Oscar Wilde once said that, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” There are the rare instances, however, that art does it’s fair share of imitating life. Before the concept and script for the family, Christmas comedy movie The Farmer and The Belle came into fruition, the stories of two people on separate journeys were unfolding. This journey has the makings of a true fairytale story, but eventually also a moving piece of art with a beautiful message for the big screen.
‘The Farmer and The Belle’
Behind the Scenes Journal No. 1
From Fairytale to Film
Ginger Beggs, Editor
Most of us have dreamed of a Hollywood film ending or a fairytale romance. For Jim E. Chandler and Jenn Gotzon Chandler, they definitely got the best of both worlds. Like book and movie fairytale stories, Jim and Jenn would also face obstacles and pain on their journey. The redeeming message of restoration, hope, love and laughter is what makes this so much more than fables. This is a “fairytale to film” story, but it truly began in film.
In June of 2014, Jim E. Chandler and Jenn Gotzon Chandler met on the set of “Sinking Sand”, as fellow actors. They became friends, not knowing what God had in store for them. They both have very uplifting and comical personalities, which eventually would spark a love for a lifetime. Often, Hollywood couples come together during the making of a film. For Jim and Jenn, it wasn’t until after their film that a plan by God was revealed.
Jim and Jenn filmed together as love interests in Sinking Sand (coming soon by Sony), The Colors of Emily (releases Nov 28), Saving Faith (coming soon by Lionsgate) and The Farmer and The Belle (Thanksgiving 2018). They’ve been involved in two television pilots and four more movies coming soon. One is the novel-based movie, “The Crickets Dance”. These experiences not only helped shaped them as actors, but it deepened the friendship and love that was blooming. Like the story of “The Farmer and The Belle”, they began to bring their diverse backgrounds together to broaden their worlds and open their eyes even more to the wonder of the mate God chose for them.
Your typical fairytale requires a damsel in distress and a prince to rescue her. In this “fairytale-like” love story though, two people ran towards God and collided in the most exquisite manner. Jim and Jenn were living for God, and despite pain in the past, were open to what God would have in His plan. They sought out to have the eternal flame of love through God, that would last beyond the last page of the book or the last frame of film.
Jim and Jenn, like so many of us, came from broken pasts. They pursued the healing that only Jesus could provide. They deepened their relationship with Christ, and renewed their minds daily with scripture. After they met, Jim’s pastor (who also married them), advised Jim to court Jenn like they did “in the good ‘ole days.” Jim focused on friendship and pointing Jenn’s heart to Jesus. Jim would write handwritten letters with encouraging words and scriptures. He would tell Jenn daily, “Jenn, you’re beautiful.” That helped Jenn obtain the much needed healing in her heart concerning her true identity. Jim told Jenn she was beautiful because she was made in God’s image. Jim continued pursuing Jenn’s heart in friendship and they became the best of friends, getting to know everything they could about each other. They began to talk about forever and lifelong commitment.
So how did this love story become the backdrop of the family Christmas comedy movie, “The Farmer and The Belle”? It began approximately a year ago during a 40-day fast, after Jim proposed to Jenn. Mid-way through this fast, God dropped the vision of this story and the rest is “to-be” film history.
Jim and Jenn worked on the story together in New York City at Jenn’s apartment and at a local coffee shop in the Upper West Side. In a backstory worthy of film, it would also be this location where the actual ending of the movie, “The Farmer and The Belle”, would be filmed. Whenever Jenn would visit Jim’s home in Georgia, his dad took her to feed the pigs. She soon realized she knew nothing about farm life and felt like a fish out of water. She would often think on and compare the situation, to the nursery rhyme “Farmer in the Dell.” From there, Josh Carpenter (farmer) and Belle Winters were formed as the main characters. Now you have the “farmer” and the “Belle” for this holiday romance and comedy.
This is just the first of many journal articles for this exciting family comedy Christmas movie, “The Farmer and The Belle.” We will be letting the audience in on the behind-the-scenes action as the film goes from script to screen. We will not only reveal funny outtakes and special commentary from writers, but you’ll join our journey of other challenges like the locations that span from Georgia to New York! It’s so much more than a movie and we want you to step by step be there right along with us as a Together LA reader.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share with you how writers were chosen, the in-depth filming and production of their real wedding as part of the film and much more. The teams from equipment crew to how to cast the colorful characters that help bring the joy to this holiday film!
The producers wish to give you an early Christmas gift!
Go to www.tinyurl.com/ChristmasComedyMovie, and they will send you a promo code when the movie releases!
Follow the family Christmas comedy movie “The Farmer and The Belle” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheFarmerandTheBelle.ChristmasComedyMovie and get updates on the website at www.ChristmasComedyMovie.com.
Be sure to share the ongoing journal posts and hashtag: #TheFarmerandTheBelle #ChristmasComedyMovie #RealLove.
Content and editing by Ginger Beggs.