Sam Worthington became a household name back in 2009 when Avatar arrived in theaters, and fans have been longing for a sequel ever since. Instead of sitting around waiting to don his blue skin again, Sam has kept busy with other projects, including his most recent role as Captain Glover in Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. While James Cameron admirers wait for the next chapter of Avatar, which is expected to arrive in theaters in December 2018, fans can see Worthington in at least two other projects before then.
Yesterday, Summit Entertainment released a new trailer for the upcoming faith-based and allegorical drama, The Shack which also stars Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, and Radha Mitchell. The Hollywood Reporter also had big news regarding Worthington and announced that he would be playing Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald in Discovery’s limited series event, Manifesto, about Ted Kaczynski, aka “The Unabomber.”
Based on William Paul Young’s New York Times best-selling novel (22 million copies in print worldwide) of The Shack, Sam Worthington will play Mackenzie Allen Phillips, whose life is tossed upside down when tragedy strikes his youngest daughter, Missy, and he plummets into a deep depression. One day, he receives a mysterious letter that claims to have been written by God asking for a meeting with him in an abandoned shack deep in an Oregon forest. There he meets three strangers and “PAPA,” aka God.
The novel version of The Shack was originally published in 2007 but received little fanfare. However, news spread of the book by word of mouth quickly. The book debuted at #1 on the New York Times paperback fiction bestseller list in June 2008 and stayed there for 70 weeks.
“Rarely does a piece of Christian fiction sell more than a few thousand copies. But The Shack, with its cover of an arty drawing of a dilapidated building under a heavenly glow, has sold more than 2 million books,” wrote Juli Duin of The Washington Times in her piece about her interview with the writer in 2008.
Though The Shack has been extremely popular, it has also received a lot of criticism as well especially with the notion that God would be seen portrayed as a woman. At the time, Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle megachurch, Mars Hill, told his congregation not to read the book, saying, “Regarding the Trinity, it’s actually heretical,” he said. “It’s goddess worship. If God the Father is God the Mother, that changes everything.”
In his interview with Duin, Young said, “We’re so used to God being Gandalf with an attitude,” Young told Duin. “This is about the character of God and how He won’t abuse or violate us to accomplish His purposes.”
In The Shack movie, Spencer takes on the controversial role playing opposite Sam Worthington. The Shack movie opens in theaters in March 2017.
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Sam Worthington’s other project could be considered the polar opposite of the uplifting The Shack. Worthington plays FBI agent Jim Fitzgerald tracking down Ted Kaczynski, who is played by Paul Bettany in Discovery’s Manifesto. Fitzgerald was an FBI agent who had a radical approach to gathering criminal information, and Worthington had the advantage of being coached by the real Fitzgerald for the project, which was Worthington’s first leading role for U.S. TV.
The eight-episode series is being produced by Kevin Spacey and Dan Brunetti’s Trigger Street and Lionsgate Television. It will be executive produced by Andrew Sodroski and overseen by Greg Yaitanes. No premiere date has been set yet for Manifesto.
[Featured Image by Summit Entertainment]