Re-sounding success of surprise hit film

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A faith-based film company has revealed the incredible real-life sub-plot behind its shock box-office hit.

Sound of Freedom, from Angel Studios, has surprised the film world by outperforming even Disney’s new Indiana Jones movie across the US, with latest figures showing earnings after three weeks of more than $130 million.

Sound of Freedom has taken on a life of its own,” said Brandon Purdie, distribution boss at Angel Studios. “We’re getting messages from all over the country telling us about sold-out theatres and spontaneous standing ovations.”

The Utah-based studio only bought the Sound of Freedom rights in March, expecting a modest return on a production exposing the fight against child sex traffickers. 

The film had been ‘on the shelf’ for five years, after being written in 2015 and filmed in 2018, when a distribution deal was struck with 20th Century Fox. Disney bought the famous Fox studio in 2019 and shelved Sound of Freedom. The faith-based film’s weekend US gross was more than three times that of Disney’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, according to the latest figures.

But there’s an even more incredible sub-plot to the film, with part of the production’s security team helping during filming in the real-life rescue of more than 200 children from traffickers in Cartagena, Colombia.

Eduardo Verástegui, the film’s producer, told to the Timcast IRL podcast that the wife of starring-role actor Jim Caviezel had insisted on the hiring of 30 ex-Navy Seals during filming in the notorious South American country. She refused to let her husband take the role unless the security team was hired.

Some of the former Seals, who were experts in child rescue, were instrumental in a major child trafficking rescue about two weeks into the filming. Verástegui revealed half the security team vanished from the set, and were later found assisting an undercover operation that rescued hundreds of children.

“Thank God for Jim Caviezel’s wife who said ‘no’ in the beginning,” Verástegui said.

“He’s brave. He’s a godly man, and I know he’s going to be an actor who is not going to just come here, play the role, go to the premiere, and then move to the next movie; he will stay with us until the end,” Verástegui said.

Caviezel plays former government agent Tim Ballard in the film based on a true story. Ballard quit his Department of Homeland Security job to dedicate his life to rescuing children from sex traffickers.

Caviezel previously portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ.

“We know this is heartbreaking, and it hurts to look at, but the first step in helping these children is hearing their story,” Caviezel said about his Sound of Freedom role. “Not enough people know this problem exists, and even fewer people are willing to do anything about it.”

Ballard told CBN’s Faithwire: “Everything is faith to me. Everything is knowing what Jesus says about hurting kids. He’s clear where he stands on it, and that gives you confidence in the Lord.”

Sound of Freedom was planned for release in the UK from September 1.

From New Life Newspaper issue 346

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