NOT EASILY BROKEN
An Interview with Bishop T.D Jakes
by Wilson Morales
January 4, 2009
It's been about five years since 'New York Times' bestselling author Bishop T. D. Jakes produced his first film, the critically acclaimed 'Woman Thou Art Loosed', which featured an amazing performance by Kimberly Elise, and now he's back again on the big screen with another amazing story.
Based on the novel of the same name, Jakes is hoping his second produced film, 'Not Easily Broken' sends a message to all producers and studios: We need more positive images on African American men on the big screen.
Directed by Bill Duke and starring Morris Chestnut and Taraji P. Henson, 'Not Easily Broken' revolves around a couple whose strength and faith are tested after the wife is injured in a car crash and the husband becomes attracted to another woman.
Also featured in the film are Maeve Quinlan, Jenifer Lewis, Wood Harris, and Kevin Hart.
In recently speaking with Jakes, he spoke about putting this story and film together so that others can follow its meaning both on and off the screen.
How did the project come about?
T.D. Jakes: I got together with Sony Pictures and they put up the money for the film to be made and the topic is totally different from 'Woman Thou Art Loosed'. It's not about child abuse, and it's not about the church. The church is involved, but the story is about a couple with problems, and how time heals all wounds. This is a universal story that will make one laugh, cry, and leave you entertained. So far, the feedback from the earlier screenings we've had have all been positive, and we are looking to have the film in almost 1000 screens or more by the time opening day arrives on January 9.
What inspired you to write the story?
T.D. Jakes: I wanted to see love story from a male perspective. Most romantic stories are written from the woman's side of things. We mostly see what women go through in love, and I wanted to show the opposite. Men and women approach love from different avenues and while men try to do things privately when emotional, women tend to be more communicative. Some people say it's the male version of 'Waiting to Exhale'. I don't know about that, but I do know that it really touches on issues that are really sensitive to men.
Do you think we need to have more African American men behind the scenes to see more positive images of men on the screen?
T.D Jakes: Yes. We need less films that involves violence and vulgarity on the screen and have more storiesthat reflect positive images and actions. In watching this film about a real-life situation, one can see that patience can go a long way in solving a conflict and the church is always there for guidance.
What are the most important values you want the audience to get from this film?
T.D. Jakes: I want people to walk away from this film knowing that it takes time for a situation to play itself out and not to give up so early when things get rough in life.
How was it seeing your novel on screen?
T.D. Jakes: It's a great feeling. I think that Bill Duke did a fantastic job as a director. I'm thankful he allowed me to have some input on the film.
How much fun was it to be in the film?
T.D. Jakes: It was a lot of fun. If you look closely at the screen, that was my wife in the scene with Morris and Taraji and we had a blast working with them.
In working with a bigger studio like Sony Pictures, will the film be accessible to many people?
T.D. Jakes: We really want everybody to benefit from the opportunity of seeing this film. It can reach a broad base of people. We are going to market this film as much as we can by going to different cities and letting them know that film is coming out and that it's a good film. We are reaching out to as many fraternities as we can. We're launching a massive television campaign. We really want to make an impact on opening weekend because that's what Hollywood executives look at, and if we want to continue to make movies that we want, we have to show them that we can make a difference when we go to the theater and support good films.
Could you see this film reaching those who aren't believers?
T.D. Jakes: I think the movie gives an opportunity for people who don't go to church to see the practicality of faith, and how it plays out. If they are in a relationship or in a difficult place in life, they may want to question God or spirituality for answers. The movie won't answer the question, but poses the question for you.
How important was race in this film?
T.D. Jakes: Now that we have an African American man (President-Elect Barack Obama) in power, it gives us a great opportunity to reinforce real-life situations. For the next four or eight years we are going to be looking at an intellectual African American family managing affairs from domestic issues to international crisis. We will have diversity within our community. The great thing about this film is that the cast is diverse. In the film, you have two Black guys in a car with a White guy just being the best of friends and playing ball and working together. So, this film shows how we get along with one another.
What's next for you?
T.D. Jakes: There are a lot of ideas I have. Sony has given me the green light to work on another film, and I'm also thinking about doing a talk show. I have some time to think about which avenue I want to go, but I want to ride with this film for now and see how far we can go with this.
NOT EASILY BROKEN OPENS ON JANUARY 9, 2009