Octavia Spencer, Radha Mitchell, and William P. Young Discuss the Faith Behind ‘The Shack’

Costume SuperCentre Canada

The Shack Interviews

William P. Young didn’t set out to become a self-publishing sensation with his novel The Shack, but the book has found a massive audience and has sold over 30 million copies and is now getting the cinematic adaptation with an adaptation directed by Stuart Hazeldine. The story of a grieving father (played by Sam Worthington) who spends a week with God in an idyllic shack nestled within the snowy woods aims to examine large theological questions through an everyman’s conversations with the divine being (played by Octavia Spencer). Ahead of its release, I had the chance to discuss the resonance of The Shack with the film’s stars Octavia Spencer and Radha Mitchell as well as the novel’s author William P. Young.

“We intended to publish but 26 publishers turned it down,” author William P. Young recalled of the long journey to bring his novel to readers. “The faith based people, half of them were Christian publishers and half of them were secular press, and they had one issue in common: that is – what is this? Where were we gonna put it? The faith based people thought it was too edgy and the secular people thought it had too much Jesus in it. So I got caught between edgy and Jesus. You know what? I found out a whole lotta people are in the same place.”

Rejection didn’t deter Young and his partners and soon they set forth to handle publishing duties on their own. “Because I don’t know anything about publishing, so I asked the question: ‘How hard is it to publish a book?’ Two guys here in California created a little publishing company to do it, $500. You know, whatever it cost to start a publishing company,” he recalled. “We set up a website. We pooled our resources; I had a friend who loaned me some money, one of the guys had some savings, and the other guy had a Visa and Mastercard. We ordered – how many do you order? – we ordered 10,000, which we were told later is 8,000 in your garage in two years when you’ve run out of friends and family. We had no marketing. We had no promotion.”

Word of mouth spread and copies passed hands, and soon The Shack was an independent publishing sensation. “Out of that garage, two storage units, and the local printer, in the first 13 months – because 13 months later the two guys, Brad and Wayne, who own the publishing company, they entered a joint venture with Hachette who took book internationally – but in those 13 months we spent less than $300 in marketing and advertising and shipped 1.1 million copies,” Young said.

“I mean, we’re brilliant,” he said jokingly. “It’s totally a God thing. We had no idea what we were doing.”

For actress Radha Mitchell, she encountered the film’s script before encountering the novel. “I read the script and was just moved by the story, crying at certain scenes. I felt like, ‘Wow, there’s something very simple yet very profound about this.’ It kind of reminded me of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life,” the Australian actress said. “There’s something very magical about it.”

The film’s messaging resonated with Mitchell. “It does affect you weeks later,” said of the material. “Oh, I might reframe the way I look at this situation because I don’t have to have this sort of agenda. But that’s very personal and I think when you see the film and obviously it will move you, but what’s interesting is the week or two later, maybe a year later, when you remember a moment in your own life. And you’re like, ‘Oh, I could look at this situation differently.’ I think it’s a pretty magical movie when it does get into your conscious that way, and I think that movie does it.”

Unfortunately, Radha Mitchell didn’t share any scenes with her co-star Octavia Spencer. “I just met her today. We haven’t met, obviously, because we were in completely different scenes in parallel stories,” Mitchell said of her co-star. “She’s in all of these movies recently that have these very positive agendas. It’s something in her, obviously something she wants to put into the world, and something people are recognizing in her that she’s got this light.”

Unlike Radha Mitchell, Octavia Spencer had read The Shack before it was due to become a movie. “I read the book independently of any movie talk. I read the book a few years ago. So I am one of the legion of fans,” the Academy Award winning actress said. “So when I heard that [producers] Gil and Lani [Netter] were thinking about making a movie about it I went there to convince Gil why I needed to be Papa.”

She continued, “Reading the book, I learned something different. After the playing the role, I learned something very different. When you have to prepare to play God and walking away from that you realize just how tough God’s job is and I don’t want that job.”

Stepping into the role of God, or Papa in the movie, wasn’t a daunting task for the acclaimed actress. “It’s not the role, it’s the material as a whole,” she said. “I loved the message of the book. I loved that Paul wrote this book where a regular man has a conversation with God and he asks some hard-hitting questions and I liked the way God answered. I thought it was a unique way to look at religion and for regular people to look at their role and how they basically influence their environment.”

As for the meaning behind The Shack, don’t expect Octavia Spencer to be confirming or denying what people take away from the film. “I hate to tell people what they should think because I really have an aversion when people tell me what to think. I like to present the material and let you draw from it what you need,” Spencer said. “I just know that the one thing that we have in common is challenges. No one lives a challenge-free life and Mac is definitely an example of someone who experiences a lot of challenges. As a young boy, he’s abused by the one person he should be able to trust more than anyone, his father. And we can identify with that. Some of us can identify with depression and guilt, and how grief can be paralytic. There’s definitely some universal things in it. I also think that our challenges make us unique and how we deal with them make us unique. What I love about this film is that it puts the information out there and based on your individual needs there’s so many, so many things you could draw from.”

Now that his novel is a major motion picture, William P. Young entrusted the cast and crew behind The Shack to faithfully adapt his work. “I had no concerns,” the author said of the adaptation process. “Maybe I’m an anomaly. Maybe it helps that I have no idea what I’m doing. When it got to that place, it’s an issue of daily trust for me. I believe in a God that is good all the time and involved in the details of my life. I don’t have to live with expectations because they’re just disappointments waiting to happen. Living inside the grace of the day, you deal with what’s right in front of you and when came time to let it go it was the perfect move. It was the right move.

“I’ve got no complaints,” he said. “When you learn to live without expectations everything’s a gift.”

 

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Super Troopers 2
‘Super Troopers 2’ Commits to Lazy, Uninspired Jokes About Canadians

The comedy troupe Broken Lizard created the cult comedy Super Troopers...

The Devil and Father Amorth
William Friedkin Revists ‘The Exorcist’ in the Ridiculous Documentary ‘The Devil and Father Amorth’

The Exorcist remains one of the high points of the horror...

Deadpool 2 teaser
The Final Trailer for ‘Deadpool 2’ Teases the X-Force

  “So dark. Are you sure you’re not from the DC...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Ripstone Games Announces ‘The Spectrum Retreat’ Coming This Year

BAFTA YGD Award Winner Dan Smith brings The Spectrum Retreat to PlayStation 4, Xbox...

Point-and-Click Horror Game Without Escape Heading to Steam

Myst-like point-and-click horror game Without Escape heading to Steam, itch.io and Windows...

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr Release Date

Lesquin, FRANCE – April 19, 2018 – Neocore and Bigben, along...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
8.5/10
Bloodshot Salvation #8

Bloodshot Salvation #8  Story by: Jeff Lemire Art by: Renato Guedes Release...

VIZ Media Announces New Manga Acquisitions at C2E2 2018

New Titles Announced For Publication Include Junji Ito’s FRANKENSTEIN, The JUNI...

Japanese Metal Dance Unit BABYMETAL Becomes a Graphic Novel!

Z2 Comics Announces APOCRYPHA: THE LEGEND OF BABYMETAL, An Original Graphic...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
MSI Unveils New Line of Gaming Laptops Powered by Intel 8th Generation Processors

The new line includes GS65 Stealth Thin; the GT75 Titan, the...

Brewery Ommegang and HBO® announce Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Beer

Brewery Ommegang and HBO® announce Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, second beer in Game...

New 120Hz Model of Critically-Acclaimed 35-Inch Curved AGON Gaming Monitor

AOC Announces New 120Hz Model of its Critically-Acclaimed 35-Inch Curved AGON...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Roxy Astor Meets With GLOW…the Netflix Version

As much as people love drama, there was nothing but love...

LFC 25 Showdown at Sam’s Town Full Results

Updating the tradition of Foxy Boxing in what I like to...

The AfterGLOW Cruise Heats Up New York

I was 8 years old when the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
COMICS on the CAN – X-CLUB!

Science Hoooooo! The X-Club pulls out the super bork on eleven...

Samo Says – Easter in Jerusalem, Finding Holiness in the Face of Temptation

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them...

Adult Continuity – Defenders XXX

Who wants to see a low budget porn parody of the...

Event News Event Reviews
FINAL FANTASY XIV Orchestra Concert 2018 – Eorzean Symphony

FINAL FANTASY XIV Orchestra Concert 2018 – Eorzean Symphony Performed live...

Back To The Beach Festival Returns to Surf City April 28th and 29th

KROQ, Travis Barker and John Feldmann come together to announce Back...

Wondercon Anaheim 2018 in Photos

Last weekend was Wondercon 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center in...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...

%d bloggers like this: