Action, romance, deception, supernatural powers, intrigue and plot twists! Sounds like the making of a superhero film. But unlike these comic-turned-live action characters, “Samson” opening in theaters on February 16, is based on a real person in history.
The stormy story of Samson can be found in Judges 13-14 of the Bible. He is a Hebrew, dedicated to God as a Nazarite, set apart to deliver the Israelites from captivity from the Philistines. God equips him with superhuman strength for this purpose, and Samson becomes a human weapon of mass destruction. But because of a stream of disobedience and compromise (namely due to women), Samson loses this favor from God and his strength leaves him, ultimately enslaving him. But, God’s mercies are great, and he honors the now humbled Samson’s request for one last act of bravery and strength to defeat the enemy.
Pure Flix, the leading independent faith and family studio in the world, has taken on this riveting story of Samson and is bringing it to the big screen. Producing top quality films such as “The Case for Christ,” “God’s Not Dead,” “God’s Not Dead 2,” “Do You Believe?” “Woodlawn,” and many more, the studio is lauded for shining the Light on today’s thirsty theater-goers. Although they’re not new to making biblically-themed movies, producing “Samson” came with its own challenges and surprises, as producer Brittany Yost will attest in the following interview.
A Sneak Peak at the Making of “Samson”
GN – So Brittany, why a movie about Samson?
BY – It happened that the completed script of “Samson” was brought in to us at Pure Flix and because of the richness of the text and the extensive research done on the historical background, we knew we wanted to bring it to life on the screen.
GN – The cinematography is captivating. Was it a challenge in finding a location to fit the biblical profile?
BY – It does come with unique challenges that are not found in contemporary films. Usually these films are made in the Middle East but ours was set in South Africa. Filming there turned out to be a blessing. Because of a TV show that was shot there, we were able to use some of their props and sets for the “Samson” film. And though the cost of living for our crew was reasonable, tapping into their own talent helped significantly. They have an incredible crew base there. One of the directors is actually from South Africa while director Bruce MacDonald is from the U.S.
GN – Taylor James, the actor who plays the title role is of course…massive, but he brings to the screen a genuine quality that makes him more human.
BY – Yes, it was important to have Samson a character that resonates with the audience. We have tremendous talent in the film: Billy Zane, Jackson Rathbone, Lindsay Wagner, Rutger Hauer, Caitlin Leahy,…all are great.
GN – I have to say I’m impressed with keeping the film a PG13 rating when the story of Samson is loaded with violence and sexual innuendo. How did you pull that off?
BY – It was imperative to find a balance in keeping the story truthful yet not making it explicit. The combat scenes are action-packed but not gruesome.
GN – And the character of Delilah seems more than just a seductress.
BY – It was vital to us to make the characters relatable. This sometimes meant rewrites right before shooting. Usually we see Delilah as a single-minded manipulator. We wanted to show vulnerability that often comes from being the one manipulated, or even abused. We’re seeing it happening more and more in today’s culture with reports of sexual harassment. So even a biblically-themed movie can still have relevance in today’s environment.
GN – With all the superhero films out there, would you consider Samson a superhero?
BY – A Christian superhero, maybe. His physical strength comes from God — not of his own power. But he’s a hero beyond the supernatural endowment. There is a complexity to his character, as in each of us. Our hope is that everyone in the audience will identify with the character. That each of us has a specific calling from God: a higher purpose beyond ourselves. And though we may disobey or fail at times, God is there to redeem us. He is the God of overwhelming love.
GN – What do you hope audiences take away with them after seeing “Samson”?
BY – We want to bring life to the Bible. We want to bring the truth to the screen. The story of Samson is one of passion, betrayal and redemption. It’s a depiction of life that people can connect with and see things in a new light: HOPE. We pray that “Samson” inspires all of us to recognize that our failures do not have to define our future. The Lord gives us the strength to accomplish His purpose and to become the person He created us to be.
“Samson” will be out in theaters February 16. For movie times and theaters near you go to Samson.movie.
Chris Alexander is a freelance writer and an aspiring humble servant of Our Lord Jesus Christ. She can be contacted at [email protected].