Executive Producer Jerry B. Jenkins discusses Kevin Sorbo’s “What If…”
Author Jerry B. Jenkins has written over 175 books, including the popular Left Behind series and best-selling novel, Riven. His work has appeared in magazines like Time, Reader’s Digest, Parade and Guideposts.
Jenkins attended the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, The Loop College (Chicago), and William Harper College (Palatine, IL). He received honorary Doctorate degrees from Indiana’s Bethel College and Huntington University, Illinois’ International University and Colorado Christian University. Additionally, he taught advanced journalism in the graduate schools of Wheaton College, Moody, and Kenya’s Daystar University.
The former editor of Moody Magazine now chairs Moody Bible Institute’s Board of Trustees and is a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest. He owns the Christian Writers Guild that offers conferences, contests, critiques, community and several email courses taught by personal mentors.
Jenkins also owns Jenkins Entertainment, a Chicago filmmaking company that produced critically-acclaimed movies, such as Hometown, Legend, and Midnight Clear. The company’s 2010 release, What If…, directed by his son Dallas, won a Special Teddy Award in the category, “The Ten Best 2010 Movies for Families” at this year’s 19th Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, as well as garnered the Grace Award for “Most Inspiring Performance in Movies in 2010” for its male lead, Kevin Sorbo.
The Kalamazoo, MI, native was Executive Producer of the faith-based film that played in theaters nationwide for five months and is now available on DVD in stores, on Netflix and via the internet. His role was to “put up most of the money,” he stated in an interview with this writer.
“My son Dallas (the director) and I are big fans of It’s a Wonderful Life, and this is sort of a modern take on that classic,” Jenkins explained. “The best thing about working with Dallas is that we can talk in shorthand, speak bluntly to each other, and not worry about the future of the relationship. Plus, we know our areas of strength. He was born to do this. I’m a word and story man. He uses me where he needs me.”
Jenkins said that the message of What If… is to “be sure to follow your true calling.” He added that the audience response “has been overwhelming,” and that he was thrilled when the film and three of its stars (Sorbo, Kristy Swanson and John Ratzenberger) were nominated for Movieguide awards, “especially given that we seemed to be the only Indie (film) in the mix. Everybody recognizes the titles of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, etc. Being in such company gave us instant credibility and visibility.”
Regarding working with Sorbo, who played Ben Walker in the PureFlix release, and the actor’s subsequent Grace Award Jenkins maintained that the former Hercules (“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) and Captain Dylan Hunt (“Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda”) “proved to be a classy pro and much deeper than just an action hero, as many people know him from T.V.
“I wasn’t there (at the Movieguide Gala), but I was thrilled when Dallas texted that Kevin had won. Well deserved.”
Why should people watch and/or buy What If…?
“The humor alone would attract me to it,” stated Jenkins, “but it has so much more… great story, pathos, (and) deeper meaning.”
Buy What If… today! http://tinyurl.com/4dwuo7e
It’s also available on Netflix: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/What-If…/70170852
See these What If… websites for more movie information:
Here’s where to find Jerry:
[Photos by Jim Whitmer(l) and Beverly Bender(r)]