The Christian Filmmaker and Bringing Faith to the Big Screen | Jim Graves | CWR
Dean Wright, director of For Greater Glory, discusses being a Christian in Hollywood and his new project, Kingdom Come.
Dean Wright, director of the 2012 film For Greater Glory, made his first movie as a boy attending grammar school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He did it for a school project, and received an “A” for his efforts. He was immediately drawn to the process of telling stories on film, and knew that moviemaking would be his life’s work.
He attended film school at the University of Arizona and began his career making movies in the Tucson desert, typically Westerns. He re-located to southern California, and has since worked in visual effects on big budget Hollywood films such as Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He was also an executive in charge of special effects for Disney. While working on the third Lord of the Rings film,The Return of the King, he had the opportunity to do second unit directing (without principal actors). For Greater Glory, which told the story of Mexico’s Cristero War in the 1920s, was Wright’s debut as director.
In a recent interview with CWR, Wright reflected on the success of For Greater Glory, working as a Christian in Hollywood, and plans for Kingdom Come, a special effects film telling the story of the public ministry of Jesus Christ.
CWR: What is life like in the film industry? Is it stressful? Demanding?
Wright: Yes, it’s both on multiple levels. You have to find work and feed your family; sometimes you have jobs that take you away from home for a long time. And, there are many pressures when you’re working on projects. [Laughing] I think you have to be crazy to do it.
Most people can make a decent salary as a member of a film crew, but no one gets rich doing it. You also risk being out of work for two or three months at a time. People working in television, for example, have periods of down time and there is no guarantee that they’ll get work again. You get used to saving as much money as you can when you’re working to cover your expenses when you’re not. You may read stories about this or that Hollywood celebrity making lavish amounts of money and buying expensive homes and cars, but that’s not most of us. We’re hard-working people raising families.
CWR: How did you get the opportunity to direct For Greater Glory?