What Rick Santorum's New Career as a Christian Movie Producer Looks Like

Philip Bump
The Atlantic Wire

If there was someone out there who put $100 in Vegas on Rick Santorum someday becoming the CEO of a movie studio, that person is now a millionaire. In an appearance on Mike Huckabee's Fox show Saturday, the former presidential candidate and recently retired World Net Daily contributor announced that he's taking the helm of EchoLight Studios. If you want to place a bet on the type of movies the studio produces, you probably won't get as good of odds.

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EchoLight, founded last year, focuses on producing and distributing "high-quality movies for families of faith." Its existing line-up of films features a number of professional-looking posters and trailers. And the studio has lined up some legitimate-if-not-quite-A-list names: Corbin Bernsen stars in 25 Hill; Seinfeld's David Puddy, Patrick Warburton, is in Hoovey, which is about a basketball player with a brain tumor. (Seinfeld is not listed in Warburton's prior credits, despite the frequent suggestion that EchoLight's new CEO resembles that show's star.)

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Santorum's experience with the media appears to be fairly limited, including a brief stint as a Fox News contributor and a recurring role on the very popular show, 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Debates. But he's long expressed an interest in film. In 2011, he spoke with the Heritage Foundation, describing his Hollywood ideal.

“The problem in the past is that you have these people who create these Christian films — great message, terrible acting, horrible editing,” Santorum said. “They are not entertaining, they’re preachy.”

So how can conservatives entertain an audience while still promoting a principled message? Send your children to Hollywood. “I want people who see the world the way conservatives see the world in Hollywood,” Santorum declared.

While Santorum won't be headed to Hollywood (EchoLight is based ion Dallas), at least part of Santorum's filmmaking vision is coming true. But it means giving something up: Santorum's only other post-campaign job, writing columns for the archconservative World Net Daily has come to an abrupt end after six months, given his new role. In his final column, he writes:

[R]ather than using our pen for this weekly column, we’re going to be using our feet and our voices more going forward. We’ll use our feet to cover as much of the country as we can to meet you and listen to you. And we’ll use our voices to take your message back to Washington and out into the media so that you too can be heard.

EchoLight appears to be a more substantive venture than the production house of another former 2012 candidate, Newt Gingrich. Gingrich's eponymous firm mixes its movie offerings with a broad sampling of Gingrichian politics. Which is probably for the best; in 2010, a company that tracks movie sales labeled Gingrich Productions' films as failures.

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Santorum has a little more to work with. The studio's newest release is a Western called The Redemption of Henry Myers Trailer. It is about an outlaw who is somehow redeemed.

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From the film's description:

Henry begins to question the choices he's made in his life. Just when things begin to make sense again, it's all ripped away from him when his old partners show up. Will he seek the revenge he desires or finally find his Redemption?

This is not intended as an allegory for Santorum's failed presidential bid, we don't think.