For the creators of the faith-based baseball drama “Home Run,” making a movie that was real meant more than ensuring their lead actor looked right swinging a bat and running the bases.
“It's in the faith genre but it's a true life story,” Tulsa-based producer Carol Spann Mathews said.
“It's about not only addiction and recoveries, but it's about past hurt and how that passes down from generation to generation. It's about fathers and sons; it's about single parents. When people watch the film, we hear over and over again that they relate to a character, and it's different for everybody.”
The movie, filmed in Okmulgee and Tulsa in 2011, opened in theaters nationwide Friday.
Mathews, an award-winning television and film producer whose work has been featured on Trinity Broadcast Network, The Family Channel and ESPN, co-produced and worked as executive producer on “Home Run” with fellow Tulsan Tom Newman, whose credits include the Max Lucado adaptations “Resurrection” and “Christmas Child” as well as the 2005 missionary drama “End of the Spear.”
“That's really his passion ... telling positive, life-affirming messages and Gospel-oriented messages through movies,” Mathews said in a phone interview from New York, where she was promoting “Home Run.” “We just began to pray and consider what topics would be important. If you're going to spend the time to do a movie, let's make it worthwhile. Do something good for the world.”
“Home Run” focuses on fictional professional baseball star Cory Brand (Scott Elrod, who had a small role in the Oscar-winning drama “Argo”), whose alcohol abuse upends his life and career. After he is arrested for driving under the influence and suspended from his team for eight weeks, his agent (Vivica A. Fox, of the “Kill Bill” movies) ships him off to his hometown of Okmulgee, where he reluctantly enters a 12-step Celebrate Recovery program and takes over coaching a local youth baseball team.
Celebrate Recovery is a “biblical and balanced” program that helps people overcome their “hurts, hang-ups, and habits.” Offered in more than 19,000 churches nationwide, it is based on the words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.