Unplanned

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Unplanned
Unplanned promotional poster
Unplanned promotional poster
Directed byChuck Konzelman
Cary Solomon
Produced byDaryl Lefever[1]
Chris Jones
Joe Knopp
Screenplay byChuck Konzelman
Cary Solomon
Based onUnplanned
by Abby Johnson
StarringAshley Bratcher
Brooks Ryan
Robia Scott
Jared Lotz
Emma Elle Roberts
CinematographyDrew Maw
Edited byParker Adams
Dana B. Wilson
Production
company
Independent
Distributed byPure Flix
Release date
  • March 29, 2019 (2019-03-29) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$6 million[2]

Unplanned is a 2019 American drama film written and directed by God's Not Dead writers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, based on the memoir of the same name by Abby Johnson. The film stars Ashley Bratcher, Brooks Ryan, Robia Scott, Jared Lotz, and Emma Elle Roberts, and is scheduled for release by Pure Flix, an American Christian production and distribution company, on March 29, 2019. The working title of the film was Redeemed, and details of the film's subject were kept from the public in order to minimize protests against the subject matter by abortion rights advocates.

Plot[edit]

Abby Johnson is one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the United States. She has worked at a clinic in Texas for eight years, and has become a community outreach director and media spokeswoman for the organization, even winning the Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year Award. One day she is asked to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion at thirteen weeks gestation. It is then that she witnesses a fetus struggling for its life even as it is dismembered by an abortionist's tool. She resigns, becoming a anti-abortion activist, founding a ministry to assist former Planned Parenthood employees turned anti-abortion after their own experiences.

Cast list[edit]

  • Ashley Bratcher as Abby Johnson
  • Brooks Ryan as Doug
  • Robia Scott as Cheryl
  • Jared Lotz as Shawn
  • Emma Elle Roberts as Marilisa
  • Robin DeMarco as Kathleen
  • Robert Thomason as Mike
  • Tina Toner as Renee
  • Sarah Hernandez as Elena
  • Maura Corsini as Megan
  • Lezl Gonzales as Taylor
  • Kaiser Johnson as Jeff
  • Andee Grace Burton as Grace
  • Alexander Kane as Mark
  • Stacey Bradshaw as Karen

Production[edit]

Abby Johnson in 2015

In September 2018, the producers announced that the principal photography on the film had concluded, which had a working title of Redeemed. Out of fear for potential protests due to the subject matter, everyone involved with the project signed a confidentiality agreement, whereby they agreed not to engage in social media posts about the film, nor any press interaction.[3] Additionally, the film was shot in secret in Stillwater, Oklahoma.[4][5]

The movie is based on Abby Johnson's memoir Unplanned.[6]

The film was shot on a budget of $6 million.[2] Mike Lindell, the founder and owner of My Pillow, was a major backer of the film, contributing $1 million dollars to the production.[7] Lindell has a cameo in the film.[8]

Directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon sent a draft of their script to Abby Johnson for review. Upon reading the script, Johnson reacted, "I read the script. And in the first 15 pages, I hated me. Then I got to the end of the script, and I loved it. It was me!"[3] During casting, producers warned potential cast members that their participation in the film might result in their not getting future roles in the film industry, due to the film's subject matter.[3] Unlike another pro-life film, Roe v. Wade which had issues with some of their crew, who quit once they learned of the film's subject matter, Unplanned did not suffer from the same fate since those involved with the film knew about the film's focus when they were hired.[2]

Ashley Bratcher, the film's lead, has related that following her acceptance of the role and just prior to the movie's commencement of filming, her mother told her that she had had an abortion during her teens, and almost had an abortion while she was pregnant with Ashley.[9] Bratcher's mother has a role as an extra in the film.[9]

Several music labels denied the film rights to use their music in the movie. These included The Fray's "How to Save a Life", "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, One Direction's "Story of My Life", Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party", and "The Guardian Suite" by Trevor Rabin.[10]

The factual basis of the memoir has been questioned,[11] specifically her statements that "higher-up at Planned Parenthood encouraged her to increase abortions for financial reasons".[12] Johnson also stated that the patient in question was a black woman. However, based on reporting by Texas Monthly, which relied on Planned Parenthood clinic records,[13] only one patient from September 26, 2009 was black, and she was in the sixth week (not the 13th week) of her pregnancy.

Cary Solomon, the film's co-director and co-writer, expressed that his father became pro-life after viewing an excerpt from the film.[14]

MPAA rating[edit]

Unplanned was given an R rating by the MPAA, who cited a few graphic abortion-related scenes as the reason for the rating and notified the producers of the film that the film would remain R-rated unless those scenes were removed, [4] but denied that it had assigned the rating due to political bias.[15][16] Pure Flix, which had been expecting a PG-13 rating, decided not to contest the MPAA's action due to concerns that such conflict may delay the film's release.[4] However, regarding the MPAA's rating, co-directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon said that

[w]e consider the MPAA’s current standards to be deeply flawed, insofar as they allowed scenes of remarkably graphic sex, violence, degradation, murder and mayhem to have a PG-13 rating, whereas our film, highlighting the grave dangers of abortion in a straightforward manner, is considered dangerous for the American people to view[.][8]

Ken Rather, Vice President of Distribution at Pure Flix, made a similar comment: "[a] 15 year-old-girl can get an abortion without her parent’s permission but she can’t see this movie without adult supervision? That’s sad."[17][8]

Abby Johnson, however, acknowledged that the R rating may have been assigned for good reason:

We are pushing the boundaries of what has never been before on such a wide scale by showing America exactly what abortion is — and abortion is disturbing. It’s violent . . . . In my opinion, one of the most impactful films of our time is The Passion of the Christ. It was rated R. So I feel like ‘Unplanned’ is in good company. An R rating from the MPAA isn’t going to slow this movie down. I believe people are ready for the truth.”[8]

In response to the film's rating, the MPAA was sent a complaint signed by twenty-nine people uninvolved in the production of the film. The signers include former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Kevin Sorbo, and Academy Award winners Gerald Molen and Gray Frederickson.[18][19] Despite this, the MPAA did not revoke the rating, saying that "[t]he filmmakers did not make use of the rating appeal process."[19]

Unplanned will be the first R-rated film Pure Flix has distributed.[16]

Release[edit]

Unplanned will be released in 1,000 theaters in North America on March 29, 2019.[18] The film received a pre-screening on February 21, 2019 in lower Manhattan,[20] and will be screened again on March 28, 2019 in Indiana, one day before its release date.[21]

Pure Flix plans to increase revenue and create a longer movie release period via coordinated marketing with Christian churches and anti-abortion groups to promote Unplanned. Bulk ticket purchasing in advance is being promoted by organizations including the Church Militant,[22] TFL (The FAMiLY LEADER),[23] Catholic Pro-Life committee,[24] Allen County Right to Life (ticket sales will benefit Allen County Right to Life),[25] and the Diocese of Corpus Christi,[26] who are "trying to buyout the movie theaters for Thursday through Sunday in particular to ensure that the movie stays in theaters for as long as possible."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Bond (September 19, 2018). "'God's Not Dead' Writers Making Planned Parenthood Movie". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Paul Bond (September 19, 2018). ""God's Not Dead" Writers Making Planned Parenthood Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Josh Shepherd (September 19, 2018). "Major Film on Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Who Left Abortion Industry Slated for 2019". Stream. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Carly Hoilman (February 25, 2019). "'Unplanned' Directors Explain Great Irony of Film's R-Rating". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  5. ^ IMDb
  6. ^ Abby Johnson (March 16, 2019). "Abby Johnson - Thanks for Stopping By". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Paul Bond (November 21, 2018). "Multimillionaire Trump Fan and Fox News Advertiser Jumps Into Film Financing". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d Stephanie Nolasco (February 27, 2019). "Pro-life activist Abby Johnson reacts to R rating for anti-abortion film: 'We are pushing the boundaries'". Fox News. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  9. ^ a b John Burger (March 1, 2019). "'Unplanned' is a movie full of surprises, including some that happened during production". Aleteia. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Tosten Burks (January 18, 2019). "Cyndi Lauper, One Direction, The Fray Licensing Rights Denied to Anti-Abortion Film". Spin. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  11. ^ Amanda Marcotte (January 7, 2010). "The Earth-Shaking Abortion That Never Happened". Slate. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  12. ^ Amie Newman (November 3, 2009). "Planned Parenthood Director's Holes in Story Revealed In Recent Radio Interview". Rewire News. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  13. ^ Nate Blakeslee (February 15, 2010). "The Convert". Texas Monthly. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  14. ^ Christine Rouselle (March 19, 2019). "Directors speak of 'spiritual warfare' while making pro-life film". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  15. ^ Stephanie Nolasco (February 23, 2019). "Pure Flix responds to MPAA's R-rating for anti-abortion film: 'R stands for recommended'". Fox News. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Brian Raftery (February 23, 2019). "MPAA Gives Controversial Anti-Abortion Film 'Unplanned' Surprise R Rating". Fortune. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  17. ^ Paul Bond (February 22, 2019). "MPAA's R-Rating for Anti-Abortion Film Disputed by Distributor Pure Flix". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Helen Armitage (March 17, 2019). "Christian Groups Criticize MPAA For Giving Anti-Abortion Film R-Rating". Screen Rant. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Paul Bond (March 15, 2019). "MPAA Criticized by Christian Groups Over R-Rated Anti-Abortion Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  20. ^ Christie L. Chicoine (March 1, 2019). "Pro-Life Movie 'Unplanned' Carries Redemptive Theme". Catholic New York. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  21. ^ Mike Perleberg (March 5, 2019). "Pro-Life Activist Hopes "Unplanned" Film Screening Will "Change Hearts"". Eagle Country News. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  22. ^ "Plan to see Unplanned". Church Militant. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  23. ^ "Join TFL to see 'Unplanned'". The FAMiLY LEADER. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  24. ^ "UNPLANNED Movie - Catholic Pro-Life Committee". Catholic Pro-Life Committee. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  25. ^ "'Unplanned' premier tickets sold by Allen County Right to Life". Allen County Right to Life. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  26. ^ "UNPLANNED Movie-Diocese of Corpus Christi". Diocese of Corpus Christi. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.

External links[edit]