Behind the Scenes: On the Set of “Tribulation”

By: Dr. Ted Baehr; ©2000
Dr. Baehr and his son address the making of the movie Tribulation, and conduct an interview with Gary Busey, who plays the hero in the movie.


MOVIEGUIDE’s® Dr. Ted Baehr visited the set of Peter and Paul Lalonde’s new film, Tribulation, during production. The movie is the third in a series that has followed the prophetic events outlined in the Book of Revelation from a Dispensational point of view. With a cast consisting of veteran actors Gary Busey, Howie Mandel and Margot Kidder, and a promising production crew, the strongly Christian Tribulation is vying for a theat­rical release. The previous two movies were Apocalypse and Revelation, but you don’t have to see them in order to enjoy Tribulation.

The Lalonde brothers brought together a talented mix of new and experienced talent to make their vision a reality. “It was a courageous decision,” Peter Lalonde says, “on Paul’s part and on my part to put in a first-time director (Andre van Herden) on Revelation, but it’s being rewarded now.”

He also believes that teaming Andre with George Tirl, an experienced cinematogra­pher, was a blessed decision, “Andre walked in green but with raw talent. George walked in with experience and a gentle spirit. George has brought Andre a million miles in a year and a half, and here he is directing Tribulation. I really believe that, in all aspects of Chris­tian filmmaking, God honors unity and talent.”

George Tirl, like many of the members of the crew, “felt not only hired by the producers but by the Lord Himself.”

George, who has worked on numerous films and features, said of his work in Holly­wood, “Many times when I worked in Hollywood, as a Christian cameraman and a Christian filmmaker, I prayed about every project. The only problem was that, with the Hollywood pictures, many times I heard this tiny little voice saying, ‘Why should I bless this?’ But on these projects, on Revelation and Tribulation, the blessings are coming down. We feel that this is something the Lord wants for the future.”

Director Andre van Herden hopes the movie will open people’s eyes to the reality of God.

“I want people to watch it who don’t know Bible prophecy, who don’t know the Bible at all, who don’t know God,” he said. “I want to try to reach my friends from university. Good guys, lot of fun, but 80 to 90 percent of them don’t believe in Satan, think there’s a God but have no relationship with God. It’s a case of ‘Yeah, there’s a God’ but [they give] no real thought to it. I want them to put some thought to it.”

The Lalondes’ goal for Tribulation is clear:

“A theatrical release,” Peter says. “Establish ourselves as mainstream players, not niche players. As I’ve shared before, that’s where we want to play. We don’t want to play preaching to the choir. We want to go out and have Christian values in mainstream films. Hopefully, Tribulation is a step (in that direction), but, if not, at least it’s a step on the way to there.”

Now, the brothers intend to establish a full-fledged Christian film studio.

“We had great success with Apocalypse and, had we wanted to, we could have continued very successfully making movies at the level of Apocalypse. There was a conscious decision on both my brother’s part and my part that Cloud Ten Pictures is going to become, one day by the grace of God, a full-fledged Christian film studio. If we don’t succeed, it won’t be for lack of effort. The only thing it will be is lack of faith.”

NOTE: Below is a question and answer session Dr. Ted Baehr conducted with Gary Busey, who plays the hero in Tribulation.

Dr. Ted Baehr: Gary, this is a revelation to you, right?
Gary Busey: It’s not really a revelation, it’s an answer to a prayer. I rededicated my life to Christ five years ago at the Promise Keepers event in Los Angeles. I am now speak­ing for the Promise Keepers, and I have a ministry where I speak testimony-wise all over the country. And, for several months I’ve been seeing what the film industry does with special effects, gratuitous sex, heads coming off, guts being splattered, dysfunctional this, and dysfunctional that. But, as St. Paul said, darkness cannot walk with light.
When I was in the first grade I saw a movie titled Samson and Delilah. I told my mother, I want to do what those people do up there, on the screen. She said, “You mean you want to be in the picture show?” I said, “No, I want to tell stories with light.” First grade. So, I’ve been praying about making movies and God gave me the opportunity and direction and the backbone to do them. It has been an incredible message, especially in our times, to be giving [to] the public. And, we’re close to coming into our last days, (if) we’re not there already. That’s not a scary thing to me. It’s an inspiration to me because what we do in the last days, what we do believe, we want to be examples and leaders and give messages to humanity the right way.
I was playing the guitar one night working on an improv. It was a song called What Would Jesus Do? and my wife Teani said, “That was pretty, Gary, that was really beauti­ful.” Then I walked into the bathroom and a voice came into my head and said, “Your minis­try is in your music.” So, I’m putting a gospel album together. It’s going to be called A Force of Angels.
This movie is a gift from God to me to give a message to people who need to hear the truth about believing in Jesus Christ, and the truth about knowing God’s power, and the truth about the fact that we are in the end days. [People] need to pay attention, wake up, commit themselves to the Savior, who is Jesus, and move on in their lives and watch how everything turns over for the good. It will be better than they ever had it before.
My intentions in my career now, or my purpose in life, is to give statements in the right way, so they will give people hope and bring them back to faith. When I was in the meditation center two days before my cancer surgery in 1997, I said a prayer. It was a long prayer, and, in the middle of the prayer, I said, “Dear Lord, I’m filled with fear.” And, a voice came into my head again and said, “Replace the word fear with faith.” And, I said, OK, that’s great, yeah, that’s good. What’s faith? What is it? OK, look it up. Not there. Look in the spiritual books. Not there. Look, where can you find it? So I took the word apart, F-A-I-T-H, and now to me faith stands for Fantastic Adventures in Trusting Him. And, it does relieve a weight that was on my shoulders and it gave me a spiritual awakening. And, the word Bible now means to me Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. These messages, these films we’re making, are very important to man­kind today. I’m pleased I can give my experiences to others, to help them see the light and become believers. But first of all, you got to be able to accept yourself and where you’ve been and who you’ve been and where you are. It’s a beautiful moment in my life now. As a matter of fact, today is my 55th birthday.
Dr. Ted Baehr: Happy birthday.
Gary Busey: Thank you, Ted.
Dr. Ted Baehr: The Lord has blessed you.
Gary Busey: He has been in many ways. I mean, with my motorcycle wreck, I hit my head on concrete going 40 miles an hour. Had some brain surgery.
MOVIEGUIDE®: You look very well today.
Gary Busey: Thank you, thank you. I feel incredibly well inside. I feel better inside than I think I am. But, that’s just my thoughts, and those thoughts are part of a little low self-esteem that I carried from my father’s generation to my generation. I went to an inten­sive called LifeWorks, with Terry Kellog and Marvel Kellog, and it’s where you go to your family of origin, you go back to your parents, and you find out what you carried from that generation to this generation, whether it be a curse or an ailment. And through the therapy you go through and the events and the experiences of this intensive, you learn to break the link of what you’re carrying. I’ve had the pleasure of being released to the freedom of pure identity again. There are so many things on the earth that God has put here for us to learn about ourselves and how to function. It could be called curses that we carry from one generation to the next.
In the movie, I’m playing Everyman (I’m playing the part of Tom the detective but he’s going to be Everyman). Like Everyman, I’m going through detective work, then I have a car accident and I’m down for eight months. I have a traumatic brain injury (I used my own experience for that), and then I come out seeing what’s happening with everybody with three Sixes on their hand, and I go running from that and then I fight it. And then I’m fight­ing it, and I go back into a blown-up, abandoned church and give myself to the Lord.
Dr. Ted Baehr: Have you seen the first two films Peter and Paul made? Or part of the other films they made?
Gary Busey: No, nothing.
Dr. Ted Baehr: They’ve done good work. They’re doing great work.
Gary Busey: I haven’t had these feelings making movies since The Buddy Holly Story and Lethal Weapon, because there’s a big heart injection in this process that we’re doing to complete and accomplish a film involving a message from God. What a way to minister. Think about it.

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