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Dramatic Insights News

All the latest goings-on with Greg and Jenn Wright, Hollywood Jesus Books and DIM.

About Greg & Jenn Wright: Greg and Jenn Wright are Managing Editors of Hollywood Jesus and Past the Popcorn. They both hold degrees in Literature and Theology, and have written and published a number of books. Greg is an internationally-known lecturer on film, Tolkien, and Narnia.
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Jenn, J-Tubes and Surgery

In December, Jenn went to see Dr. Lyons, a colleague of Greg's brother Bob, for a second opinion about her ongoing stomach and intestinal problems. He scheduled Jenn for an Upper Bowel Study, completed at the end of last month. The tests came back negative, so Dr. Lyons has recommended that Jenn proceed with J-Tube placement. On her blog, Jenn has included the full details about the procedure and the rationale for proceeding that direction.

Jenn is scheduled for a pre-op session with her surgeon at Virginia Mason, Dr. Thirlby, on Wednesday, January 25th. At that point, we'll know more about specific plans for surgery. Keep Jenn and the surgery in prayer.

Junkets and Conferences

Last month, Greg attended a Seattle-based junket for the basketball movie Glory Road, released last Friday, while Jenn attended her first junket in LA for The New World, due out January 20.

At the end of December, Harambee Church (where Greg and Jenn are members) hosted the First Hollywood Jesus Annual Gathering (see photo below). Twenty-some HJ staffers and special guests came together—most of them meeting for the first time—to talk about the ministry through Hollywood Jesus and get some much needed training and encouragement. It was amazing!

January 20-23, Greg and Jenn will be in Pasadena for the second annual "One Ring Celebration," a huge event that they attended last year. Things went so well, they've been invited back once more—and will get to hang out with Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Miranda Otto and academic luminaries from the Lord of the Rings scene.

February 16-18, Greg will be a panelist at University Presbyterian Church's winter Film Fest. He will be on panels discussing To Kill a Mockingbird and The Sixth Sense.

In March, Greg will be one of the featured workshop presenters at the Northwest Christian Education Conference in Redmond. In April, he will be speaking to the Northwest Christian Writers Association, and he will be submitting a paper for presentation at the 2006 Mythopoeia Conference this August in Norman, Oklahoma.

The Da Vinci Code at Hollywood Jesus

On the strength of Jenn and Greg's Narnia coverage at Hollywood Jesus, the website has been asked by Sony Pictures, the producer of the upcoming movie based on the runaway bestseller by Dan Brown, to host a similar suite of coverage features.

Jenn and Greg will oversee the development of a news blog and discussion forum—and a cinema study guide titled The Da Vinci Code Adventure, to be coauthored with fellow After Eden Journal contributor Mike Gunn. The online coverage will debut next month, and the book will be released in early May, in time for the movie's debut on May 19. Sony's offical site for the movie will link directly through to the Hollywood Jesus coverage—the first time in movie history that a major Hollywood studio will be partnering with a Christian website as its primary educational resource.

HJ's coverage will encourage a thorough and discerning examination of all the various information sources and documents relating to The Da Vinci Code—including Scripture!

Greg Gets New Post at PSCC

Greg has been appointed "Writer in Residence at Puget Sound Christian College" by Dean Mark Krause. In addition to Greg's usual teaching responsibilities with the college, Greg will now be an ambassador for the school, in recognition of the body of work Greg has published online and in print over the last three years. He will represent the shcool at academic conferences and other speaking engagements. (See above.)

Starting March 15 at PSCC, Greg will be teaching "Film and Culture: An Introduction to Faith and the Cinema," an evening elective course. In August and September, he will again be teaching "Christian Writers and Poets" as an Excel program "Bridge Course." The class will again focus on the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Greg Starts Monthly Radio Spot

Just prior to the Narnia film's release last month, Greg did a short-notice interview spot on the Scott Thomas show at radio station WYLL in Chicago. The stint went so well, and Scott's chemistry with Greg was so smooth, that the station invited Greg back for a monthly "Film Chat," at 4 PM during the prime time drive the second Friday of each month. In the first regularly-scheduled segment last Friday, Greg and Scott talked about Narnia's success, the odds of a sequel, Brokeback Mountain, End of the Spear and Glory Road.

Jenn and Greg get Publishing Invite

Late last month, Jenn and Greg accepted an invitation to contribute a chapter to Lion and Logos: The Life, Times, and Works of C. S. Lewis, a four-volume set of critical essays being published by Praeger this coming fall. Bruce Edwards, a leading Lewis scholar and General Editor for the collection, invited Jenn and Greg to contribute a chapter titled, "C. S. Lewis and the Media: Cinematic and Stage Treatments of Lewis’s Life and Work." Dr. Edwards (right) became a big fan of Jenn and Greg's Narnia coverage in the run-up to the movie's release, and had a chance to chat with them at the Nashville conference last November.

South Bend Tribune Article

On December 29th, the South Bend, Indiana, Tribune ran an extensive article on Greg's lecture at Notre Dame University in November. A snippet of the article follows... If you'd like to read the whole article, let us know.

[Greg Wright's] talk, "Missing the Spirit: 'The Scouring of the Shire,' Tolkien's Catholicism and Peter Jackson's 'Return of the King,' " was the final lecture in the Ethics and Culture Center's Catholic Culture Series. Wright thinks the films blur viewers' awareness of what distinguishes a world influenced by Christian values from a world based primarily on secular ones.

During a conversation over breakfast at the Morris Inn on campus, and again that evening before a mostly young audience, Wright made it clear that he is no Scrooge when it comes to films, including popular blockbuster films. The "big movie fan" thinks Jackson's movies are "good filmmaking."

Jackson, Wright said, has an artist's right not only to adapt Tolkien's novel to film, but also to express his own vision and values. He applauds Jackson's powerful portrayal of the culture of death and the tragedy of war, which are found in Tolkien's book. The theme of hope remains, he said, and some attention is given to the Christian belief in providence and the importance of compassion.

Wright draws a line, however, when Jackson misses or misrepresents critical elements of Tolkien's book despite telling the press he was determined to be loyal to it.

Wright said Jackson told Andrew Adamson, director of the just released film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on Christian author C.S. Lewis' classic children's novel, that he had made changes in Tolkien's work, "but that's fine as long as the film is good."

Wright disagrees: "Art is as essential to the nourishment of the soul as food is to the body," but its success as art does not guarantee it will succeed in capturing the original work's spirit.

More Reviews

Greg's interviews with the cast of Glory Road: "Without the NCAA title, says Mehcad Brooks, the establishment 'still would have been able to dismiss' the Miners’ near-perfect season. 'Because they won,' added Luke, many White basketball fans were finally 'able to look past their race' and see that Black atheletes do, in fact, have what it takes to win at that level. But what about Glory Road itself? If the movie fails, will it have been a waste of time? Is winning all that matters at the boxoffice, too?"

Greg's interview with the director of End of the Spear: "The production design and soundtrack for this film are simply brilliant. You said that “art illuminates the emotional reality of truth in a way that the facts never can.” How did that view of art play into your design for this film? Jim Hanon: Art has historically been a means of elevating the soul to God. In and of itself, it has the capacity to communicate beyond the rigors of logic. So in my theology, if a film is called “Christian” then that should also mean it is remarkably artful in every category and dimension. Art reaches out to the viewer; art respects the viewer without compromising itself, and art leaves the viewer better for having encountered it."

Jenn on the book The Wonder Within You: "Despite my foundational disagreements with Manners’ general concepts of enlightenment and the soul, I found his thinking and expression challenging and insightful. His observations regarding emotion, self-awareness, and Being may take some effort to grasp, but show serious contemplation and a definitive commitment to sharing his enlightenment with others."

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