Award-winning writer and filmmaker Robert Orlando is counting down the days to the nationwide showing of his newest film, “The Divine Plan”, on November 6th, 2019. Unlike most filmmakers in Hollywood, though he desires to see the film to succeed, it’s not the fortune or the fame that he’s anticipating with such excitement. “RobO” as he has been affectionately nicknamed, can’t wait for this little known, yet fascinating story of a Pope and President to make its way into the hearts of the American people. It’s a story of courage, hope, and mission that illuminates the role of faith during one of history’s most tumultuous times.
uCatholic had the opportunity to speak with RobO about “The Divine Plan” and the making of the film. What we discovered was a faith-filled, humble Catholic who was following God’s lead every step of the way during the journey of bringing this story to film.
How It Began
RobO first met author Dr. Paul Kengor during the making of his film “Silence Patton.” Paul was the Cold War on-camera commentator and as the two men worked together, a friendship naturally developed. Paul had written “A Pope and a President” and it was an instant success. After reading the book and watching Paul give a presentation on it, RobO was instantly inspired. He knew that this was a story that must be brought to the big screen.
Together, RobO and Paul began the journey of turning the book into a film. RobO says that “Paul wrote the epic. Together we wrote the love story.”
It may be the biggest story to come out of the 21st century, yet prior to the making of “The Divine Plan” little had been said by the media about the brotherhood between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.
A Partnership Is Formed
Looking back through their lives, it’s evident how God was bringing them together from the very beginning. Though very different people from different parts of the world, both Reagan and JPII felt the sting of the oppression of communism and each of them had a deep sense of mission.
It was tragedy that would bring the two together. On March 30th, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Though wounded, Reagan survived. Just six weeks later on May 13th, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot at and struck four times, suffering severe blood loss.
Both men believed that their survival was a result of the role they would play in a plan much greater than their own, The Divine Plan. Though horrific events brought them together, the events that followed will forever impact the world for good.
Many Catholics revere the beloved Saint John Paul II. Yet, this story of his crucial role in ending the Cold War is one that may come as a surprise. “The Divine Plan” gives insight into the depths of JPII’s character, revealing how his strength, perseverance, sense of justice, and intelligence-led him to be a highly respected man in both faith and politics.
A Greater Calling
At one point in the making of this film, RobO began to realize that this project was much bigger than he had originally intended. The revert to the Catholic faith started to have a strong sense that “The Divine Plan” was much more than a film. During a White House screening of “The Divine Plan”, Rob was humbled by the realization that he himself also had a role in a Divine Plan. Though he hadn’t set out to do so, the story that unfolded came to be what Bishop Barron defines as a Theo-drama.
A Theo-drama, as RobO learned, is not a story told solely from a main character’s point of view, or individual perspective that begins and ends with the characters. A Theo-drama is a story in which all actions of each person’s journey are considered in light of their own Divine Plan. It’s not the typical Hollywood movie that is solely ego-based. “The Divine Plan” was not created to bring glory to Rob Orlando, Dr. Kengor, Ronald Reagan, or John Paul II. “The Divine Plan” was created to bring glory to God. By illuminating God’s plan for Reagan and JPII, the film is meant to remind viewers that God also has a plan, a purpose, and a mission for their own lives. It’s a story that goes beyond the characters in it to represent all of humanity.
“The Divine Plan” will be playing in over 700 theaters across the United States for ONE NIGHT ONLY on NOVEMBER 6th. Don’t miss your opportunity to see this incredible film and support the work of a fellow Catholic. Make it known to the movie industry that these are the types of films Catholics want more of! Get Your Tickets Here!
Official Trailer for “The Divine Plan”