Last week I told you about Same Kind of Different As Me, a ridiculous book that’s about to become a ridiculous movie, and now we have more news. Co-written by Lynn Vincent, who also co-authored Heaven Is For Real and Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue, Same Kind of Different As Me tells the story of Ron Hall, whose official bio describes him as an “international art dealer” with an MBA from Texas Christian University, who, after being unfaithful to his wife, Deborah, promised her he would do anything she asked. Deborah, according to legend, made Ron promise to help her find a homeless man that she had seen in a dream.
“She had a dream about this homeless man who was poor but wise, and by his wisdom our city would be changed,” Mr. Hall said.
Then, like something out of the Nicholas Sparks edition of The Secret, the Halls manifested their own magical negro, Denver Moore, a homeless former sharecropper from Louisiana who’d done time in jail and who never went to school, whom the Halls met while volunteering at a Ft. Worth homeless shelter. Some say they changed his life, others say he changed theirs. In any case, their story changed the town, just as the white lady’s prophecy had foretold. It all began when Moore delivered the eulogy at Deborah Hall’s funeral.
At her funeral, Mr. Moore stood up before the crowd to pay tribute to her. He said that during more than 25 years on the street, no one had ever stopped to ask his name.
“Miss Debbie saw through all the anger and confusion and saw straight to his heart,” Mr. Hall recalled. “It was like the old hymn he used to sing on the plantation, ‘When nothing else would help, love lifted me, love lifted me.’ He said it was her love that gave him hope and reason to change.”
Mr. Moore received a standing ovation from the more than 1,000 people at the service, and people started making pledges to build a new Union Gospel Mission. “By noon the next day, more than half a million dollars had already come in from people who had been at the service,” Mr. Hall said. Within two years, $12 million was available for construction of a new homeless mission.
Do you think Ron Hall ever calls Denver Moore “Mr. Denver,” or does the “Miss Debbie”/”Mr. Ron” thing only work the other way? Discuss.
A book followed in 2006, going on to sell more than a million copies. Hollywood, naturally, smelled the money. Much like Sony/Tristar did with Heaven Is For Real ($101 million worldwide on a $12 million budget), Paramount is now distributing the movie version of Same Kind of Different As Me. Zellweger was tapped to play Deborah Hall last week, and now Greg Kinnear has signed on as Hall, Djimon Hounsou has been added as Denver Moore, with Jon Voight stepping in to play Hall’s estranged father.
That’s two faith-based projects in a row for Greg Kinnear, who has either developed a faith himself, or has seen the light of people wanting to pay him big bucks for his wholesome heartland looks. Either way, he’s a great actor, and I hope he demanded back-end points.