The Coming of The Reaping


Hilary Swank stars in Warner Bros.’ new supernatural thriller,The Reaping, a twisted tale on the ten biblical plagues apparently assaulting a small Louisiana town. Swank plays Katherine Winter, a “miracle debunker” who, as a result of a tragic accident, has rejected her former faith in Christianity and now seeks to prove that there is no God. “As an actor I love the opportunity to do all different types of genres,” Swank told “As an audience member I like going to all types. I like scary movies!”

“Scary” is director Stephen Hopkins’ specialty. He started with A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child and Predator 2 and most recently has been praised for his direction in the TV series “24,” “Traffic” and “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” which won nine Emmys and two Golden Globes. When Hopkins was brought to the project he felt that since Swank was involved “we can do something quite bright here, something quite thoughtful.” To that end he brought on brothers Chad and Carey Hayes to knock the dialogue into shape and make sure the crazy twists could be followed.

One twist is Swank’s counterpart Idris Elba who plays the part of Ben, a devout Christian eager to prove the existence of a higher power. Think “X-Files,” Swank’s “Scully” to Elba’s “Mulder”. “Ben has a very healthy outlook on life, a very positive guy, he’s a guy that survived a horrible shooting,” says Elba. “I enjoyed playing a positive character, I’ve played some very shady dudes. And this guy was not.” “Reaping” is just one of five projects Elba is involved in this year alone. Look for him in Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, 28 Weeks Later, This Christmas and American Gangster.

But the narrative twists of The Reaping go beyond the script. During principal photography in late August, 2005, Louisiana fell victim to the biblical force of Hurricane Katrina. Hopkins states that the cast and crew were on the last evacuation plane out only to return to complete devastation. “All my crew, hundreds and hundreds of people had all lost everything,” said Hopkins. “And we didn’t know what to do and the crew said ‘Please stay’ we’ve got nowhere to live. If we don’t have the hotels we’ve got booked for us our families have nowhere to live. So their families moved in with them.”

In addition, the production team gave most of their equipment, such as lights, radios, and generators to FEMA. “Ironically, it brought everything to a deeper level for us in the film,” says Elba. It seemed to many that the biblical plagues had manifested themselves in Katrina. “Obviously it was a very very sad moment in time for our country and a lot of the people on the crew lived in New Orleans so a lot of them were affected and lost their homes,” explains Swank. “And it was a really good thing to continue to give them a place to go to help them rebuild their lives. To not pull out while we were there was important to show that we’re there to help in any way that we can.”

Look for bloody rivers, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, storms of fire, locusts, darkness, and death of firstborn on April 6, 2007.