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Christian Living

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New In Town's Siobhan Fallon: Faith in Flannel

Please Note

RATING:

PG - some material may not be suitable for children; some mild rude humor and mild language

GENRE:

Comedy

RELEASE:

January 30 , 2009

STARRING:

Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick, Jr., Siobhan Fallon, J.K. Simmons, Frances Conroy

WRITERS/DIRECTORS:

Ken Rance, C. Jay Cox , Jonas Elmer (D)

DISTRIBUTORS:

Lionsgate

OFFICIAL WEB SITE

New in Town Movie Web site

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Perhaps you know her from her two seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.  Maybe you have seen her on the silver screen in blockbusters like Forrest Gump, Men in Black, or more recently, Baby Mama.  Either way, Siobhan Fallon has carved out a respectable acting career while maintaining her small town values.  But more importantly, she is not afraid of sharing her faith.

CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with Siobhan to discuss her new movie New in Town, being a Christian in Hollywood, and what it’s like to film a scene in arctic temperatures.

In New in Town you play the role of Blanche Gunderson, a born again Christian.  And surprisingly, your character is portrayed in a positive light.  If you don’t mind, please share your thoughts on this?

I could have had a much bigger career if I had done a lot of things that mocked Jesus Christ or went against what I morally believe.  I pray all the time for something that I can do that Jesus would be proud of me doing.  When I got the script and I saw where my character first talks about Jesus, I thought, surely I am going to get to a page where they make fun of Him.  And it never happened.  They mentioned Him again and again.  I feel like my prayers were answered.  I know they were.  I am so proud and so happy to be in this film.  I thought, to have something for my kids to be able to go to that I am so proud of, that talks about Jesus Christ, that is so much more important to me than my career in any way. It is just unbelievable.  Growing up, I was from a small town in Upstate New York and my best friend was a born again Christian.  I am Catholic.  I would go to her youth group and she would come to mine.  I have such respect for all types of Christians.  I am so happy that the Christian community has a movie it can go to where they can see a Christian woman representing Jesus in a positive way.  I am just thrilled about it.

And what about us singing “O Holy Night” in the film?  It was amazing that these producers were brave enough to do this.  Maybe they went insane for a minute and went out on a limb in their thinking.  Why is that insane?  I don’t know.

You seem to be perfectly cast for the role of Blanche in New in Town.  She is a character who reflects a warm, congenial spirit.  Did you have a fun time playing this role?  Personally, I think you stole the film.

I had the best time.  Blanche talks to everybody.  She talks to the mail man; she talks to this person, and that person.  My kids will say to me, ‘Mom, listen, we are going to the ice cream shop.  You can’t talk to everybody.’  I love small town living and I love knowing everybody.  Like Blanche, I am also a big fixer-upper (matchmaker).  I have fixed up several couples who have gotten married.  I am very active in my church with kids there and at my children’s school.  Blanche is too.  There are so many huge similarities between she and I.  Blanche also just loves love.  She just loves seeing the romance unfold between Lucy (Renee Zellweger) and Ted (Harry Connick, Jr.). 

Changing gears, the cold temperatures played a key factor in creating the atmosphere for the entire movie.  It was shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where it has been reported that temperatures dipped 50 degrees below zero while filming.  Could you talk about your experiences in filming in such a cold climate?

First of all, I am from Syracuse, New York, and it gets down to about 15 below at its absolute coldest.  We had a scene on a porch where we had to cry that was 56 degrees below zero when we shot it.  There were warnings that said the amount of time your face can be exposed to the elements is ten minutes.  It is like New York City with the heat in the summer.  Long story short, the lens froze on the camera and we had to redo the scene the next day.  I thought you have got to be kidding me.  We had all of these different types of hand warmers, foot warmers, and neck warmers but I was determined to still go out because I just love getting fresh air.  It was brutal and the crew was incredible because they were outside all day every day.  It was a killer but it is like skiing.  When you get to the bottom of the hill and you’ve had a great run it makes it all worth it.  Every day on this film you feel like you accomplished something because you made it through to the end of the day.

In recent days, the movie studio (Lionsgate) made a decision to remove some coarse language to make New in Town more family friendly.  In doing so, it now has a PG rating instead of PG-13.  Do you think everyone can relate to this film in one way or another?

I absolutely do.  There is something for kids with the young daughter of Harry’s character.  Everybody loves a romance.  We have that in the film.  I think people feel uncomfortable in new places.  So, if you have ever felt uncomfortable this film will appeal to you.  This will open the door for people who have wanted Christians and faith based people to be well represented.  Also, there is the whole situation with the manufacturing plant closing in the film which a lot of people can relate to because of the downturn in the economy.  The movie is packed with several Americana themes.

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