The star-making business behind Southern Baptist megachurches is now getting a big screen twist.
Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown star in the 2022 Sundance breakout comedy “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” written and directed by Adamma Ebo and executive produced by Jordan Peele. The mockumentary premieres in theaters and on Peacock September 2.
Amid allegations of misconduct, Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Brown) tries to revitalize his church after the scandal forced the congregation to temporarily close. Meanwhile, his wife, Trinitie Childs (Hall), is willing to do anything to reclaim her throne as the church’s first lady. Together the couple set out to rebuild their congregation and make the biggest comeback that commodified religion has ever seen.
The satirical comedy is produced by lead stars Hall and Brown, plus writer-director Ebo and her twin Adanne Ebo as well as “Get Out” and “Nope” star Daniel Kaluuya. Additional producers include Rowan Riley, Amandla Crichlow, Kara Durrett, Jessamine Burgum, and Matthew Cooper. The film is executive produced by Monkeypaw’s Jordan Peele, and produced by Daniel Kaluuya through his production company 59% with Amandla Crichlow; alongside Adamma Ebo, Adanne Ebo; Pinky Promise’s Jessamine Burgum and Matthew Cooper; Rowan Riley; Kara Durrett; and Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown.
Focus Features acquired the film out of this year’s Sundance, where Ebo exclusively told IndieWire that her Atlanta, Georgia upbringing in the Southern Baptist community inspired the film.
“I think we just questioned so much. And then there were incidents that were happening at our church and at other churches where we felt like the people in power weren’t being held accountable for being terrible human beings,” Ebo said. “We wanted to find a balance of questioning and critiquing this institution, and still celebrating it, because it’s so important to Black culture, but it could be doing better in a lot of ways.”
During IndieWire’s Black Filmmakers Panel at the festival, Ebo addressed the assumptions about Black filmmakers.
“My experience with ‘Black storytelling’ has been particularly interesting because of my approach to tone and sort of this expectation being foisted on me about making things accessible to people, in their brains, who have what Black stories already are,” the writer/director said. “It’s like, I love the Coen Brothers, they’re some of my favorite filmmakers, but did y’all ask them about what to compare ‘Fargo’ to? No, y’all just let them make a weird movie about people from North Dakota. It’s like, why do I have to compare myself to another piece of art which is more likely than not going to be a piece of white art, in order for you to feel confident that I can tell my story?”
“Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul” premieres September 2 in theaters and on Peacock.
Check out the trailer below.