Bishop T.D. Jakes is many things: self-help author, novelist, adviser, movie producer and head of the 30,000-member church The Potter’s House.
He’s been busy this summer on the set of his latest project, Jumping the Broom, a movie starring Paula Patton (Precious, Deja Vu ) and Angela Bassett (Notorious, Meet the Browns) and expected to be in theaters in the spring. The 53-year-old pastor still makes it back to Dallas to preach nearly every Sunday and to lead a Bible study.
He took time from the movie set to talk about his roots, faith and the movies, and why weddings make people just a little bit crazy.
Q: What in the Jumping the Broom story made you want to be a part of making this movie?
A: Well, first of all, I have an agreement with Sony that enables me to produce films that I think have a message. We were in the process of developing a script about families and their secrets. In the early development stages, an executive from Sony said he’d run across a script that was similar in theme and could be created more readily. We all read the script, made modifications and decided to go with it.
Q: How much time have you spent on the movie’s set?
A: My wife and oldest son have been there every day. I’ve physically been there eight to 10 days — a lot of my work is on the business end, everything from looking at the cast, who’s selected for roles, looking at the dailies … coordinating what music is to be played and suggesting marketing ideas to broaden the audience.
Q: Did the faith of the actors play a role in their selection?
A: We didn’t ask questions about their personal faith. We stuck to the characters and art of developing the film.
Q: Jumping the Broom is about two dramatically different families coming together for a weekend wedding. When you think of the family you grew up in or the family you’ve created with your wife, Serita, do you identify with either of the two movie families?
A: I think it’s even bigger than that. The film points to a message that’s seldom talked about, that African-Americans are not monolithic, that we are increasingly diverse. That’s not only true of African-Americans but of everybody, within a family as it relates to faith or the way you interpret faith differently. It can be hard to imagine that you’re related by blood and yet be so different.
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