If what Nikki Finke says is true -- that Evan Almighty needs to clear $500 million worldwide to really get into the black -- then I guess it's no wonder that director Tom Shadyac has embarassed himself so mightily during the film's promotion. The interview he did with Christianity Today, posted on their site on Monday, is pandering on an almost superhuman level. It's so fascinating to read, in fact, that I'm going to give you an official spoiler warning right here: don't read any further if you want to savor every line for yourself. In response to the fairly straight-forward question "What do you want people to take away from Evan Almighty?" Shadyac responds "Hopefully they'll walk away entertained. But also, I think we all have this 'idolatry of magnitude,' thinking that if we don't do something huge for the world that we haven't done anything. We forget the story of the widow's mite ..." Yes, he parable-checks.
He also offers up the following: "Someone asked me the other day, 'What's the biggest influence on your filmmaking career?' And they started naming filmmakers. I went 'Naw, it's Jesus actually.'" I guess, now that he mentions it, I do see the comparison between the two. Jesus included a lot of Ace Ventura-style slapstick in his early films, and some of the camerawork in The Nutty Professor is very Christ-like. Most of the rest of the interview is a lot of painful-to-read jousting, as the interviewer keeps trying to get Shadyac to label himself and the film as sort of 'by Christians, for Christians,' and Shadyac keeps trying to slip away with hippie-dippie statements about Jesus being his hero, and so forth. He says that he responds to the Sermon on the Mount, "to this guy who talked about loving your neighbor and loving your enemy. I know what's moving me and I know what I want to be true to in my work. And if people pigeonhole me for that, I don't really care." Brave, dude. Brave.