By Edwin L. Carpenter, Editor, The Dove Foundation
Tim Chey, the writer and director of the critically acclaimed The Genius Club and the forthcoming film Suing the Devil, spoke with The Dove Foundation by phone recently and his enthusiasm and passion for making
quality Christian films could not be suppressed.
Dove: This film, Suing the Devil, is a quality film Tim, and what a great thing in getting Malcolm McDowell to play the devil.
Tim: “I’m just so excited about how God has been moving. It’s funny
because my wife was trying to evangelize him and he kept saying, ‘Look,
I’m playing the devil!’ (Obviously he was trying to stay in character!)
‘Maybe another time!’
Dove: What inspired you to write this story, Tim?
Tim: “My mom had just died of cancer; I was really feeling despondent. I
was taking a nice drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and I
remember I was at a stop light and I just sort of said, ‘Satan, if you
were right here I would shoot you!’ That’s when it sort of hit me; it was
like the Holy Spirit just said, ‘Bam! This is going to be a green-lit
movie.’ I was like, ‘You got to be kidding!’ So then I immediately pitched
friends of mine and I just said, ‘Look, do you think this is a movie
here?’ Every one of them said, ‘Yeah. It’s like Screwtape Letters’ they
kept telling me. ‘You got to go for it.’
Tim realized they were right and that a lot of people came to Christ
because of The Screwtape Letters.
Tim: “That’s when I just said, ‘Ok, let’s do it’ and then just a few
months later we’re filming in Sydney, Australia, so it’s amazing how God
Dove: It sounds like you knew you wanted to direct it too?
Tim: “Yeah, I actually don’t like the directing process. If I could just
write on an island I would do it, like John on Patmos.”
Dove: Is the premiere in August?
Tim: “We are definitely set to go nation-wide August 26. It’s going to be
a blast. We have theaters lined up; we’re going to be all up and down the
seaboard throughout the Midwest, L.A. and New York. We’re really excited
about it. God is good.”
Dove: How about the casting process? Did you have Malcolm McDowell in mind right away or did it just work out that way?
Tim: “Well you know what was interesting Ed, we had 20,000 actors submit
and I never knew that many actors wanted to play in a movie! (Tim chuckled
heartily). It was about a three-month audition process. And I always
respect your critiques Ed because you’re right; the bad knock on Christian
films is the acting. I always have that in the forefront. Because of your
critiques, Ed (The Dove Foundation), I really became a better filmmaker.
Because I’m like, you know what, that’s right, we got to get the acting
better, we got to shore up the story points, etc. So let’s get casting
directors involved. Now, to play Satan, you would never believe the name
actors that we had, I wish I could tell you but we had “A” or “A minus“
list actors who at least wanted to have lunch. My big, big number one
actor was always Malcolm. I’ve always been a huge fan of his. I really
felt this was his time. When you look at who has played the devil in the
past, Al Pacino has, Bob De Niro, Jack Nicholson, but Malcolm, who is
considered one of the four or five top living actors right now he actually
never played the devil. He did a spectacular job.”
Tim related that he was touched to recently visit Malcolm and see a
picture of Jesus in his home and, in addition, Corbin Bernsen, the former
L.A. Law actor, has a huge wooden cross on his front door and he told Tim
that the show brought him wealth but no lasting happiness but he accepted
Christ and now he has great joy. Tim’s enthusiasm in relating these
stories was contagious. Tim went on to brag on the rest of the cast of
Suing the Devil including Bart Bronson who plays a pivotal role as Luke
Tim: “He’s one of the up and coming actors in Sydney, Australia,” said
Tim, referring to Bronson. “He beat out hundreds of people” he said. Tim
went on to say the actor reminded him of Jesus as he is a gentle and kind
man. Tim decided to have Luke’s mother killed by a drunk driver in the
film, thereby setting up the plot. “If I could have done it over again I
would have made the world problems more greater on this poor guy. He’s so
world-weary.” Rebecca St. James also acts in the movie, and Tim said,
“She’s very talented, multi-talented, and I just love her.”
Rebecca St. James
Dove: What challenges did you face in getting the film made, Tim?
Tim: “There were so many challenges. First, our camera was stolen which
was a prototype camera. We were stuck and that was the weekend before our
shooting and God blessed us with two more of those same cameras! So it was
stolen but we got blessed because we got two more. I love Romans 8:28.
That was my Mom’s favorite verse. It really did work together for good.”
Tim mentioned the need for a courthouse as they approached filming the
weekend before it was to begin and that was provided as well. People got
sick on the set but everything kept turning around for the good. He said
he was told he was in a spiritual battle with the devil who did not want
to be exposed but God kept turning things around for his good. “His
greatest lie is that he doesn’t exist,” said Tim.
Dove: Can you name a few rewarding aspects, Tim?
Tim: “When I saw 70 people go up to accept Christ at a recent
screening…the pastor didn’t even have to make an altar call. At the end of
the credits he just asked, ‘How many want to accept Christ?’ and 70 people
came forward. That’s when I knew it was worth it. I don’t even care if we
make money, I just glad those souls were saved, those precious souls. Just
last Sunday four people accepted Christ and if it was just four I would still be cheering.”
In addition, Tim is receiving a ton of comments on Facebook and people are
saying the film is opening their eyes to the spiritual battle that we
Tim: “As you know 1 Corinthians says, ‘Do not be ignorant of the schemes
of the devil.’ And yet according to a recent poll 65% of American
Christians don’t believe the devil exists. And that’s why pastors of all
denominations have embraced it. We’ve shown this to conservative southern
Baptists all the way to the charismatics.” Tim said they are all saying
their eyes are open to the tactics of the enemy and the spiritual warfare
they are faced with. “About 98% of the people coming out of the theaters
are saying, ‘This is the best film I have ever seen.’ It’s not me at all,
it’s Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit using us like tools to show the
spiritual battles are real. You know how ‘The Passion of the Christ’
really showed the love of Christ and what he went through and was tortured
for, and this film shows how the devil manipulates everything so it’s like
the antithesis of that.”
Tim’s background includes USC Film School but he no doubt never could have
dreamed the impact his films are beginning to make. In closing we asked
Tim how many screens the film will debut on in August.
Tim: “We’re aiming for at least five hundred to a thousand screens. Our
one goal in mind is for this film to really seep into the consciousness of
every single Christian and the best way to do that is to get it into the
theaters for a national release.
If enthusiasm gets it done, as well as talent and the Holy Spirit, Tim
Chey’s film Suing the Devil is going to make a great impact on the public
and, in fact, already has. Check out the link below for The Dove
Foundation’s five-star review of this movie.
Read Dove's Review of "Suing the Devil"