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
You know, our goal here at FamilyLife is to encourage you and to equip you to effectively develop your family as a godly family; to apply the Scriptures to the choices you're faced with every day in your marriage and in your family. Our radio program and, really, all we do here at FamilyLife is designed to help meet that goal.
And we are joined in that mission by a number of folks who are not only listeners to our program, but from time to time we hear from these folks who write or call to make a donation to FamilyLife Today to help support this ministry, to keep us on the air in this city and in cities all across the country. And this month we have come up with a special way to say thank you to those of you who can make a donation to the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Our friends, Jody and Linda Dillow, were speaking at a FamilyLife event a number of months ago, and they were talking about marital intimacy. Their message was called "The Four Flames of Intimacy." We thought it was an outstanding presentation, and we thought during February you might be interested in listening to a CD of that message. We want to make it available as our gift to you when you make a donation of any amount during the month of February and, if you'd like, you can donate online at FamilyLife.com. As you fill out the donation form, you'll come to a keycode box, and you need to write the word "flame" in that keycode box in order for us to know that you want the CD sent to you. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY to make a donation over the phone and just mention that you'd like to have the CD about marital intimacy sent out, and we'll be happy to get that to you as well.
Again, that's for a donation of any amount during the month of February. It's our way of saying thank you, and we do appreciate your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Well, we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can be back with us on Monday, particularly if you've experienced conflict in any of your relationships with friends recently. We're going to have a couple of women joining us on the program who were writing a book about resolving conflict when they had a big blowup, and we'll tell you how they applied their own medicine in their relationship. That's coming up on Monday's program, I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.