Gangi noted that Betty White was particularly drawn to the enduring love aspect of the film and related this story to the devotion she has to her late husband, Allen Ludden.
“She never remarried and has remained faithful to that powerful love to this day,” Gangi said. “She was reminded of him everyday when we were filming and spoke of him often.”
The film also held significance for Hewitt, who's “middle name is Love,” Gangi said, adding that the actress's mother was on the set in Atlanta and told Gangi that when she was pregnant with Jennifer, her due date was Valentine's Day.
“That's one of the reasons she gave her this name,” Gangi said. “Valentine's Day and love in general have always been strong themes for Jennifer, who calls 'The Lost Valentine' the best love story she ever read.”
Gangi said that what initially attracted her to the narrative was its “strong” Christian values. “This is a tale of enduring love, the sanctity of marriage and the willingness to sacrifice your life for another human being.”
The movie is also an homage to the military, she added.
“We had the full cooperation from the Department of the Navy. In fact, the men in the Naval honor guard who appear in this film are actual officers in the Navy. The veterans who are shown, including one elderly gentleman who served with Patton, are all real vets,” Gangi said.
Fr. Andrews described “The Lost Valentine” as fitting perfectly into Paulist Production's mission “to be leaven in Hollywood.”
Since 1961, he explained, “we have been, as our Founder Paulist Father Ellwood 'Bud' Kieser used to say, 'Serving the Church by serving those outside the Church.'”
“This pre-evangelization calls us to produce content in all media platforms that lifts the human spirit and invites the viewer to know God and follow Him.”
The ultimate goal of the production company, he said, is to encourage “those in the media to tell stories that are inspirational, spiritual, and life-giving” and to “find projects that reach a young adult audience, “many of whom are leaving the Church.”
He praised the upcoming movie as “a great story of a Catholic family whose faith and trust in God's love triumphs over loss and adversity. It's a story that can connect to a general audience, regardless of faith background.”
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