I was invited on an all expenses paid trip to LA to cover #TheStarMovie junket. All opinions are my own.
THE STAR opens in theaters this Friday, Nov. 17th!
I had so much fun in LA for THE STAR movie junket. While I was there I got to screen the movie (stay tuned for my review posting tomorrow Nov. 16th to find out what I thought of the film), I made a fun gingerbread Nativity, and got to sit down and chat with some of the cast as well as the director of the film!
We got to sit down with Gina Ridriguez (“Mary”), Zachary Levi (“Joseph”), Patricia Heaton (“Edith” the cow), and the Director Timothy Reckart. It was really fun getting to sit down with them all and so I wanted to share the highlights of each interview with you.
First up was Gina Rodriguez and Zachary Levi. They were so much fun in person. We were laughing almost the entire interview.
Speaking of playing Joseph, Zachary told us “Joseph has a really good heart. I keep gravitating toward these roles or they keep gravitating to me, I don’t know. I must be a really good person (he said joking). I think as far as the preparation for playing Joseph, growing up in the Judeo Christian faith my whole life, that was plenty of preparation I think. You know, reading about that story, specifically seeing that story, we have seen that story told so many times.
So it’s really cool to get to take on that responsibility of getting to play Joseph. Also, what a fun way they have done it, splicing it up and allowing the animals to kind of bring it to life. Which I think is going to give it a freshness, we have not seen this take on the nativity which I think is important.“
Gina joined in and said “I grew up with the Nativity Story my whole life, and all the different versions, I really enjoyed it. It is really cool to be a part of this one.”
We talked about how we feel like THE STAR is going to become a Christmas tradition to many families for the holidays and then the topic shifted to classic Christmas movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, which then prompted Zachary to tell us “I love the heart of that movie, even in our worst bits when we feel like we have completely ruined our lives, I have felt like that plenty of times, you are worth something. You are valuable, you are valuable to your family, to your friends, your community, and the world would not be the same if you were not in it. That is the greatest thing from that movie.“
Gina then said, “That’s also the beautiful take on Joseph and Mary and The Star. I think the way they told the story is so beautifully done because it is such a delicate matter, but it is done with such a light joyous way. And that element that we all are just attempting to be the best versions of ourselves and we all fail, we all fall. And Joseph feels that way, and Mary does throughout their entire journey. But it’s done in such a hopeful way that the context and weight isn’t so heavy that children and adults with their different perspectives can see the value in it.“
Next, we talked with Director Timothy Reckart.
In terms of how this Nativity story is different from all those who came before, Timothy told us “So from the beginning, the idea was to do it [the movie] from the animal point of view and that was the reason I thought we could actually pull it off because otherwise, I think we risk doing something pretty dry that you’ve seen before. So this was a way to keep it fresh.”
The movie has many classic Christmas hymns and carols incorporated into it, in reference to that Timothy mentioned “We knew we wanted to do a Christmas album along with the movie. If you make a Christmas movie you really miss out if you don’t use those songs because they have an inherent power to make you feel those warm fuzzy Christmas feelings. But I didn’t want to just stick them in, so I wanted to find ways where the Carols could actually help us tell the story.“
In terms of the casting, Timothy shared with us that he had a great response of talent wanting to be a part of this film. He said, “They wanted to be a part of telling this Christmas story. Especially since this version of the Christmas story gets overwhelmed by all the Santa Claus and presents during the season. And this seemed like a good opportunity for both me and the cast to bring it out into the culture in a way that is entertaining and doesn’t feel Sunday school-ish.“
In speaking of how he found a balance of staying true to the Bible story while still keeping it fun and light, Timothy said, “Generally, our thought was anything that is in the Bible, let’s try to be faithful. Period. Our sandbox was the animal point of view and so that was where we thought we would use most of our creative freedom. And when it came to Mary and Joseph and King Herod and all the stuff you do read in the Bible we thought ‘Let’s stick to that’. It only works if you stay true to what is in the Bible.”
Last but certainly not least, Patricia Heaton sat down with us to talk about her role as Edith the cow.
Patricia shared with us her thoughts on being a part of this film, she said “I think it is always nice, if you are a Christian, to have something out there, especially at Christmas time, since that is what Christmas is about, to remind people of that. To feel like you can put something out there for the whole family and the story of Christmas is what I base my entire life on, and all my hope. So it is nice to have that story out there to share with people.“
When asked about this new Nativity story, and the message she wants kids to get from it Patricia told us “To bring the nativity story to them through animals. Kids love animals and it’s a new fresh way to look at the story. I think that’s what is going to be so much fun, they relate to them. I think it is a wonderful, entertaining, funny, and heartwarming way to bring the nativity story with a fresh perspective.”
On an unrelated note, she told us that one of her traditions is that she always has “Elf” on when she is making the turkey. “I love that so much, it’s so funny,” she said. And then talked about how she is glad The Star will become a holiday tradition for families. “To have an actual nativity story about Christmas, at Christmas, is a wonderful addition to this whole sort of library we have as Americans of our traditional Christmas movies. I think it is nice because it has a little bit of comedy in it. I’m glad that my contribution will be this [movie].”
It was such a great time chatting with all of them and learning more about The STAR. They were very nice and took group photos with us. Here those are…
Zachary Levi & Gina Rodriguez
THE STAR opens in theaters this Friday, Nov. 17th!
Visit the official The Star Movie website
Watch the trailer…
“In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.”-Sony