Being the editor of CatholicMom.com has a few perks, including the chance to work with some of the world’s best writers and to know cool moms all over the world. I experienced another this week, when I had the opportunity for an advance screening of “Change of Plans”, the latest (and in my opinion greatest) installment of the new Family Movie Night series being sponsored by Walmart and P&G. Change of Plans is set to air January 8th at 8 pm (7 CT).
The film is a blessing in so many ways that it’s tough to share them all. The actors are amazing — I expected great performances from Phylicia Rashad and Joe Flanigan, but Brooke White (of American Idol fame) and the younger actors completely stole my heart. Here’s a brief synopsis of the story:
Up to this point, Sally Danville’s life has played out just as she hoped it would. A beautiful and free-spirited musician, she and her fighter-pilot husband, Jason, live life on the go, free of domestic responsibilities. But with a single phone call from Child & Family Services case worker, Dorothy (Phylicia Rashad, The Cosby Show), she learns that things don’t always go according to plan. Sally (Brooke White, American Idol) is met with the news that her best friend from college has died in a tragic accident on a Peace Corps mission and has named Sally the legal guardian of her four kids – 3 of them adopted from third-world countries. Now Sally and Jason (Joe Flanigan, Stargate Atlantis) must quickly learn to parent this instant family and help the kids deal with the culture clash of life in America. The story is both humorous and heartwarming, revealing how fulfilling life can be when you look beyond your own plans and invest in the lives of others.
The movie also has a few fun cameos: AI fans will love seeing Randy Jackson, and NASCAR driver Randy Burton is a treat too. The music in the movie shows off Brooke White’s great talent – I can’t wait to get my hands on the soundtrack. My favorite song is at the very end of the film, so be sure to stay tuned for that! This is a family friendly film with something for everyone, including the teens living in your home, so be sure to plan now to watch this one together as a family.
I’m very happy to share the following interview with Executive Producer Brian Wells.
Q: What prompted your personal transition from Corporate America to your current commitment to creating values-oriented family entertainment?
As a husband and a dad I wanted to see a lot more options on network television of entertainment that was both great and also good for my whole family to watch together, shows that my wife and I were excited about watching and our teen son and tween daughter wanted to watch.
Q: I’m so excited about “Family Movie Night”! What type of feedback are you receiving from families around the country?
The feedback has been incredibly encouraging. Both from kids that find the shows very entertaining and parents who are surprised that they find themselves engaged by the movies as well. We’ve heard a lot of “thanks, I didn’t know this kind of thing could be done!”
Q: “Change of Plans” looks like an amazing movie and is full of big stars. What was it like to work with big names like Phylicia Rashad, Brooke White, and Joe Flanigan? Will we get to hear any of Brooke’s great music in the film?
Phylicia, Brooke and Joe were all wonderful. They each brought not only their great talents to the movie, but also a personal drive to see this kind of entertainment on the air. And yes, there are several of Brooke’s songs in the movie, including some written just for the movie. And they’ll all be available on a music CD that comes with the movie DVD being sold at Walmart.
Q: What do you hope families will take away from their experience of watching “Change of Plans” together?
I think first, just that there is such a thing as television that’s fun for everyone to watch together, stories that are fun, appealing and challenging whether you’re 9 or 99 or anywhere in between. And second, that no family is perfect, but all families can be a place that makes all of us better.
Q: How can film and specifically television send a message that can begin to make changes in society?
I think when television shows us people and situations that are real to what we know, problems and all, but also show us that there are also real ways through our problems and does it in a way that doesn’t feel like a lesson taught, just a story well told, that’s when change happens. Stories can be incredibly fun and also challenge us. They don’t need to prey on what’s worst in the human condition to be entertaining. They can call out the best in all of us.
Q: Do you have any plans for future projects?
Absolutely. You’ll be seeing a lot more family movie nights in 2011, on more than one network! Stay tuned.
Watch Change of Plans January 8th at 8 pm (7 CT).