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A conversation with Max McLean


WORLD Radio - A conversation with Max McLean

In this stand alone special edition of Listening In, host Warren Smith talks with Christian actor Max McLean.

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Warren Smith: Well, Max McLean, welcome to the program. It's a real honor to chat with you. I've been looking forward to this for a good long time. And I do want to talk about your movie, The Reluctant convert the most reluctant convert, I should get it right. But I want to back up if we could maybe kind of at the beginning and just talk a little about the arc of your life. I mean, you were born in Panama. You came to the United States when you were four years old. I know your dad had a military career. Can you can you sort of fill in some gaps there? What was going on in that area of your life?

Max McLean: Yeah. Well, my my father, stepfather, he met my mom in Panama and married her and brought us. I was four years old, brought us to America, didn't speak any English. He was a very young GI, mom was a ticket taker at a movie theater, I think they met at the movie theater. And we came into New York Harbor Statue of Liberty at the West Side passenger terminal on 48th Street, which is about 10 minutes from where I lived for 15 years. So that was kind of ironic. And then we traveled with, the first thing to do is learn and master the English language - been working on that ever since. And we went to 10 different, I remember going to, dad made a career in the military. I went to 10 different schools in between first grade and 12th grade. And, you know, when you're in that kind of world, you got to make your mark. And so I made it mostly in sports, football, and basketball and track - did well in those. And I think that may have had some bearing in going to the theater in college, I didn't do any theater until I got into college. But that's how the theater bug bit.

WS: Well, and you went to the University of Texas, and my my understanding is that you, at least in part got into theater, because you were shy, you had stage fright, and you were wanting to use the theater arts to help you overcome that fear. Is that accurate?

MM: Yeah, that's true. That's true. I was an upper level, constitutional history class, taught sort of Socraticly that there's like 10 people in the class and, and I just really was a wallflower. He didn't hear my voice till the last sort towards the end of the semester. And one time he called me and I just froze, turned red and blue and had sociaphobia. So I thought I'd go to the weird part of campus and take an oral interpretation class. And that's how the bug bit. Yeah, that's right.

WS: Well, so you, you end up graduating from the University of Texas. And is it at this point that you decide that you are going to make a career as an actor or in drama? Or did that come earlier? By the time you graduated, did you already know that that was the direction that you were?

MM: Well, I knew I was going to pursue it. You know, I'm not sure I was clear minded enough to think that it would I would succeed. But I said, Okay, I do want to pursue this and see where it goes. And then what was interesting, about a year later, I came to Christ. And that was really interesting, because I think that was where the, the germ of fellowship began. Because I love story, and theater is storytelling. And an actor's job is to use one's voice, body and mind to, to illuminate great ideas, great literature, great thoughts, and, and then, and then all of a sudden, I was confronted with the gospel. And really I thought immediately emerges, how do these two fit how do they come together? And so that was a, that was an idea that came very early on. I didn't know what would come of it, but I just felt like it would. And I was in England and sort of English Christians are a little bit different in American Christians. So that, I think is because there's such a minority there, that, you know, the idea of, of your faith, working out your faith and fear and trembling, it seems to be more of a thing. When I came back to America, you know, Christianity felt like you were joining a country club. Sure. So it was a different kind of thing. There was, I mean, obviously, there's very serious Christians, but there was also this real cultural aspect to it. And the idea that I had for Fellowship, just it didn't register with a lot of people. But it registered with a few people. And slowly they sort of said, Okay, Max, we'll, we'll see where this goes. And that's how Fellowship began. Yeah,

WS: I want to pause at this stage, Max, because you've already introduced three or four, I think, important events that I want to unpack just a bit. One is coming to Christ. You said you came to Christ about that time 1976. I've done a little bit of reading and I want you to either D bunk, what I read, you know, you can't believe everything you read on the internet. Right. And or confirm i My understanding is that you were raised in kind of a nominal Catholic home, and that it was your white now wife who really introduced you to faith. Is that accurate?

MM: Yeah. When I say nominally Catholic, I probably should clarify that because I do remember as a young boy, the mass and the gospel had an impact. And I remember catechism classes being really inspiring in a kind of strange way. Not a strange way, in the way it's intended to be. But I did, I did notice that, you know, once you were confirmed, you were kind of on your own. Right? And so you there was no structure. And, and I didn't ask for structure. So I really, I really kind of went far afield and didn't even really notice it. But you know, and then all of a sudden, the church had no bearing. And then I did have, in my freshman year of college, I did have a religious experience that was very frightening. And I felt like it was God calling me and I just was running away. You know, Lewis talks about amiable agnostics talk cheerfully about man's search for God, that says, might as well be talking about the mouse's search for the cat. That's sort of how I felt is, you know, I it was, it was horrifying, because I recognized a that I was a sinner, and I recognized that I would want to, I'd have to, I'd have to change my life.

But I also recognized in that early stage, that it was true. I mean, at least, at least, it it was compelling. But it was too dangerous. So I ran away. And then and then when later when I met my wife, and she introduced me, you know, the I remember, I was going to be with her on Sundays, I'd have to go to church, and the church experience wasn't very compelling, except I remember the Lord's Prayer, that part of the liturgy was to recite the Lord's Prayer, and I, and I knew the Lord's Prayer. So that kind of triggered that early childhood thing that was really powerful. And then the one of her friends came up and said, you know, found out my history, I had a background as a history major. And he said, You know, Jesus was a person in history, just like Lincoln, just like George Washington. Well, that was news to me, because for some reason, you know, intervening years, I, I, Jesus became fairy tales. And so that little thought Jesus was personal history triggered something in my brain that said, okay, you know, it actually what it did it awakened a part of my brain had been dormant. And that was, that was a very watershed moment, because it got me to read the Bible. And, and then I read John's Gospel in one sitting, I thought Jesus was gonna come out of the pages. And and, you know, I had a born again, experience. I was about 23.

WS: Yeah, well, you know, Max, I don't want to make too much of this, but I hear you tell your story. And having recently seen The Most Reluctant Convert, it's kind of easy to see some parallels between your life and CS Lewis's life, you know, you both became believers, as a young adult, you both became believers out of a religious background that was, you know, nominal, or that you would reject it as an adolescent. So am I reading too much into this?

MM: Well, there is a couple of differences. You know, he was Protestant and, and the main reason you were Protestant, is because you weren't Catholic. And, and in his case, it was extremely political, you know, your religious face with a political statement. That wasn't the case for me. The other thing, too, is, is the gentleman you're comparing me to is 10 times smarter than I am?

WS: Well, I Okay. I appreciate that humility there. And I would say another thing about Louis. I mean, I think it would be fair to say, and I would be curious about your perspective, because I know you've tried to get inside his mind and inside his heart deeply as, you know, someone who has portrayed him in a number of in many different settings. But Lewis strikes me as a man who was deeply traumatized by the war, that he was, in a very real sense suffering from what we might today call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Do you agree with that?

MM: I'm sure of that. Yeah, he had, he had horrible nightmares. And in addition, it was kind of, you know, he it was kind of the last of a trifecta, because, you know, he lost his mother to cancer when he was about eight. And then that completely destroyed all serenity in his life. He had a terrible relationship with his father. And then You know, he goes into the butchery of World War One, where, you know, he saw these wounded men looking like crushed beetles. And the idea of it is, is them kind of squirming and that being so normative, and it was a normative experience. And he thought the irrationality of that, you know, that, you know, what a departure from normal, rational life. And this being so normative, that he came to the conclusion, either there's no God behind the universe, or God indifferent to good and evil, or worse, an evil god. And one of my favorite lines in the play in the movie, is, he tells you that, you know, he comes back to Oxford, 1919. He, you know, he went to war in 1980, and was wounded after five months. And then, you know, after his recovery, he goes back to school and, and when he goes back to school, the war's over. But he notices that his particular college was University College, I think, hadn't had a meeting hadn't had a regular meeting since 1914. And then they read the minutes of the last meeting that they had. And it awakened him to the the fact that a whole generation of young men were lost. And he called it such a waste. And that, you know, that kind of redoubled his thought. And somebody asked him, he says, Were you much frightened in France? And he goes all the time, but I never sank. So low as to pray.

WS: Yeah, yeah.

MM: That really tells you where he came from. Yeah.

WS: Well, I want to return to Louis, later because your career is so much about Louis at least lately. But before we do that, I want to ask you a few questions. I want to, I want to stick to Max and not to Jack if I could, just for a moment. And so you become a believer around 1976. You get married about that time as well. I wasn't able to get some clarity about this maM, in my online searches. Did you go to seminary as well?

MM: I went to seminary a little bit later. But at that time, I went to drama school. When we were married, Sharon was teaching the American School in London. And I was a student at drama school. And then when I came back to America, a couple of years later, 19 I think this was 76. I came back American in late, late, late 70, like November '78, and got involved in a church realize that Theatre in New York was not what I was thinking and to make a living, you'd have to do all these commercials. And I thought, and by that time, it was interesting. I, you know, my faith was was really growing. You know, I realized you can't serve two masters. And I just sort of felt like, is this what I really want to do? Because it just, and I saw so many young actors, I was like, 24 at the time, so many young actors just struggling, just compromising so much. I mean, these are not even Christians. They're just just trying to survive and, and New York in the late '70s was just a brutal place. You know, it was just not a good place. It is like it is now.

WS: Well, in fact, I won an interview that I read that you did a few years ago Max said that you that that era in your life, you said you found acting both demanding and unfulfilling, because it was other people's words, and while an actor at some level, you know, has to assume the role, you know, of course, whenever you're portraying Louis you're gonna put Lewis's words in your mouth, you're not gonna make up words for CS Lewis, so to speak, but still, you got to believe them at some level, I'm guessing. Is that what you were struggling?

MM: Well, I felt that way. That's what I enjoyed. Because, you know, in drama school, you're dealing with Shakespeare, you're dealing with Shaw, you're doing IPs and you're just, you know, you're just your brain is just synapse thing all the time, that's all and then you come up and you just do schlock and stuff. And it's very demanding to get even that kind of work. You know, because there's this this 40 actors will take that job you don't take it and and then you you you have to pound the pavements. You know, it's really a numbers game. I mean, there's there's to succeed in the theater, you need two kinds of talent, you need the talent to do the work the acting, you know, the the the creative talent, and then you you really need the the perseverance and the discipline to go through the ropes of trying to get an agent to do all those casting calls. And do that you know, because most of the jobs you get don't pay if they pay anything, they pay very little. So you have to have two jobs. I was married and then when my my first child came in 1980 I since I I can't do this. I can't do this. And what happened, so that that felt like a failure. So that I, you know, and what I was going, we were going to really good church in New Jersey that that had so many good things going for it night, and it was such a healthy place. And I'd never been to a place like that, you know, I really grew. And that's when I decided to, to go to seminary. I went to seminary for just a couple of a couple of semesters. But there were some people at that seminary that found out I have theater background, they said, Why don't you use your skills and techniques to do ministry? And that's kind of the beginning of the rest of my life.

WS: Yeah, well, in fact, I read an interview max that you did, where you quoted, the great critic Harold Clurman, who said that part of the secret of the theater is that you can make people laugh. And while their mouths are open, you can pour in the truth. It strikes me that while not everything that you do is to make people laugh, what you do is you do make people sometimes go "Aha", and open up their mouths, and you can kind of pour the truth in that way. Right?

MM: Well, it's the, that's the nature of entertainment, in its in its most positive sentences, is you just allow people to relax, and to receive without, you know, the, the idea of, of a lecture is either, you know, you're studying it to learn it, or you're critiquing it, you know, you're, you're challenging it. When theatre's working, when entertainment's working, you're just allowing things to relax and receive, then that's one of the reasons I think theater is so important, you know, because it puts you in a different place you you go into a darkened room, and you're with several 100 other people. And if it's working, then the whole event becomes like a single mind. Yeah, and it's a, it's a very, it's a very powerful experience that you rarely get other places.

WS: So Max, what was the pivot point for you, when you know, you're a young man, you're acting, you're also trying to raise a family and nurture your Christian faith as well. And realizing that it's going to be extraordinarily difficult to sort of square all of that - family, career and Christian faith. So at some point, you kind of take matters into your own hands; you decide, I, it seems to me from looking at the outside of your career, that you said, if I'm going to if this is going to work, I'm gonna have to make it work, I'm going to have to develop some entrepreneurial skills in addition to the acting skills to make this work financially. First of all, do I have that right? And secondly, if I do, what was the turning point? When did you come to that conclusion?

MM: Well, there was a couple of turning points there. One was, when I went to seminary, some of the faculty there, you know, sort of said, Listen, we have a lot of people doing this kind of work, you know, pastoral work, or missionary work. We don't have anybody doing what you're doing. So I think we should figure out a way, you should figure out a way to, to see how you can use your unique skills, and talents and experiences. You know, one of my favorite verses is work out your salvation in fear and trembling, for hit is God who works in you're willing to act according to His good purposes. So there's a certain way of how do I work this out? You know, how do I work it out? And then it's God working in me, you know, both those two things are happening. And so how that manifests itself is, I thought, Well, why not use the skills and techniques developed in the theater and apply it to the Bible. And so I started memorizing Mark's gospel. And, and when I did it, the first time I did it, it was like an event waiting to happen. I mean, the response to it was so profound, because nobody ever seen it. You know, and people talk about the gospel, but they don't experience the gospel. And I think anytime you do this, well, the Lord is going to really use it. And so what happened, this would have been the early 80s, mid 80s. I was being invited to churches, and usually it was in denomination, I was dealing with Christian ministry in our lives. And then there's this very famous pastor with a Presbyterian denomination that he saw me at a small church in Florida, and he said, Young man, the Lord keeps you humble. He's going to use you. And, and then he proceeded. So to type out at the use of regular typewriter, this would have been '88 Something like that little typewriter, and he wrote out, typed out letters like full page letters to D James Kennedy, Frank Barker, RC Sproul, all his buddies. Yeah. Next thing I know, I'm being invited to these places,

WS: is that how you made a living in that era you were able to do free will offerings and that sort of thing. And then what, then the second big shift.

MM: So one of the things that happened, I was on a road like 150 200 nights a year, and I hated that that was just too much. It's just not a way to live. And then I started doing I was contacting campus ministers. And I had some good success there, you know, people responding. And I remember one event, I was doing a Will Willimon at Duke Chapel, invited me to come. And in the in the audience was the director of the drama department at Duke. And he wrote me this incredible letter, saying, you know, I was looking forward to this with all the pleasure of dental surgery. And then he turned around and said, What did I find, I saw a piece of material that I now for the first time I realized why it's so compelling. And when that happened, I thought, if I didn't have to go on the road, all this money to buy could develop productions, you know, and, and do it in mainstream settings, I think that something significant could happen. And that was what the Lord did. And so that's how I started Fellowship back in 1982(?).

WS: Well, if I felt that you've, you've referred to Fellowship a few times, let's talk about that just for a minute. That's the Fellowship of Performing Arts, that is the organization that you lead. It's the organization that is really the centerpiece of, of not only your theatrical productions, but also the movie as well. So talk about, you know, that organization, how it came to be and how it has grown in recent years.

MM: Right. Well, you know, I mentioned earlier about how few people got it, you know, what I was trying to do, you know, I had this, this vision of art and Christianity together. And, but and I was in the CMA world, Christian Missionary Alliance world, which was really very mission driven. And very few people got it. Now, I went into the Presbyterian world, a little bit, more people that are there. But when anyway, what happened the beginning was this, a few people got around it enough that I could go on salary didn't have to be on the road all the time. And I could begin to shape it. And what I ended up doing, was starting to produce theatrical events, and doing them in New York, doing them in Chicago, doing them in, you know, in the marketplace of theater, you know, not in churches, and then what would happen, church people would go to it and, and they would bring their friends. And they would say, this is different. This is new. And and it's it's a little bit more cutting edge. And, you know, in the in the late 90s, there was a there was a book, you probably remember it called Roaring lambs. You remember that book?

WS: Oh, you bet. Bob Briner. Yeah. I had a correspondence with Bob Briner in the last couple of years before he passed away. Yeah.

MM: That was kind of revolutionary, because that's sort of helped, he was more in the music, business and all that, but it's helped sort of crystallize that says, Okay, let me see if this could work. And, you know, it began and then, I think, shortly thereafter, we raised enough money to record the Bible. I've done five Bible recordings. I think more people know my voice.

WS: Yeah. Well, well, I'm glad you mentioned that, Max, because that is how I probably know you best is listening to you read the Bible. And I did want to ask just a quick question about that. This is kind of a silly question. But I can't resist asking anyway. How long does it take you to record the entire Bible?

MM: Well, I've done it five different times. You know, the last one I did was the NIV 2011 version, the one I just did, I started that in April and finished it in August. By that time, I had a recording studio in my home. And so I could do it at my time. The Bible is about 80 hours of finished text. And I would say most of it, I would go straight through and then I'd have to do you know, and I would have a listener listening to me while I record and they would say stop. Or if I say I didn't pronounce that right. Or if I miss what if I felt like I missed the meaning of it, then I go back, but most of the time, by that time I had been through the Bible many times so I kind of had the flow of it. The biggest part of it is you know, the editing that's I'm so grateful - that's other people's work. But then what happens is after that, you know, you do your recording, you have your listener who tells you all to do to redo stuff. Then you send it to the editor, and then he comes back and says, Well, you made a mistake here, you made a mistake here, and you gotta do redo this, gotta redo that. And that takes a long time. So that's the process. So but for the last one, four months of the actual beginning, and then, you know, quite a bit after the fact after the, the editing...

WS: Yeah, well, what a gift those readings are. I mean, not only is your reading of the Bible, beautiful, but I know, because I bear witness with my own life that those audio versions allow me to experience the Bible, listen to the Bible, you know, whenever I'm not able to read the Bible, in which I know, at least part of your intention. And so God bless you for that. And thank you for that.

MM: It certainly gives you a helicopter view. And, and that was my recollection of when I did Mark's gospel early on, because, you know, people see it in bits and pieces, and they don't get the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is pretty overwhelming.

WS: Yeah, yeah. So Max, we're nearly 30 minutes into our conversation, and we haven't even gotten to The Most Reluctant Convert, really. So let me let me try to telescope some of this. You started doing CS Lewis, kind of, you know, in a formal theatrical setting, at least my understanding is, with The Screwtape Letters. Do I have that right? Yes, that was the first one. And that was now I guess, nearly 20 years ago. Is that correct?

MM: Yeah, I think we got we we got the rights, somewhere around 2004. And we did our first development production, and oh, five, so about 18 years ago now.

WS: So walk me through this journey with CS Lewis. So you know, from 2004, when you got the rights, then you start developing, and then you start performing it, and then you do the great divorce. And now most recently, the most reluctant convert, which is based on a surprise by joy, at least, in part, and mostly, I would say, and so you've kind of grown up with Lewis. I mean, would you started doing this? You were probably 20 years younger than...

MM: I was still we'll see, I was probably around 50, 40, late 40s. Anyway, yeah. And I, I actually don't think I could have done them earlier. I don't think I would have had the skill set. But what happened was a theater professor at Drew University saw one of our Bible presentations. And he liked it. He wrote me an email, he says, I think you should, he said, Actually, he said, I think you'd make a really good Screwtape. And I didn't know if that was a compliment or not. But but it was what, it really intrigued me because I did have a very, very strong response to Screwtape in my 20s, it was one of the first Christian books I read, after my conversion, and, and it really gave me an insight into spiritual warfare. But I never saw it as theatrical literature, you know, but he had an idea how to do it. And I said, Well, if we get the rights, let's we'll give it a go. We got the rights. And we did it. And we did about three different versions of it. The first one we did just wasn't very clear. And it wasn't really just, it was hard to follow. But by the time we kind of played with it for a couple of years, we finally got it to a place that the story was becoming more clear, and people could get it. And I did it pretty regularly from probably 2007 to 2012. I did it a lot. And then I taught other actors how to do it. And I know that I'd go back to it - I don't think I have the, I think it's a young man's for that show.

WS: Yeah, yeah. Well, you did other shows. And I want to ask you kind of a technical question Max. Because you know, you're you're on stage performances are kind of a combination of acting and and narrative where you're where you're actually talking to the audience, you sort of you know it to us, I guess theater language, you break the fourth wall.

MM: Yeah, pretty frequently thing that I felt it's necessary, because Lewis does it. And yeah, I mean, I've done shows without breaking the fourth wall, but the one person shows almost have to, right?

WS: Well, so talk more about that, because you do that not only in your theatrical productions, but you also do it in this new movie as well. In fact, I don't want to give too much I won't give too much away because it starts the very beginning of the movie starts this way you're at you, you are intentionally consciously on a movie set in, you know, in the in the current time, and then you go back in time, and you don't come out of character until the very end, but you do break the fourth wall frequently. In fact, there are two CS Lewis's.

MM: Yeah, he offers the audience a drink. Yeah, that was Norman Stone's idea. I think what he wanted. When I gave him the script, he actually wrote the screenplay. You know, I wrote the stage play. And he wrote the screenplay, which is very close to stage plays, but it has all of the, you know, the accoutrements of a stage play is one actor, one set, the film is 18 locations, 15 actors, three actors playing Lewis, 190 extras, 270 costumes, it's a, you know, bigger thing and, and he filled it all out. And one of the things he wanted to do was, well, how do I make maintain the theatricality of it? And he, so he came up with the idea, okay, let's find you in your dressing in your dressing room. Let's just have a script in your hand. Let's go into the soundstage. You know, you're nervous, as you're about to begin. And, you know, where's my phone? How's my hair, all that. And then, and then you start, and then you you're starting to film set, and then you go through a door, and you're in Oxford. And in the rest of the show, you know, you have moments when you go back and forth. But then at the end of the play, you know, you come back to being an actor. Yeah. That's pretty controversial. I mean, some people like it, some people don't. I'm sort of, I could go either way. It wasn't my call. But one of the things Norman was concerned about was he didn't want the film to be too maudlin and he didn't want it to be too earnest. He feels Christian filter, too earnest. Yeah. And so, you know, he might go a little bit too much in that. Trying to not do that. But that influenced him.

WS: Yeah, well, I mean, I can understand why, you know, like, what you said, I could go either way with it. But I'll just count me among those people that really liked it. In fact, I especially liked that line at the beginning, when you said where's my phone, I was like, I chuckled, whatever that line came on. So one other quick thing about the film, sort of a technical matter, Max. Let's just stipulate for the record, you're a pro, you've been doing this a long time, I get all of that. But acting for the movies is very, very different than acting for the theater. And there are a lot of close ups. And the you've got to be extraordinarily subtle. In those when you know, when your face is four feet wide on a movie screen. Was that a hard adjustment for you?

MM: It was it made me nervous, because the imprint of stage is the voice, the imprint of film is the image. And that I I didn't know if I was going to come across as too big because I didn't have film experience. I you know, I had stage experience. But I also did a lot of narration work. And one thing about narration work is narration work is one to one. And, and so I knew that I had to make the adjustment one to one. And in some ways, breaking the fourth wall really helped because I was playing to the camera. And many times I was looking directly at the lens. Sure. Yep. And so I felt like okay, I can do that. And then, and then when that worked, I think the rest kind of fell into place. I remember my first day shooting, I was really nervous because I just said, Am I doing it right? I don't know what I'm doing. But by the second day, I said, Okay, I think I could do this.

WS: Yeah, yeah. Well, again, count me as among those who think you pulled it off. I thought it was very well done, I thought was very beautiful. I very much enjoyed the movie. Which brings me I think, to my final question, I reserve the right to come up with another one, depending on your answer, but I guess my final question for you is, what's next, because you know, this movie is kind of a new thing for for, you know, the Fellowship for the Performing Arts and for you, or you're going to be doing more movies or more movies in your future.

MM: I think, you know, first of all, it was it, it was a pivot. Because COVID You know, it was either do movies or do nothing. And in, in, in the sense of duty, do movies do nothing. But norm and I had been in conversations about The Most Reluctant Convert film, and we were only at the treatment stage. And we saw it as maybe two or three years down the road because I had bunch of things I was doing, he was doing things. But when COVID hit, there was nothing else to do. And so we said, let's just focus on the script. Let's move this forward. And then what happened was the British government opened up filmmaking in August of 2020. And Norman said, you know, listen, if we can get the funding, if we can do this, I can get a really good cast, I can get a really good crew because nobody's working. And I said, All right, well, you confirm that confirm all the locations, I'll go to my board, see if we can release some money for, for getting in the can. We'll talk about post production and distribution later. And then we did it. And we shot I had to quarantine for a couple of weeks, we shot and got everybody together in September in October. And the moment we closed the shot, within a week of when we closed this film set, they shut down for COVID. A lot of films were in midstream and had to stop. So and what happened was, the success of that film filmed it far better than we anticipated. And and so what we're doing now is normally we're writing drafts for two more films, because we want to tell I want to have a film trilogy that will go from two more films beginning, you know, most reluctant convert ends with his conversion. And he says that was the end of one journey, the beginning of another. And so what we want to do is start at 1931. And look at we want to look at his relationship with Mrs. Moore. Because that's come out. And he and we want to tackle that want to tackle, you know, the Inklings. His relationship with Warne, you know, the alcoholism and all that, because he really had a hard life. You know, he was very successful. But he had a hard life. And then I think the second film will probably end, supposedly, he goes to an Inklings meeting, and he's the only one shows up, nobody's there. It's done. And it's kind of sad, you know? But it also begins the whole Narnia chapter. And then the the third movie, we'll revisit the Joy Davidman story, because, you know, Abby Santa Maria's book has come out and...

WS: Yeah, I love that book. By the way. I don't know if you enjoyed it, but I did.

MM: I mean, it was pretty I mean, she burst some balloons, didn't she?

WS: Yeah, oh, yeah. Absolutely. Not a question.

MM: Yeah, she she really did. But we want to kind of tackle what was going on in in, in her life, with Douglas Gresham. No, Bill Gresham, you know, he wrote that movie, Nightmare Alley. Do you know that? You know, the one that just came out with Cate Blanchett. And Bradley Cooper.

WS: I know the movie, but I did not know who wrote it. Wow.

MM: He wrote the novel that became the movie and that tells you a lot about him. But we want to tell that story. And then we're going to look at the day he died, you know. You know, he died within an hour of when Kennedy was assassinated. So all of that and I'm very, very excited. We're trying to get that film made and we're looking at doing it in beginning, the shooting, in late summer and try to finish it by November. Yeah, at least the filming. Yeah.

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