'Reaping' crew never lost their faith


The makers of Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Reaping," a supernatural thriller about the resurgence of the 10 biblical plagues that opened Friday, faced their own wrath of God in the form of Hurricane Katrina.

The production, which shot in several locales around Louisiana, was in Baton Rouge when the natural disaster slammed into the state Aug. 29, 2005. Much of the cast and crew evacuated to Austin. After two days, they returned to witness the aftermath of the devastation.

"Most of our crew lived in New Orleans, and they lost everything," producer Joel Silver said. "So we stayed in Baton Rouge (for the rest of the production), and they brought their kids and families, and they stayed with us until we finished the movie."

The production also had to get script approval from up above when it wanted to shoot on land owned by the Methodist Church, according to director Stephen Hopkins, who met with church officials. To his relief, he had no trouble with the church.

"They read the script and they loved it," Hopkins said. "That's because it's about a big issue in the church right now, where people are going, 'How can I believe in God when all these terrible things are going on in the world?' And we were there for both hurricanes — Katrina and Rita — and we heard stories of people, very religious people, going 'Why would God let this happen?' So it's a big deal in that world, and (our script was) about whether you can sustain your faith through great difficulty."