The Celestine Prophecy, the best-selling American book in the world in the mid-1990s, is back. The film version of one of the nation’s favorite books will be released nationwide this spring, and holistic communities, church groups and others are now planning sneak previews in the Twin Cities, and across the country.
The relatively short novel had originally been self-published in trade paperback in 1993. James and Salle Redfield personally took the book to independent and alternative bookstores, primarily in the South, giving away half of the original 3,000 copies to anyone who would read it. Within months, the word of mouth on the book prompted re-order after re-order. Before Warner secured the publishing rights, the Redfields had sold more than 100,000 copies.
In 1995 and 1996, The Celestine Prophecy was the best-selling American book in the world. It stayed on the New York Times bestsellers list for more than three years, was translated into more than 40 languages, and ultimately influenced the world with some 12 million copies in print. A 2000 New York Times Reader’s Poll named The Celestine Prophecy as the No. 1 all-time bestseller in religion, spirituality, and philosophy. In more than 100 cities worldwide, organized groups still gather to discuss the relevance of The Celestine Prophecy to their lives.
Since the worldwide phenomenon of The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield has continued his authorship of visionary literature in some 10 additional books and 10 audiotapes. His wife and partner, Salle Merrill Redfield, has further contributed to their work with meditation books and tapes. The Tenth Insight, the second novel in the Celestine series, went to No. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list in 1996, and the third novel – The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleventh Insight – was published in November 1999. There are now more than 20 million James Redfield books in print in more than 50 foreign languages.
With all this unparalleled success of a single novel, it was certain that Hollywood producers would want the rights to turn The Celestine Prophecy into what – an action-adventure movie? Offers were made – multimillion-dollar offers that only required James Redfield to sign a contract – but his intuition led him not to accept them. He expressed his intention on his website: "We want this film to come into being in accordance with the vision of the new spiritual consciousness that the story seeks to describe." In his development of The Celestine Prophecy movie, James reaffirmed his trust in synchronicity.
From the process of writing a screenplay to his choices for co-producers, from location searches to casting, from filming to distribution, James Redfield remained faithful to the Celestine Insights. For everyone involved in the making of the movie, the Seventh Insight provided a template for behavior: "Discover that intuitive thoughts are there to guide us and once followed, increase the synchronicity that leads us toward the actualization of our contribution."
Celestine, the film
In The Celestine Prophecy: The Movie, the vision of James Redfield was not compromised. His commitment to making spiritual truths accessible was evident throughout the cinematic journey, and what he once imagined can now be experienced on the big screen.
"The making of The Celestine Prophecy movie has been a long and interesting adventure, beginning years before the screenplay was written, or the actors signed, and even – believe it or not – before the book itself was conceived," Redfield says. "In fact, if the truth be known, the book first dawned on me visually, as a series of images, dramatic scenes, that all arrived in my head feeling like movie moments. Later, written up journal style, the book then came alive in a way, first for me, and then for many others. And while I could say it was based on my personal experience, I have never claimed much credit for what it became.
"The book was an adventure that I partly lived but mostly just received, and it somehow struck universal chords of the soul, first for me, and then apparently for almost anyone else, at any time, who wonders about the purpose of life at a deeper ontological level. Turning it into a movie posed a certain dilemma, however. Images were one thing, but that many images, well, were unmanageable. Hollywood was adamant. Adaptation of this book couldn’t be done. There were too many ideas, too many connections that existed at ever deeper levels of the subtext, too many long, winding dialogues that roamed here and there, only making sense in the last moments as the many drawstrings were pulled together. No way to get it clearly expressed in two hours, or even three. Perhaps a 16-hour miniseries, they said."
For years, Redfield says, the book destined to eventually become a film remained in limbo, until it became clear that the film had to be a different kind of parable than the book, "with a complicated but more global meaning, a kind of snapshot of the Celestine worldview that became ever more impactful with each subsequent viewing-but all laced within a story line that had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and moved along at a rate that moviegoers expect."
"In fits and starts, the synchronicity began to pour through, and in the end, everyone we needed showed up at just the right time: the investors, the crew, the cast, even the groups involved in the early tests of the movie," Redfield says. "All that’s left now is for the real test to happen as this movie is released into the world.
"I would only ask that you remember one thing. The real impact is one you’ll sense more fully without thinking. It will be something you feel – not so much with your emotions, but with your body, your soul – as a distantly familiar world begins to emerge. We can only hope that those same images – call them archetypes, clicks into a higher awareness – will do their thing again. And perhaps we’ll now actually embrace a reality that before we could only intuit – a reality that’s always been right here in front of our eyes, a glance away, in the sky, in the trees, in the light reflecting on a human face…just waiting until we had the eyes to see."
About the filmmakers
A talented crew has created The Celestine Prophecy: The Movie. Among the crew joining James and Salle Redfield were:
Director: Armand Mastroianni, who has been directing feature films and television for the past 25 years beginning with his first feature film He Knows You’re Alone, followed by The Killing Hour, The Supernaturals, Distortions, Cameron’s Closet and Double Revenge. Television productions include "Tales From the Dark Side," "War of the Worlds," "Touched By An Angel," "Dead Zone" "Danielle Steel’s The Ring," "The Linda McCartney Story," "Robin Cook’s Virus," "First Daughter" and "Gone but Not Forgotten."
Screenwriter/producer: Barnet Bain, who has earned a reputation for creating innovative projects that celebrate the human spirit. His production of What Dreams May Come garnered two Academy Award nominations, winning the coveted Oscar for Best Visual Effects. His recent television production, Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, received three Emmy nominations and earned him the prestigious Christopher Award as well as an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Made for Television Movie of 2003.
Production Designer: James L. Schoppe, an Academy Award nominee for art direction on the classic, Return of the Jedi. Schoppe’s career has been highlighted by his work on several award-winning productions and a number of Oscar winning films with some of the most talented directors in cinema.
Director of Photography: Michael Givens, a highly successful director and cinematographer of commercials on both the national and international levels. He has worked with such directors as Ridley Scott, Steven Friers, Philip Borsos and Peter Smilie, and his commercial projects have included campaigns for Wrigley’s and Iams for all of Europe, Milka and Persil for Germany, Mizuno and Lipton Tea for Japan, Amaro Montenegro for Italy and a music video for 2 Live Crew and Ice-T.
About the cast
Among the cast members are:
Matthew Settle (John Woodson, narrator) headlined the talented cast in TNT’s epic six-week television event, "Into the West," executive produced by Steven Spielberg. He starred as the young Warren Beatty in the television movie, "The Mystery of Natalie Wood," directed by Peter Bogdanovich. He starred opposite Ashley Judd in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and portrayed the legendary Captain Ronald Speirs in the award-winning HBO production of "Band of Brothers."
Thomas Kretschmann (Wil) is best known to U.S. audiences for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the compassionate Nazi officer who spares the life of Adrien Brody’s Wladyslaw Szpilman in the Academy Award-winning The Pianist. He portrayed Captain Englehorn in the Peter Jackson film, King Kong and had a recurring role on "24."
Sarah Wayne Callies (Marjorie) starred as Jane Porter in the series "Tarzan" and recently starred in ABC’s "The Service." Her first professional role was opposite Oliver Platt’s "Queens Supreme," which was followed by appearances on "Law and Order: SVU" and the "L.A. Dragnet" television series. Chosen as one of the new faces of L’Oreal, she is featured in advertising campaigns for the international cosmetics company.
Annabeth Gish (Julia), who plays President Bartlett’s older daughter on NBC’s Emmy winning drama, "The West Wing," recently starred in the independent feature film, Knots. She first gained the attention of critics and moviegoers at the age of 13 when, according to film critic Roger Ebert, she delivered a performance of "stunning power" in the feature film Desert Bloom. She went on to star in the acclaimed Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts and in the films, Double Jeopardy, Wyatt Earp, Beautiful Girls and Oliver Stone’s Nixon in which she played Tricia Nixon.
Hector Elizondo (Cardinal Sebastian) is a four-time Emmy nominee who received the prestigious award in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Dr. Phillip Watters on CBs’ "Chicago Hope." He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of a hotel manager in Pretty Woman. Elizondo has appeared in more than 80 films and frequently appears on television productions and on the Broadway stage.
For more information, visit www.thecelestineprohecymovie.com