From Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to Edge of Tomorrow, it seems like there’s always an apocalypse happening somewhere. But Left Behind is something all its own. The 1995 novel, based on authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ controversial interpretation of the Book of Revelation, inspired a 16-book series, a low-budget film trilogy, and a fervent following among evangelical Christians. Now a new version of Left Behind is coming to the big screen on Oct. 3, and Yahoo Movies is exclusively premiering the full-length trailer above.
Left Behind takes place on the day of the Rapture, when millions of people suddenly disappear from the Earth. Nicolas Cage plays pilot Ray Steele, who is mid-air on a jet plane when the event occurs; Cassi Thompson plays his daughter Chloe, who is desperate to figure out why her mother and brother have vanished. It’s a story that many people know by heart. But when director Vic Armstrong first encountered the script, he’d never even heard of the books, though he found the themes they evoked very easy to relate to.
“All of us, in moments of stress, we go, ‘Please, God – or somebody — help me out!’ It’s about trying to believe there is something that can overcome whatever affliction is happening at the time, otherwise there’s no hope,” Armstrong says.
Best known for his work as a stuntman (he doubled for Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones films and Christopher Reeve in Superman I and II), Armstrong has been steadily employed as a second-unit director for decades. His work on Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Season of the Witch acquainted Armstrong with Nicolas Cage, who agreed to work on Left Behind in spite of its modest budget.
Although Armstrong is now well-acquainted with the Left Behind lore, he still recalls his surprise when he learned that the books were based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. “[My agent] David Gersh said, ‘Well, what about the religious aspect?’ And I said, ‘What religious aspect?’” Armstrong says with a laugh. “He said, ‘Didn’t you find it strange when people disappeared on the plane and everything?’ I said, ‘David, I did Starship Troopers, and I didn’t question it when great big bugs came climbing over the hill and ripped people’s heads off. That’s the world I live in!’”