Dallas Jenkins of "The Chosen" to Make a Christmas Movie
It is based on a well-known children's book and the Christian director will launch production next month.
It would seem that no grass grows under the feet of Dallas Jenkins, because before he starts making Season 5 of the hit series The Chosen next year, he will direct a feature film. It is called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, as is the book upon which it is based, and it is a project he has been praying about bringing to life for 15-plus years.
In fact, in a social media post announcing it, Jenkins said he put a weekly reminder in his online calendar back then to prompt him to regularly bring it before the Lord. That is in part because another studio owned the book's movie rights for years and already had a director attached. Jenkins, however, so fell in love with the story when he and his wife read it to their then small children, that he said at the time, "This is the one movie that I was born to make."
Both he and his wife, who is the one who purchased the book, were touched deeply by the story, which focuses on a family of children who are "from the wrong side of the tracks...they're mean, they're rough" and "they end up hijacking a local church Christmas pageant." But they also have a "least of these" quality to them and so thoroughly demonstrate Jesus as they see him through their own eyes that it profoundly impacts the audience of said pageant. Jenkins, too, says he was powerfully impacted.
"It's so funny, and so charming, and so whimsical, and so well-written...We got to near the end of the book...and got to the big, emotional climax and I was ugly crying."
Eventually, after years of praying, the rights were released by the aforementioned studio and Jenkins was able to convince the producers who owned them that he could not only direct the film, but could also lineup the financing to make it. Turns out that the mother of one of those producers was a fan of The Chosen and told her son he just had to work with Jenkins. That producer, having then watched and liked the show, ultimately told the director he could have the project.
Jenkins has now teamed up with the top filmmakers in the Christian genre - the brother duo of Andrew and Jon Erwin who have made films like I Can Only Imagine and Jesus Revolution - and will produce this film through their Kingdom Story Company and its partners at Lionsgate studio.
The director says he will make casting announcements soon and that production will start in Canada next month. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is targeted to release in theaters next year during the Yuletide season and Christian Film Blog will bring you updates as we get them.