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Hunt Lowry
Hunt Lowry, producer of Warner Bros.’s smash hit “A Walk to Remember” and numerous other well known films like “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” “Last of the Mohicans,” “Disney’s The Kid,” “A Time to Kill,” and others spends a few minutes with us sharing his thoughts on his latest productions.

Our Christian Spotlight site offers several reviews featuring films produced by Hunt Lowry:
Poster art for A Walk to Remember

Mr. Lowry, what was it about A Walk to Remember that originally sparked your interest?

Scene from 'A Walk to Remember'I had already read the novel when Warners approached me with the project, so I was familiar with it. I read the script that day at lunch and loved it, so I immediately called my partner, E.K. Gaylord II, and told him that I wanted to make this movie. I thought it was so nice reading a teen drama that was tackling subjects teen comedies weren’t. I love the strong female character, and the fact that she had leukemia and yet is brave in the face of life’s challenges. I loved the relationship she had with her father, the love story between the popular guy and the unpopular girl, and I loved how she was trying to help this young man in a profound way and save his life. All the characters have arcs, it has a great message and everything worked, and I knew it was a film I had to make!

What is your personal religious background? Are you able to relate in any way to the ‘fish out of water’ feeling that Mandy Moore’s character Jamie had in “Walk”?

Hunt LowryI was raised Methodist but I just converted to Catholicism about a year ago. My wife is Catholic and we wanted to raise our kids Catholic so that we can be one religion together. I have felt the fish out of water feeling, for sure, as many people do when they first arrive in Hollywood. But now, I believe it’s almost easier out here because there’s so much diversity and people of faith, that the spirituality is all around you.

As a Hollywood insider with an eclectic mix of films in your impressive resume, what kind of change would you like to see from the entertainment industry?

I think the audiences are getting smarter and smarter, and I think there needs to be smarter films for the audience. If people think a movie is unrealistic or dumb, they will feel like you’re playing down to them and ultimately not support the film. Films need to be smart, strong and have a positive message.

What do you see is your role in bringing about such change?

It has always been my dream to make films that have a positive message. If those films are successful, and I can make a difference in even one person’s life, I have succeeded as well.

How do you think that we as the concerned Christian moviegoing audience can help make a positive change in Hollywood? And how has A Walk to Remember helped open up new possibilities?

Definitely support films like A Walk to Remember! Films like Walk really help to put religion out in the open. It used to be religion was only discussed at home and faith was not discussed in outside circles, but now it’s something we discuss as much as politics or sports or anything else. I also produced The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and religion is definitely interspersed through that movie as well. I think with all the support films like this receive from the public, is shows that it can be meaningful as well as successful, and Hollywood is not so scared to tackle the issue anymore.

While Walk received virtually unprecedented praise from our Web site visitors (see our review), there are some who criticized the “unequal yoking” (2 Cor. 6:14) of Jamie and Landon. How do you respond to this?

Scene from A Walk to RememberWell, everyone has a right to their own opinion. Jamie was a woman of tremendous faith, but it wasn’t in a preachy and dogmatic way—it was real. Their situations were real, their dialogue was real, and their relationships were real. It was teenagers dealing with a lot of teenage issues, and one of them was their faith. I think that’s what you want to do in a movie like Walk, to snare the truth and entertain the audience with it. When people can be entertained but also relate to the situation, it hits home for them and they are more likely to understand the message you are sending out. Ultimately the message here is to have faith, and in the end, Landon did.

What would you say to Christian teens that are in Jamie’s situation, perhaps those who are unpopular at school because their priorities are more focused on others, not part of the “in” crowd because of moral convictions to stay away from the party scene, etc?

I would say to them to know what you believe and follow their dreams—the rest will fall into place. There may be people around who don’t agree with you or put you down for your beliefs, but they are truly your own and what make you a unique person. Everyone has opinions about everyone else, and as long as you are true to yourself, you will be fine.

What was it like working with Nicholas Sparks, author of the A Walk to Remember novel?

It was just great, he is such a talented writer. He was very supportive of the project and the filmmakers, and our challenge was to make the film as emotionally satisfying as the book was.

Do you plan to produce future materials from Sparks?

It’s certainly possible—we’re always looking for the next great film, and he has proven himself to be a wonderful writer. If we’re lucky enough to work with Nicholas again, we’d be thrilled.

You’ve worked on numerous productions that are more family-friendly in nature then the typical Hollywood fare. Is this out of personal conviction, or simply projects that are assigned to you? In other words, how much influence can a producer have on a film in terms of film content?

They are personally chosen by myself and my partner, E.K. Gaylord II, along with the help of my fabulous team here at Gaylord Films/Pandora. And whether it’s for an older or younger generation, teens, adults, I don’t want to make a movie unless it has a positive message. I think the ideal is finding projects that are entertaining, where the characters can take you on a great journey, and there’s a positive message at the end of that journey. I truly believe that a positive message wins out over the negative in the world.

What has been your favorite past project and why?

Scene from Last of the MohicansI’ve truly enjoyed working on them all! But to name a few, Last of the Mohicans because it was a wonderful journey that moved the audience and it moved me as well. A Time to Kill because it has such a poignant story. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood because it has a tremendous cast. And, of course, A Walk to Remember because it’s such a remarkable film that has touched many people’s lives.

What future projects are you most excited about?

Scene from 'White Oleander'White Oleander is another wonderful novel that we’ve made into a film that is coming out soon, Welcome to Collinwood is a fun caper movie, and we’ve also got a sci-fi thriller that Miramax is going to release. Right now we’re shooting a great movie called American Girl, a comedy about a young girl who never knew her father, until after she graduates from high school her mother tells her that her father lives in England. So she goes to England to see him and her father turns out to be a member of Parliament. Right in the middle of an election this young teenage girl shows up and says “Hi dad, I’m your daughter,” and of course, chaos ensues. We’re also doing a skateboard movie, we’re doing a Jeff Foxworthy concert movie—basically we’re doing an eclectic variety of films! And that is what I am most excited about, the fact that we are trying different things and doing a wide variety of projects.

As a top producer who knows the ropes, what suggestions can you offer talented Christians who are trying to break in to the entertainment industry?

Strong perseverance is needed, but just stay true to your values and what is important to you. What’s always worked for me is to make good pictures with a positive moral message, and never give up!

Mr. Lowry, thank you for your time in sharing with us. We pray that the Lord would bless your efforts to bring about positive change in today’s society through the powerful medium of film and television.