By Kelly Wilson Mize
At the end of May, I was excited to receive an invitation to represent ParentLife on a visit to the set of a new Kevin Downes production of an Erwin brothers’ movie called Moms’ Night Out. The film is a comedy-driven story that deals with the adventure of parenting at every stage. It will be released in theaters in the spring of 2014 and stars, among others: Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Sarah Drew, Trace Adkins, and faith/family film favorites Alex Kendrick and Robert Amaya. It is being distributed by AFFIRM (a division of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions) and Provident Films.
A group of media and Christian organization representatives travelled to Birmingham, Alabama for this two-day set visit. On day one, we watched filming at a local arcade; and on the second day, scenes were shot at a bowling alley. We observed live filming, watched some scenes that had already been filmed, and witnessed firsthand the time and hard work that goes into making a movie.
While not overtly “Christian,” like previous films made by some of the same people, this movie is being marketed as a comedy appropriate for the entire family. The unedited scenes that I previewed evoked both laughter and tears.
The best part of my visit was the opportunity I had to speak personally with many members of the cast and crew. Here are some thoughts that were shared as a part of our round-table discussions.
Patricia Heaton /Sondra (Everybody Loves Raymond/ The Middle)
“I love comedy, and I think that the subject matter of young families trying to navigate their lives, their children and particularly their marriage is a great subject for comedy. But, it’s also a serious issue. It’s really, really hard.”
Sean Astin/Sean (Lord of the Rings trilogy /Rudy)
“I know that moms will take away from this movie a little sense of permission to just take it a little easier on themselves than they did before…”
Sarah Drew/Allyson (Grey’s Anatomy)
“I like everything about this project. I wanted to tell a story about what it feels like to go through life feeling like you’re never enough: Feeling like you’re not a good enough wife, not a good enough mom, not a good enough person at work, not a good enough friend. I wanted to tell a story of coming to a place of recognizing that, actually, I can just breathe and be, and that I am enough, and that I am loved.”
Andy Erwin (Director)
“I think the Christian audience wants to laugh just as much as any other audience. This film allows us to portray Christians in a positive light; and comedy allows us to be a little more approachable as Christians, to a secular audience. If we’re able to laugh and let our hair down a little bit, I think that takes a lot of the fear away, of the unknown, for an audience that doesn’t totally understand us.”
Thank you, ParentLife editorial staff, for allowing me to take part in this fun and unique assignment. I absolutely cannot wait to see the movie!
Kelly Wilson Mize, M.Ed, is an educator, freelance writer, and mother of two from Huntsville, Alabama. Kelly teaches future generations of writers in her 5th grade language arts classes at Westminster Christian Academy.