HearItFirst.Com's Interview with Producers Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill of The Good Lie
It’s not often that stories with a strong faith connection are made into movies in Hollywood. The Good Lie is the exception and not only is it an incredible account of the faith of The Lost Boys and Lost Girls of Sudan, the journey of writing the script and producing the film is a story in itself. In the 1980’s Sudan, which is in the northeastern part of Africa and shares a border with Egypt, was embattled in civil war. Countless innocent people were killed and thousands of children and teens were left as orphans and risked their lives by walking a 1,000 miles to find shelter in surrounding countries. This is Africa! The children who survived this journey ended up in refugee camps where they had food and shelter, but no sense of home or real opportunities. Fortunately, 3600 lost boys and girls were brought to the United States. Faith is what kept these children going. Adjusting to life in America was not easy, especially since basic things like light switches and phones were foreign objects. The Good Lie tells the story of what it was like for three brave young men to endure civil war, a 1,000-mile walk, life in a refugee camp, reclaiming who they were in America 13 years after going to the refugee camp and reconnecting with their lost sister. Reese Witherspoon plays Carrie Davis, the woman who helped these three men adjust to life in America.
Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill happen to be twins and also two of the producers behind this film. I had a chance to talk with them and learn more about this incredible story.
How did you get involved with this project?
“It came to us as a writing sample from Margaret Nagle who has been working on it for 10 years. The person who hired her to write the script passed away. We got this as a sample of her writing. We thought, wow, we are so moved by it and we have to get behind this movie and this is going to be the next movie we make.”
Were you part of the process from the beginning or did you get involved while production was already underway?
“No, we started from the beginning. The movie was in Imagine Writers Lab at the time and did not have a studio home. When we read this we said we wanted to finance this movie. It was simply a script when it came to us and we took off with it.”
How has this affected you, going through this process and now getting ready for it to premier?
“It has definitely been a learning curve for all of us. Not a lot of these type of movies unfortunately get made in Hollywood and we jumped on the opportunity and not just because of the message but because it’s an entertaining and inspirational movie as well. I learned so much about Sudan about these guys and the plight of refugees around the world just in making this movie. There is a quality and how amazing these people are and resilient. I’ve learned a lot personally and professionally. I’ve learned how these movies can inspire people and how great they are to make.”
Why do you think it’s so important for Americans to know the story of the lost boys and girls and connect with them?
“The Lost Boys and Girls went through what no child should experience and you would hope that no child ever would, but it unfortunately does happen around the world. I think what we really responded to was the fact that these were Christian South Sudanese people whose faith sustained them throughout the process. They really held onto their values and meeting so many of them around the country it’s something they talk about. This is a story that is not just contained in Africa – it’s happening all over the world. It’s important for Americans to become aware of these passive issues.”
How did seeing the faith of the Lost Boys and Lost Girls affect your faith personally?
“We grew up in Oklahoma in a Southern Baptist Church and it was and still is a big part of our lives and our family. Our dad is really active in water well drilling for Niger. It’s profound to be part of something that I had experienced from him for so many years and we got to tell a version of that and be part of TheGoodFund.org.”
“For me, growing up in America we are so blessed and safe and secure over here. I think to see how the children clung to their faith and that carried them through some of the most unspeakable things you can imagine – that was so inspirational for me and my faith perspective.”
What was it like to have refugees and their children act in the movie?
“Our director from the beginning told us to use refugees if we could find them. We did a worldwide casting search and we found the cast you see in the movie. They were fantastic and not only did they experience it as children, but they brought the spirit of the movie and they acted as consultants for us, telling us how things were and showing us. We were so lucky to have those guys and girls. We actually ended up finding some of the sons and daughters of the lost boys and girls.”
Have the refugees and actors and actresses seen the movie?
“Yes, they have all seen it. The children got to see what their parents did and it was educational for them.”
“One of the parents said, look, I’ve been trying to explain to my son where I came from and what I went through and he never knew. It wasn’t until he acted in this movie that he understood what his mother went through.”
Has this project influenced the direction you will take with other projects?
“Yes. We realized that there are not enough of these movies being made with a real message behind it; a message of faith that portray not only Christians in real life situations in real ways, but have a general theme of family values, brotherhood, self-sacrifice and inspiration. We love walking out of a movie leaving you with a feeling that you want to jump up and share it. We as a company would love to focus as much as we can on making movies that have these kinds of messages and themes.”
The movie will be released starting Friday, October 3rd in major markets and then in more theaters around the country in coming weeks. Join me in seeing this movie and let’s show Hollywood how much we appreciate the work in bringing movies of faith to us! If more movie producers understood the opportunities in sharing a story that needs to be heard and the audience waiting for it, I guarantee we would see more of these movies make it to the big screen. Thanks Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill for sharing your faith and working so hard with many others on this project.
About Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill
Thad and Trent started Black Label Media with Molly Smith in 2013 and have many upcoming projects, including producing “Sicario” which stars Emily Blunt and was created by Denis Villeneuve. Thad has been an actor for more than ten years and you may recognize him from parts on “8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” “Major Crimes,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: NY”, “Without a Trace,” “Ghost Whisperer,” and “Nip/Tuck.” Trent worked in the financial and legal world for many years at the Department of Treasury’s Office of Financial Stability. He also worked at the Department of Justice as a lawyer before focusing on Black Label Media.
Article by Elise Cleary
I am a Christian writer and editor that lives in northern Michigan and thoroughly enjoy music, movies, TV shows, books and other entertainment with a Christian focus. My favorite song is "Oceans" by Hillsong United because it reminds me that has big plans for me and everyone else who puts their trust in Him. There are many movies that have impacted my life, but a few include God's Not Dead, The Shunning and Letters to God. I also write for www.faithandentertainment.com and love connecting with readers, so please don't hesitate to contact me! When I'm not writing I enjoy watching movies and laughing with my busy toddler and husband.