BTSCelebs: Why did you decide to bring “Coffee Shop” to the television audience?
Dave Alan Johnson: I believe there is a great desire for (and need for) top quality entertainment, which not only respects a Christian world view, but actually embraces those values. Coffee Shop does that in a very romantic and comedic way with real heart. That’s what I think the audience wants and is not getting in the rest of culture.
Tell us about Coffee Shop’s leading lady. How does she differ from the current trend in Hollywood today?
I think Laura Vandervoort is a burgeoning star. She’s got all of the qualities and talent to become a huge movie star. In that sense she is very much like a typical top Hollywood leading lady. However, the character she plays in COFFEE SHOP is what is very different than a typical Hollywood leading character. Nowhere in Culture do Christian women see a role model who is also modern, stylish, strong and relevant. We have some of those within the Christian world, but not in general culture, so we wanted to make a smart, entertaining, modern, fun, romantic movie that had a Christian woman in the lead role – which is not a sermon on film, but rather a top quality entertaining movie . Laura embodied that role amazingly!
Everything I do I view as mainstream entertainment. That is always the approach and the target. What I create also always happens to have an inspirational aspect and Christian world view. To be effective we must first engage the audience. The way to do that is through doing entertaining well executed content. Once the audience is engaged they are available to accept the message of the content. If that message is presented in an entertaining and excellent package there can be real impact. For me that’s always the goal.
Who is your favorite author? Which of their books would you love to recreate on the silver screen?
Because I read so many scripts it’s sometimes hard for me to also read for pleasure. There’s just not enough time. I hate that because I love to read books! When I do find a book I love I read it voraciously. I love history books. I love non-fiction books. My favorite author right now may be Michael Lewis. When I read The Blind Side I tried to get the rights, but they were already taken. That’s the kind of movie I know how to make and would love to have made!
If you had the opportunity to cast one movie with only Christian recording artists, who would you choose?
Why would you choose these particular recording artists? Interesting question. Having done a series with Billy Ray Cyrus (Doc) I know about working with music artists. We had many other music artists in that series as well – Steven Curtis Chapman, Cece Winans, Jaci Velasquez… I always enjoyed working with them and some have become close friends. In each of those cases acting was new to them, but they figured things out quickly. There are some great young artists I think would be great to work with. Kari Jobe comes to mind. I just did something with a relatively unknown recently by the name of Mandi Mapes who is terrific. She’s an amazing music talent. The new generation is so media savvy that most of them have a very comfortable relationship to movies and TV. I love Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin. I’d love to do something with all of them. I know I’m leaving many out – I hope they please forgive me! And if any of them want to do anything please call me!!
* A Special Thanks to Icon Media Group and Dave Alan Johnson for the exclusive interview and images.*