Screenwriter/Director David G. Evans teams with Provident Films / The WTA Group(I Can OnlyImagine, War Room) to bring Indivisibleto theaters on October 26, 2018. Starring Justin Bruening (Grey's Anatomy, Hawaii Five-0) and Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy, Moms' Night Out), it tells the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather, as they deal with battles, both in war and on the home front. It's an intense, powerful film that doesn't shy away from real-life issues.
Script Magazine's Dan Goforth spoke with screenwriter/director David G. Evans about how this film reflected a personal interest for him, how he discovered the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife, Heather, the process of writing the film, and the film's very emotional impact on families and servicemen.
David: I have close immediate family in the military and my youngest son just went into the Air Force. There's of course been chaplains featured in movies for years, like small roles, but nothing where a story's been told really through the eyes of a chaplain: what they endure in addition to the normal hardships that soldiers face every day, the pastoral care they have to provide for the troops in addition to taking care of themselves. It's an awesome story!
On how he came across the story of Chaplain Darren Turner for Indivisible.
David: It's interesting that after I did my first movie back in 2011, called The Grace Card, I started writing a story about a chaplain. It took years to get the process started. But then I came across a series of articles about this chaplain and his wife. There were some newspaper articles and reports that CNN had done, various people during his deployment that had reported on on what happened with him and some of the troops. So I came across these articles and just said, "Wow, that sounds like an incredible true story!" Because we all know the divorce rate in the military is incredibly high and, when you think about a chaplain also whose marriage can undergo great stress as well, it gives a chance to look at it from a different perspective. I thought it would make a great story that would inspire other couples who are struggling to look at having an indivisible bond that cannot be broken.
On the process of writing the film and finding the theme.
David: While I did things in college, and of course in my church for 15 years, I never really read a book on screenwriting per se, But I've studied what other faith-based filmmakers have done. In the years of doing passion plays, writing scripts for that, I just took what I had learned personally and tried, during my process, to develop scenes—just try to see them in my mind like I did with these productions that I did for so many years... Just begin, as many people do when they're putting together a script, to try to piece together a story that would involve various characters that would interact with the chaplain—each presenting their own struggles that the chaplain would then be able to try to help each of them cope and deal with whatever situations they were facing. At the same time, with the chaplains character arc, you see him, his marriage, and his relationship with his family begin to suffer as you see these other relationships begin to improve.
There's a scene where, in Iraq, a young girl has been been killed and kind of caught in the crossfire. The young soldier who hands her lifeless body over to the chaplain begins to question, "How could your God let this happen to this little girl?" Those are questions that people always have: how can a good God let something like this happen to a precious life like this? We try to deal with questions like that in a manner that people will hopefully understand. That's another great example of how I think the film is really going to touch military families.
On how his own marriage influences his work.
David: I'm the screenwriter and I'm also the director and we're co-producers (David and wife, Esther), but we also work together every day, so we have an awesome relationship. We have been living and breathing this for six years, since we first met chaplain Darren Turner and his wife. My wife is also my biggest supporter and we kind of just bounce ideas off one another, whether it's who we're hiring to be in the crew, or what we're looking at as a location, or when it comes to deciding what scenes have to be cut when you're trying to get the movie down to a certain length. She's my sounding board and will help me understand or see things from a different perspective.
On how audiences are now beginning to look beyond "the label" with faith-based films.
David: I think the audience is expanding because of word-of-mouth: people are hearing great things about movies like War Room and I Can Only Imagine. Whereas, in the past, a certain segment of the population absolutely would never go see a Christian or faith-based film, I think they're beginning to trust a little bit more. But along with that, I believe we all know that the bar has been raised by excellent casting, by better cinematography, better scripts, and just a better movie in general.
On what he hopes the audience will take away from seeing this film:
David: We want people to have a greater appreciation for what our troops face on a daily basis, especially during a time of deployment. And another thing would be that we can have an impact on on marriages and relationships as people watch the film—that we can help them understand there's a reason why this film is titled Indivisible. That's really what the bonds of marriage should be—an indivisible bond. We hope they take away some of the lessons they see that couples face during the movie as they see the different storylines unfold. I think there will be things that everyone can identify with in the movie, whether they're military or non-military... there's something there for everyone to learn from.
Photos courtesy of Provident Films and The WTA Group
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