The film based on William P Young’s controversial novel, The Shack, is finally set to hit the big screen.
From the producers of Life of Pi and The Blind Side, the faith-based film includes some well-known names. Australian actor Sam Worthington (Avatar) and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) play starring roles, while Tim McGraw (The Blind Side), Graham Greene (The Green Mile) and also Radha Mitchell (Man on Fire) star alongside.
The film’s debut for American screens is on March 2nd, with the Australian launch date soon to be released, and UK moviegoers can see it from June 9.
A Story of Heartbreak and Soul Searching
The novel-turned-film trails the journey of main character, Mackenzie Phillip (Worthington), following a tragic incident involving his daughter and an abandoned shack.
Four years after the tragedy, Mack receives a suspicious note supposedly from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgement, he returns to the shack, where what he finds will ultimately change his life forever.
According to the author, the metaphor of the shack is that it’s “the house of the soul”. The weekend Mack spends at the shack dealing with the past, is based on the 11-year period of the author’s life, where he dealt with all the problems in his own soul.
- Our Interview with The Shack author Paul Young
- ‘The Shack’ Headed For The Silver Screen
- Hillsong United features on ‘The Shack’ Movie Soundtrack
From Paper to the Silver Screen
After its release in 2007, the book received an overwhelming response. According to news.com.au, it was printed in 48 other languages and hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, remaining there for 49 weeks.
Originally Young wrote this story for his children while working three day jobs. He thought only his kids, wife and a few friends would read the novel, but he never expected that over 10 million copies would be printed and eventually it would be created into a motion picture.
The movie that’s resulted could be best described, according to Young, as a “mystery suspense wrapped up in a big ‘what if””. And in the words of the book’s website, it’s all about “unveiling God’s heart to the spiritually curious”.
The Controversy that Sparks Discussion
With much popularity, though, comes controversy.
When the book was released it created a storm of discussion, which may repeat itself following the film’s debut.
People of faith had many criticisms of the book, particularly questions about its theology. Christian leaders such as Mark Driscoll, Chuck Colson and Norman Geisler have all been critical of the theology behind the novel.
However Young remains good-natured about the criticism.
“I’m positive about the controversy because it’s an example of people bringing to the table what they have,” he says, “and it’s introducing the conversation of ‘who is this God really?’”
The book did something that no one, including the author, anticipated. “It penetrated into the hearts of people in every age group and religious perspective,” Young said in his interview with Hope 103.2.
And the hopes for the film are that it will do the same – starting conversations about God. But the author reminds viewers to remain open.
“This is a novel, a work of fiction, and when you just turn it into theology you’re going to miss the point,” he said.
Watch the Trailer
The official trailer, which was released in January, has been viewed over one million times at the time of writing. The preview shares insights into the main character’s emotional journey, while featuring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s song Keep Your Eyes on Me.
The movie’s soundtrack also features tracks by Hillsong United, rapper Lecrae, Kelly Clarkson and Lady Antebellum.