The Responsibility of FreedomEntertainment — By Chris Hlad on April 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm
By Chris Hlad
Every day, many scripts are submitted through various channels, most of which are rejected and some of which are never even read. Suzanne DeLaurentiis has always had a knack for knowing which scripts are going to translate well onto the big screen, and “Allegiance” – a film where she is taking on the role of Executive Producer – is no exception.
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the writer and one of the stars of the film, Maxwell Ford. I found him to be an affable, intelligent and well-spoken young man who already had the look of a movie star (he dabbled in modeling), and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. That’s right, conversation. I refuse to say ‘interview’ because that is what every other writer is inevitably going to be doing, and I find most color by numbers interviews boring. But hey, that’s just my opinion.
Now, I don’t want to give too much away about the plot of the film, and if you’ve read any of my other articles you already know why: I HATE SPOILERS. Go buy a movie ticket and keep the film industry alive! I will, however, say this: the movie is based on the premise that when you fight for America, you are indeed an American, regardless of your race, creed or color.
And this is a topic that is near and dear to Maxwell. “I am an American Muslim, and I’ve had my share of difficulties with this. Even today, people assume so much based on appearance alone. For example, one time I applied for a job and the first thing that the hiring manager asked me was if I pray. I’m thinking to myself, sure, don’t the majority of people pray? I told him as much without thinking twice about it. Then he asked me if I was going to pray at work. I asked him completely innocently if they had a special room for praying or something. I mean, it sounded like an interesting idea. I never heard back from the guy.”
Maxwell Ford was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and became a naturalized citizen in 2009, “Because I love America and this country represents freedom. I can make the biggest difference in the way people view other cultures by using this freedom of expression in my film. ” “So what is it you want to show people?” I asked. His answer was short and to the point: “The importance of unity.”
That is a concept that some may find difficult during a time in history where there are more wars and conflicts going on than I ever remember, but I have to agree with Maxwell: the key to stopping all of this mayhem is through unity. And, while Maxwell’s pride and love of this Country is evident, it also makes perfect sense that if he is going to get his point across, this is the place to do it. Like it or not, the world is still a very prejudiced place, and Maxwell is right: “America is one of the few places in the world where freedom isn’t just a concept, but a way of life.”
“Did you know that somewhere around 600 service people who were from America and went to serve their Country in Iraq during the first Gulf War were sent back to America because of their ethnicity?” I did not. “That’s one of the barriers that I’m trying to expose and break down. Nobody has ever done a movie about Muslims fighting Muslims, and while it’s a strong statement to be put in a film, it needs to be made. I’m an American Muslim and I love this Country, but the fact of the matter is that there are extremists in every walk of life, Muslims included, that needs to be stopped. I felt that the most poignant way of getting this message across was by showing how four soldiers from different cultures must unite to reach a common goal, that essentially being good defeating evil.”
I tried to get more out of Maxwell regarding the plot, but apparently he doesn’t like spoilers either.
“And it was crucial to me that the four actors playing the soldiers from those different backgrounds actually be from those backgrounds. And you know why? Because if it’s not real, people will see right through it. My film is not about propaganda but unity, and that is something that you just can’t fake.”
I agree. And if a movie of this nature isn’t realistic, it’s not going to work. When you’re taking on a concept of this magnitude, there is no room for faking it. The script itself, while technically fiction, is telling the story of something all too real, that being that right is right, wrong is wrong, and this can’t be determined by color or religion. Like Maxwell said, it’s about unity.
And it should make for a hell of a good film.