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LDS Filmmaker Returns with Sequel to 'God's Army'

By , | Posted - Feb 13th, 2004 @ 10:06pm



Carole Mikita reporting

Latter-day Saint filmmaker Richard Dutcher is back. But he's strictly behind the camera this time with a sequel to his hit "God's Army."

Carole Mikita joined him on the set in Los Angeles, and has this preview.

He's often referred to as the father of Mormon movies. He laughs and says he's just another independent filmmaker with a focus. His third, "God's Army II" subtitled "States of Grace."

Mormon missionaries on the move, this time in gang territory.

The man behind the camera is now well-known in the Latter-day Saint film genre, Richard Dutcher. He has returned to Los Angeles, the scene of his first success.

The location is the same, but Dutcher says it's not so much a sequel, rather a follow-up.

The script for number two came before the original "God's Army" premiered. That one about the challenges and triumphs of a group of Mormon missionaries in East L.A. put Dutcher on the map.

Richard Dutcher/ Writer-Director, "God's Army II, States of Grace": "It's not just what it's like to be a missionary. It's a couple of really interesting missionaries in a really fascinating story."

Equally fascinating are those he cast to tell that story-- multi-racial, multi-faith. LaMont Stephens is a stage actor from the Big Apple.

LaMont Stephens/ "God's Army II, States of Grace": "I have never met a Mormon, until I did this film."

He plays Karl, deeply involved in gang activity, not so far from LaMont's realm of knowledge.

LaMont Stephens/ "God's Army II, States of Grace": "I am from like, that neighborhood. And if I didn't get out of New York City, I wouldn't have gone to college. I wouldn't be able to recite Shakespeare."

As for the actors playing the missionary companions, one has Mormon friends, the other had to research.

Ignacio Sericchio/ "God's Army II, States of Grace": "I went to Mapleton, spent a week with a family and talked to some missionaries. That was great. That was interesting. That really helped me a lot."

Lucas Fleischer/ "God's Army II, States of Grace": "The Hamptons and the Lundgrens, who are two great family friends of mine, and they've taught me a lot over the years. So, I came into it lucky, I guess."

Dutcher had a difficult time with funding following his second film, "Brigham City." But last fall, businessman Larry Miller once again stepped forward and the partnership will support this movie and others.

Richard Dutcher: "It's been a lot of fun to see the films that have come after 'God's Army,' to see this genre as it develops. But now, it's fun to jump back in and add another story into that."

"God's Army II, States of Grace" will premiere here this fall. Then Dutcher has another project before he heads to Canada for his long-anticipated "The Prophet," the story of Joseph Smith.

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