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Post Info TOPIC: A Canadian connection to Left Behind


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Date: 2:02 AM, 09/26/14
A Canadian connection to Left Behind

Local film company brings Left Behind to the world


A St. Catharines film company hopes the star power of Nicolas Cage will give its new movie that blockbuster edge.

Left Behind is based on a bestselling novel series that modernizes a biblical prophecy where millions of people disappear.

The maker of the $16 million production is Stoney Lake Entertainment based, which focuses on big-budget faith-oriented movies.

It will be the first feature film for the St. Paul St.-based firm.

"We wanted to make a bigger movie that would cross over to the mainstream and not just the faith-based audience," said Paul Lalonde, who formed Stoney Lake in 2012.

Lalonde, a Pelham resident, is also the screenplay co-writer of Left Behind, along with Welland's John Patus.

"We took nearly 1 1/2 years and wrote a much better script with this one," said Lalonde, 53. "It was a big undertaking … you have to stay true to your core audience and keep them happy.

"And at the same time, you don't want to chase away your everyday Nic Cage fan; you want them to see a great movie — not have them walk out and think they got tricked into attending a sermon."

Lalonde also co-founded Cloud Ten Pictures in St. Catharines in 1995.

To date, Cloud Ten has produced nine feature-length films and 15 documentaries. The list includes an original trilogy of "Left Behind" DVD-release films from 2000-2005 that starred Kirk Cameron.

The plot in Stoney Lake's flick revolves around a massive world vanishing of humans. All that remains are their clothes and belongings.

Chaos and disaster hammer the world, as airplane pilot Ray Steele (Nicolas Cage) struggles to save his passenger plane.

Meanwhile, Steele's family is dealing with disappearances of their own, due to the biblical event.

Filming took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the summer of 2013. The movie directed by director Vic Armstrong (Thor, Amazing Spider-Man, War of the Worlds).

The producers say filming was done there as it ultimately proved lower cost through incentives than doing so in Toronto. They'd shot previous movies in Toronto, but the tax credits were better in Louisiana.

"And it was hot in Louisiana," laughs co-producer Michael Walker, 51, who lives in Burlington. "Is there something more-than 100% humidity — the answer is yes."

As for Cage's involvement "it was a relentless pursuit, I really wanted Nic Cage," said Lalonde. "A lot of it is him in the c***pit under trying circumstances, so you need an A-list actor who can pull it off."

The producers said they were finally able to convince Cage's team to read the script. Cage's manager passed it on to the actor, who was taken by it.

"Nic said 'yes, I will do this,'" said Lalonde. "That was one of the happier days of my life."

Why stay in St. Catharines and not do business in L.A? Why not, say the local production team, adding their families are here and they like the area.

Meetings in California can be handled through travel and calls. "There's no reason to leave here just to make movies, there really isn't," said Lalonde.

"There are good things happening in St. Catharines ... this is where our home is," adds Walker. "And this is a big deal."


Left Behind will be released on Oct. 3 in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide, with 1,200 screens in North America already booked by Monday.

The film will be featured as the opening night film at the Catalina Film Festival in California on Sept. 26.

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