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A $6 million anti-abortion film that takes a critical look at Planned Parenthood recently wrapped after being shot in secret in Oklahoma, and the filmmakers behind such surprise hits as God’s Not Dead and I Can Only Imagine are hoping for similar success when they release the movie wide next year.
The movie is called Unplanned and the narrative focuses on the story of Abby Johnson, who was a clinic director at Planned Parenthood and says she helped facilitate 22,000 abortions before quitting the organization in 2009 after watching via ultrasound as one was performed.
Unplanned is the second anti-abortion movie to have been produced under an assumed title and in secrecy, the first being Roe v. Wade, which Nick Loeb, famous for his lawsuit over embryos with former girlfriend Sofia Vergara, wrapped in July.
While Roe v. Wade ran into a buzz saw of trouble with crewmembers quitting once they learned the movie leaned anti-choice, Unplanned — which filmed under the title “Redeemed” — suffered no such setbacks, since the crew were aware of the content and were primarily in sync with the pro-life message.
“But no matter which side you come down on, there’s a big chunk of this movie that will make you uncomfortable, because Abby has been pro-choice and pro-life,” said Chuck Konzelman, who co-wrote and co-directed with Cary Solomon, both of whom co-wrote God’s Not Dead, which earned $60.8 million on a $2 million budget.
The filmmakers say they are preparing for pushback, as Planned Parenthood (which declined to comment for this story) already sued Johnson once, claiming, among other things, that she breached a confidentiality agreement.
“But it’s not an attack movie,” said Solomon, “it’s about right and wrong. We just try to tell Abby’s story, and it’s an interesting journey.”
The movie is produced by Daryl Lefever, who produced I Can Only Imagine, a Christian film that earned $83.4 million on a $7 million budget.
Beyond Unplanned and Roe v. Wade, a third anti-abortion film called Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is set to open Oct. 12.
Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. The story and headline were updated to clarify the movie is a narrative and not a documentary. THR regrets the error.
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