Kathie Lee Gifford’s latest movie has an inspiring message with a biblical foundation, even if it’s not a Christian film in the traditional sense. And even if – she says – it has PG-13 content.
Then Came You, which opens in theaters this week, tells the story of a widow who travels to Scotland to make new memories and put her husband’s death behind her. Once there, she meets a widower her age who is in a similar situation.
The romantic-comedy is the first film in a scheduled five-part series that includes a redemptive ending, Gifford says. She wrote it and stars in the lead role as Annabelle.
The message of Then Came You is simple, Gifford said: Life’s not over for those who have faced tragedy.
“It’s different than anything I've ever done before,” Gifford said. “But I felt the Lord's calling on my life to write a movie for people who don't know yet that God loves them.”
Gifford said she hopes Christians are not offended by the content. (It’s rated PG-13 for sexual material and some strong language, although it includes no nudity or bedroom scenes.)
“I wanted to be honest. I did not want to sugarcoat how people that do not have a personal faith would make certain decisions,” Gifford told Christian Headlines. “And I tried to be gracious about it, not have it in anybody's face. But I tried to base the movie on real people who make real decisions. And I'm hoping that my Christian friends won't judge them for the decisions they make in the movie.
“It truly is not over yet,” she said of the film’s theme. “... “I want everybody to just love these characters where they are right now and continue to take this journey with us till the last [movie in the series], which is ultimate redemption, but in a way we've never, ever seen in a film.”
Gifford’s romantic interest in the film is played by Craig Ferguson, host of the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He played Gobber in the How to Train Your Dragon series. In Then Came You, he plays Howard, the owner of an inn.
Ferguson also co-hosted with Gifford on NBC’s Today Show when Hoda Kotb went on maternity leave.
“It was just explosive television,” Gifford told Christian Headlines of Ferguson’s time on Today. “It was so fun and so unexpected. And so our chemistry is kinetic. And we have the same sort of sensibility about what's funny.”
During that time together, they decided to make a movie. Gifford woke up at 2 o’clock one morning with the idea for the film.
Gifford said she does not “separate the secular from the spiritual” in her career.
“In Him I live and move and have my very being. Everything I do is spiritual, even though I work in a so-called secular field in a secular world … I hope [people will] open up their hearts to say, 'Wait a minute, where are the Annabelles and the Howards in my life – that I can be a witness to? That I can express the love of God to, that I can shine a light on the truth of Scripture?’ – not preaching at them, but loving them into the kingdom. That's what I'm hoping my Christian friends will come away with.”
Photo courtesy: ©Vertical Entertainment
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.