“Father Elijah” novel of Michael O’Brien making ways toward a movie

Michael O’Brien author of Father Elijah: An Apocalypse just sent this out in his newsletter.

Dear friends of StudiObrien,

For the past several years, many of you have written to me to say that you believe my novel Father Elijah would make an excellent film. A number of film companies have felt the same. Since the book was first published in 1996, I recall at least eight film-makers in North America and Europe approaching me to discuss a film. Most of the interested firms were small and brave enterprises, but two of them were major corporations, including Columbia Tristar in the late 1990’s. Both my publisher and myself advised the latter that we would consider giving them film rights if, and only if, the essential spiritual meaning of the story was respected. We understood that there are always adaptations needed when bringing a novel to film, but we did not want any distortion of aspects such as the nature of the Church, the holiness of the priesthood, and the unfolding of salvation history. No contract was signed, but Tristar began development of preliminary film treatments for our consideration. However, these treatments grew increasingly more disordered, until in the end it looked like the true meaning of the story had been radically undermined. Because of confidentiality I cannot discuss all that went on, but at least I can say that we firmly refused to consider any corruption of the novel’s spiritual significance and mission in the world. As a result, the project was dropped. I was relieved when this happened, because as the work’s author I could not bear to see it prostituted in the name of profit.

Other companies and individual film makers, people with higher motivation, have made contact with a view to making a film of the novel but for various reasons (usually funding, and often a fear that the book’s orthodoxy would make it a risky venture) they did not pursue it. It has always been my unshakable position that it is better to have no film than a corrupt one. My publisher, Ignatius Press, to its eternal merit, is firmly committed to this as well.

Now, significant doors are opening. I would ask you to visit the site of the Catholic production company Mission2films. Its director Anton Casta and my son John O’Brien have co-written a very fine script, artistically and technically of the highest quality and faithful to the original story. In addition, during the past three years Anton Casta has brought together a development team from around the world, a team that has lately been joined by major Catholic film producers in Europe. We are on the verge of a great step forward. Much of this is dependent, however, on a final rewriting of the script in order to bring Father Elijah to the screen. For this reason I invite you to prayerfully consider making a donation to Mission2Films, with the purpose of funding this essential next step. You can make a donation directly online at the Mission2Films website:


If you prefer, you can send me a cheque addressed to my name, with “for Fr. Elijah filmscript” on the envelope. I will then forward the entire amount to the script-writers.

My postal address is:
“Fr. Eliah Filmscript”
Michael D. O’Brien,
P.O. Box 294,
Combermere, Ontario
K0J 1L0

We cannot provide a tax deductible receipt, so this is what Mother Theresa would call pure heart money. As you can readily intuit from this letter, we are not wealthy. What we are doing is stepping forward in radical faith, with few financial resources, depending entirely on Divine Providence. If you cannot make a donation, please offer a prayer for God’s will in this brave enterprise. Above all, His holy will, whatever it may be.

The producers committed to the project are waiting for revisions to the script to be completed before taking the next steps. When the final script is ready, and all the other production elements are in place, film rights will be requested from the publisher, and major funding obtained for the actual filming. Our task at this point is to do the duty of the moment.

With heartfelt thanks for your prayers and encouragement over these past years.

In Jesus Christ our Risen Saviour,

Michael O’Brien

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