Glenn’s made no secret of his love for the new movie ‘Little Boy’, a family film that shows how individuals can perform miracles through the power of faith. Leo Severino, producer of ‘Little Boy’, joined Glenn on radio to discuss the film and why people in Hollywood who say there is no room for family films are completely wrong.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment:
GLENN: I'm really excited about a new friend I made here the last couple of days. He's a guy who has started Metanoia Films and made the movie "Little Boy" and previously before that, "Bella" and is a like-minded thinker and a guy who is trying to change the culture from the inside. And you were with Twentieth Century Fox. Right? Flip up your mic. Leo Severino is with us now. Hi, Leo. You have to flip on that red button. Push it up. Or down.
LEO: There it is. Well, I have to say, first of all, what's up, my crackers? I'm Hispanic. No. My wife is Hispanic.
GLENN: Yeah, your wife is Hispanic. No. It's what's up my, cracka? We're not crackers.
LEO: You can call me your Wheat Thin.
STU: Julio, it's okay for us to say that to each other, but it's not okay for you.
GLENN: Yeah, you're Hispanic. It's totally fine for us.
LEO: As you can tell, I've been a fan of you guys so long. Pat, Stu, Glenn, as well.
GLENN: Notice he left out Jeffy.
LEO: Why do you have Jeffy standing? You can't even give him a chair or something?
GLENN: No. Can you imagine how big he'd be if we let him sit down?
PAT: Oh, my gosh. Plus, no chair could hold him.
GLENN: So, my Wheat Thin, so tell me, first of all, I want to get this movie stuff out of the way here. If I have recommended that you go see "Little Boy" -- this weekend is very important for you to see "Little Boy", if you haven't seen it. Because it probably won't be in the movie theaters for very much longer if you don't go see it. Had a good weekend. But it's open on limited screens. And all of the biggies are coming out here the next couple of weeks.
GLENN: So this is the weekend to see "Little Boy."
PAT: Yeah, it's getting to be that time of year when they push the little ones out of the theaters.
LEO: That's it. David and Goliath time.
GLENN: And there are really great names in this movie. Kevin James, who I think is hysterical.
LEO: Greatest guy on the planet.
GLENN: You're friends with him. Right? What's he like?
LEO: He's fantastic. Hilarious. He's hilarious.
GLENN: I love him.
LEO: Not as funny as Stu, but hilarious.
STU: Wow. That's not going to help his career.
GLENN: Wow. That's really taking him down many, many notches.
LEO: By the way, completely kidding. The guy is hilarious. For real. If you ask me, Kevin James. Emily Watson.
JEFFY: That's fantastic.
LEO: Tom Wilkinson. It's an insanely good cast.
GLENN: It is.
LEO: We were blessed to have that caliber of people.
GLENN: This is the kind of movie that we've said -- have you guys seen it yet?
PAT: Not yet. I'll see it this weekend.
LEO: You're killing me. You have to see it this weekend.
GLENN: We've talked about this. This is the movie that Rotten Tomatoes, the critics gave it 10 percent.
PAT: That's unbelievable.
GLENN: And the audience has given it 88 percent.
PAT: I don't think I've ever seen a disparity between critics and people that wide.
LEO: I think the publicity team said we broke the records.
GLENN: So here's the thing. The reason it's like this is because it -- it showcases the -- the Frank Capra America. It has that idyllic peaceful, loving sweetness to it that we all love in Frank Capra movies. I think this is a modern day Frank Capra Walt Disney. Not what Walt Disney is now. I mean So Dear My Heart. His movies.
LEO: Back when she was ostracized as well.
GLENN: Right. People said it's all candy corns and sweetness and saccharine crap. That's what made those two guys.
LEO: You said something so wonderful, Glenn, when you said about this film. You said you want to believe in the America that we presented. This Norman Rockwell. We do too. That's why we make these films.
GLENN: I don't know if you know this. You're Hispanic, I don't know if you know this.
LEO: It's an odd thing. And the director. The director doesn't speak English. It's between English and Spanish. Somewhere in the middle. And he believes in that America too. Eduardo, you were gracious to have on the show. The three of us -- he is from Mexico. And he believes in that America too because the US has opened the doors for opportunity that we wouldn't have anywhere in the world.
GLENN: It's always the immigrants. It's always the immigrants that renew us.
LEO: This is our love letter in a sense to America.
PAT: I can't tell you how often we go through the list of movies that are open that weekend, and want to go with the family. And there's literally zero movies we can all go to as a family. It's great to actually have something that you can take the kids to and feel good about.
GLENN: We were talking off the stage yesterday that Leo and I were, that we've brought History House, which is -- you know, our kind of, you know, 30-minute television, kind of our ode to Walt Disney and what he did with the Wonderful World of Disney. And they're telling us now, there are no buyers for family television.
LEO: It's complete rubbish. It's absolute nonsense. When you down to the statistics of what actually sells. I actually brought some stuff. There's this great entity. It's called Movie Guide. MovieGuide.org. Ted Baehr is fantastic. He's been a voice screaming in the wilderness in Hollywood saying, sex doesn't sell. Nudity doesn't sell. Vulgarity doesn't sell. It's not just not the case. When you look at the combined averages of the films, for example, in 2013, his latest report, rated R films, films with graphic elements, accounted for about 11 percent of the combined average of the box office.
LEO: Eleven. And they accounted for 47 percent of the films being distributed, en masse. So the diplomatic way of saying this is, you know, the supply is not measurable to the demand out there. It's disproportionate to the amount of the demand. Really what it means is that there's something more than the profit motive going on.
PAT: It means there's an agenda.
LEO: If they wanted to make money, you would just make family -- you're doubling the audience. It's pure economics.
GLENN: You worked at Twentieth Century Fox. I don't want to single them out. Because Hollywood is Hollywood. Do you think this movie would have -- do you think "Little Boy" could have been made or would have been made by Hollywood?
LEO: Pixar, perhaps. That's the model that we really, really, really believe in.
LEO: But no.
GLENN: It almost looks like a Pixar.
If Pixar did live action, it looks like a Pixar.
LEO: Thank you for that. And our cinematographer was at Pixar previously.
GLENN: Can I ask you a question. Was it filmed?
LEO: It was on film. The last film in wide distribution that was on --
GLENN: It is beautiful.
LEO: Thank you.
GLENN: I was watching it this weekend, I was thinking I think this is film --
PAT: That was my next question, was it filmed or was it digital? I had to know. I had to know.
GLENN: You won't know why this film hearkens back to that Frank Capra film. You won't know exactly why it feels like those old films. But it's because of film.
PAT: Leo, how was the filmed blocked?
GLENN: Shut up.
STU: What kind of gaffing did you have --
LEO: You have no idea what gaffing is.
STU: No, I don't. These guys do a lot of things to make us look --
LEO: There's something to be said of that. We really thought that we wanted to depict this Americana. The way it would have been predicted if Norman Rockwell were shooting this film. Even at a greater expense and greater time. And you were shooting with a little kid because of these silly labor laws that they have nowadays. You can't shoot so many hours. It was much more expensive. But we thought it was worth it because we wanted something authentic. That was really Americana.
GLENN: Two stories I want you to tell. Tell the story of Eduardo, who he is, and what he's given up to tell these stories.
LEO: If you were a 16-year-old Wheat Thin. I don't know what the appropriate term is. But if you were Hispanic, you would know who Eduardo is. He was this heartthrob, kind of the Brad Pitt of Mexico. Also part of a boy band.
PAT: From a soap opera?
LEO: Yeah, from soap operas. First boy bands then television.
PAT: Was it Maria?
GLENN: Wait. Listen to him say -- go ahead.
PAT: [foreign language]
GLENN: Isn't that great? I think he just lives it. All of a sudden, he's there.
LEO: [foreign language] that was his show. That was Eduardo's big one. [foreign language] was another one. He was on a few. He was like the go-to guy. And his boy band of selling out stadiums with 50,000 screaming women, that sort of thing.
STU: And now he has you.
LEO: And now he has me.
GLENN: Wow. That's good. Big part in this movie.
LEO: That was great. We needed to get him in. But we were like, you don't fit with Norman Rockwell. We'll come up with something. You won't recognize him.
GLENN: At one point they open up a door, and he's like Maria.
LEO: But he had this change of heart. When he came to Hollywood, he did this film called Chasing Papi. Where he was the Latin lover that had three women, he was dating them at the same time. That sort of crazy stereotype. That's when he realized, what in the world am I doing? And then I think God touched his heart. And the rest is history.
GLENN: He told me that he made a promise to his mom and he said, Mom, I will not make a movie that you can't go to.
LEO: That's right.
GLENN: So he has passed on a lot. All the women in the control room when he was on that one day, they were like, you can keep him on. I think we're out of stuff to talk about. Doesn't matter. Keep him going. Because he has quite the opportunity especially in today's world. But he's not going for it. He's not going for the cash. He's going for, let's do the right thing.
LEO: And after he made that promise, he stopped working for years. And him and I met randomly. Not randomly. I think providentially on a random Wednesday at a church. Him and I had kind of similar ideas and similar concepts. At the time I was at Fox, like you mentioned. And I was striving for something of greater meaning. And we connected. And the next thing we know, we did this. It's crazy to start something independent with no connections at the time. No money. We went broke trying to do this thing. And, but we were really firm in the conviction that we needed to do something. You know, there's so much darkness around. We wanted to light a candle.
GLENN: Tell me about the little boy. The actual -- the actor.
LEO: Jakob Salvati. He's fantastic.
GLENN: He is a superstar. I've seen child actors where you're like, that kid will be -- when you saw, Haley Osment. You said, okay, he'll be a star. This kid is off the charts. And it wasn't him that was trying out.
LEO: That's right. They brought in his brother. And he was there as well. Give him a try. First audition didn't go so well. Him and the director kept having the giggles. We passed him up. The casting director was like, this kid got something. He has something.
GLENN: He's magic.
LEO: Not according to the critic. He's been slammed so hard.
GLENN: He carries this movie.
LEO: They call him saccharine. His heart is so pure. He said, I don't understand why -- I don't understand why the critics are saying that. He said, people really love the film.
GLENN: How old is he?
LEO: He was eight when we shot. He's 11 now.
GLENN: He's great.
LEO: He's fantastic.
GLENN: But I hear and, correct me if I'm wrong, the story was told to me because his brother tried out, they went back and got him. And when you decided that it was going to be him, that his brother broke out in tears.
LEO: Yeah. We were in a room together. He said, the director interviewed him, and I was there with him. And the brother starts crying. And we thought it was just a moment of -- you know, maybe he was a little sad he didn't get the role or whatever it was. And he pulled me aside and he said, we're kind of broke right now. And this will save our family. It will save our house. So we talked to his dad. And he's cool with us saying that publicly because they're humble and awesome. This film has touched people in many ways.
GLENN: The kid broke out in tears of joy that his brother got the job. How great -- that is just unbelievable.
GLENN: That's unbelievable.
LEO: , yeah.
GLENN: I'm thrilled to know you. I really am.
LEO: Thank you so much. I am a big fan. Our hearts in the same place. Kind of in different industries. Thank you for supporting. Any way we can support you. We're here.
GLENN: Well, it's an honor. Please go see this weekend "Little Boy". You will not be disappointed. I warn you, it's Frank Capra. So if you didn't like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. If you didn't like, you know, It's a Wonderful Life.
PAT: Well, first of all, you're a communist.
GLENN: You know, if you don't like Norman Rockwell, you're not going to like this. But if you have that heart for America of what it really can be, you're going to love this movie.
LEO: Thank you. Thank you so much for saying that. Frank Capra is my hero when it comes to filmmakers. It's a Wonderful Life.
GLENN: You're Hispanic.
LEO: I know. You keep reminding me of this. I keep having to check to make sure that that's the case. Turns out, it still is. But -- sometimes it takes -- I mean, I was born here. My parents are from South America. Columbia. I love them to death. Obviously. They raised me with the right values. It turns out it's the American values. The same ones. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective like our director who didn't speak the language until he was 17 to show the beauty of this country. That's part of what we're trying to do. I wanted to say, Ben, your cohort --
GLENN: American Dream Labs.
LEO: Yes. He said, say the cities where you need help. So is it all right?
We need help in St. Louis, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Salt Lake City. Those are the four cities, if we can really do well this weekend, we can hopefully retain the theaters going forward. So that's St. Louis, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Salt Lake.
GLENN: Go see this movie. Please, take your family. Take your friends. Take your friend's family. Don't even ask the parents. Just disappear the children for a couple of hours. And go see "Little Boy". You will love it! Truly love it. Thank you so much.
LEO: Thank you, Glenn. Thank you, Pat.