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Growing up, DeVon Franklin’s devout family wasn’t thrilled about the idea of him working in Hollywood. But he held on to his faith as he followed his dream of becoming a producer, and now he’s working to fight the idea that Christianity and Hollywood are not a compatible combination.

Banner Image: Producer DeVon Franklin; Credit: The Front Page Firm

Hollywood News Banter 7 MIN, 45 SEC

Kim Masters and Michael Schneider discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

- A malicious hack attack at Sony that leaked unreleased movies and personal employee information online has left the studio reeling. Could North Korea be behind the hack?
- The Bill Cosby saga continues to unfold, and one aspect people are starting to wonder about is how much NBC executives knew or didn’t know during the heyday of The Cosby Show.

Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

Sony Got Hacked Hard: What We Know and Don’t Know So Far
Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations: How Much Did NBC Executives Know?

DeVon Franklin 20 MIN, 37 SEC

In an essay published in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Rock states bluntly that the entertainment business is a white industry. “How many black men have you met working in Hollywood?” Rock asks. “They don’t really hire black men.”

Our guest, DeVon Franklin, did get hired. He’s a former executive at Sony Pictures and he stands out in Hollywood for another reason: he’s a minister who says he puts his faith first.

At Sony, Franklin worked on films with at least a subtext, if not an overt message, of faith--movies such as the Pursuit of Happyness, The Karate Kid and Jumping the Broom. Earlier this year he had a hit in Heaven Is For Real, based on a bestselling book by a pastor whose four-year-old son had a near-death experience and said he visited heaven during the ordeal.

Before he left Sony for a producing deal earlier this year, Franklin worked on the updated take on a much-loved musicalAnnie. Annie, played by Quvenzhané Wallis, is now a foster child in Harlem; the Daddy Warbucks character, played by Jamie Foxx, is a smartphone mogul. And Cameron Diaz as Hannigan has a substance-abuse problem.

Annie is not an overtly religious film, but Franklin says it sends the right message. He says faith is always foremost in his mind when he evaluates a potential project. But faith alone is not enough. The movie still has to have a strong story and commercial appeal.

When he sat down with us, Franklin said he’s tired of the idea that Hollywood and Christianity don’t really mix. He thinks they can coexist, but also thinks studios could do a better job about checking in with the Christian base when they make movies that are adaptations of Bible stories if they want to avoid the blowback that followed films like Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. For Franklin, it’s similar to dealing with fans of graphic novels or comic books. If you’re going to make a movie adaptation, you’ve got to let the hardcore fans know you’re listening because they’re the ones who are going to be watching.

DeVon Franklin, Franklin Entertainment (@DeVonFranklin)

DeVon Franklin's website, Produced by Faith


Kim Masters

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