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Published: Saturday, 3/27/2010

Amish Grace producer says controversy is based on misinformation


The movie Amish Grace has been thrust into controversy this week when three authors of the book on which it was based reportedly "disavowed" the film.

Donald Kraybill, a professor at Elizabethtown College, and co-authors Steven Nolt and David Weaver-Zercher also were quoted as saying they were "distancing themselves" from the movie adaptation of their book, Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, originally published in 2007 and reprinted this week in paperback by Jossey-Bass. The media also quoted the authors as saying they "declined to work with the producers" of the movie.

Larry A. Thompson, the film's executive producer, said yesterday that the authors' comments have been misinterpreted by the media.

When he first spoke with the authors about making a film from the book, they said the publisher owned the movie rights. When he signed an option on the book, the authors said they preferred to not get involved with a film because of their ongoing relationship with the Amish, who are sensitive about movies about them.

With the paperback's release timed to coincide with the movie premier, the authors have been making the media rounds and their comments about "distancing themselves" from the movie have been taken out of context, according to Mr. Thompson. That had been the plan from the start, and it has nothing to do with the movie itself, he said.

Mr. Thompson said he spoke to the publisher on Thursday and was told that the authors had only seen the trailer for Amish Grace but had not seen the movie.

"I have the utmost respect for these three theological scholars and they were very kind and upfront with us. The media want to dig deeper and find controversy when there really is no controversy," he said.

Mr. Thompson said many newspapers that did not review Amish Grace are now covering the controversy, so it might end up getting more people to watch it. "God works in mysterious ways," he commented.

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