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Faith & Family News: Gerwig's 'Narnia'; 'LarryBoy' Movie; Hallmark Family Channel

, | February 27, 2024 | By

In this month's faith & family media news: updates on Greta Gerwig's Narnia movies for Netflix; VeggieTales character LarryBoy gets a theatrical feature; Hallmark rebrands Hallmark Drama to Hallmark Family ... and a look at what is perhaps a new era for faith-based entertainment.

From Barbie to Aslan: Gerwig Readies Narnia

After the box-office and critical success of her 2023 Barbie feature, based on the classic Mattel toy, writer/director/actress Greta Gerwig continues to work on her The Chronicles of Narnia adaptations for Netflix. She's set to write and direct at least two films set in the world of English author C.S. Lewis' Christian allegory, in which the talking lion Aslan fills the Christlike role.

Raised in a Unitarian Universalist household, Gerwig attended an all-girls Catholic high school, echoes of which were in Lady Bird, her semi-autobiographical first hit as a writer/director (which leaves Netflix on March 2). She's also said that her Catholic-school experience affected Barbie.


No one knows yet what approach Gerwig will take to Lewis' beloved tales -- which already were adapted into three feature films -- but Netflix head Ted Sarandos is making big promises.

From Time:

After the Oscars, she’ll be back to work on Narnia, which she’s been studying closely, alongside the other works of C.S. Lewis, as she prepares to write and direct at least two movies set in that world for Netflix. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s CEO, calls Gerwig an “incredible visionary” whose take was clear when they first began talking about Narnia. “It won’t be counter to how the audience may have imagined those worlds,” he says, “but it will be bigger and bolder than they thought.” He describes her world building as “rooted in faith,” much like Lewis’ original material.

As to her Unitarian roots, Gerwig spoke about these in 2013 to a UU publication:

Gerwig: There is a gentleness and equanimity that expresses itself through the church that I think is incredibly rare and should be the cornerstone of any spiritual or religious practice. I love how open the church is, but that it also provides the structure and community of religion. I think I keep returning to a UU church again and again because it resonates with something deep inside of me that feels that all I really know is that I don’t know. Unitarian Universalism is the best place for me to experience the fullness of that sentiment of not knowing.

Keep up with the latest Narnia news at

LarryBoy Coming to the Big Screen

Launched three decades ago by creator Phil Vischer, VeggieTales employs animated talking produce to tell Bible-influenced tales aimed at young children. Since then, the idea has gone through different iterations and platforms.

In 2026, one of the characters -- LarryBoy, a singing cucumber with plungers for ears -- is set to make his big-screen debut.

From a Feb. 5 press release:

Big Idea Content Group and Kingstone Studios proudly announce a collaborative development agreement for an upcoming untitled LARRYBOY 2026 theatrical release. The feature film will transport LarryBoy, the suction cup-eared, crime-fighting superhero, to the big screen for the first time.

"VeggieTales is the absolute gold standard for faith-based children's animation. We couldn't imagine a better brand in providing a big screen treatment for kids than to bring LarryBoy and the cast of memorable VeggieTales characters back into theaters," says Art Ayris, CEO of Kingstone Studios....

"LarryBoy is a fan favorite – who doesn't love a superhero that has plungers on the side of his head?! The fans are always asking to see more of him," says Leslie Ferrell, SVP Big Idea, Content Group Universal Pictures. "With LarryBoy in the lead role, we know we can deliver an entertaining movie for the whole family."

Hallmark's Turn to Family ... and Faith

At the recent TV Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California, Lisa Hamilton Daly, Hallmark's executive vice president, programming, announced:

Hallmark Drama is rebranding to Hallmark Family later this month on February 28th. The channel will continue to provide timeless storytelling for the whole family, centered around faith, love, and community.

In the past, Hallmark could be counted on for clean, wholesome fare -- leaning heavily into holiday-themed romance -- that, while not necessarily of interest to the whole family, supported heartland values.

In recent years, with changes in leadership, the channel has begun catering to other segments of society, including more diverse casting and adding LGBT character and storylines.

And, although movies set at Christmastime are a Hallmark staple, very few actually refer to the Christian origins of the holiday. The network has explored faith in a few films under its DaySpring brand, so we'll have to see how that evolves on Hallmark Family.

Writer Discusses "Faith-Based Entertainment" 

In a recent guest column for, Dan Merchant, creator of the Great American Pure Flix series Going Home, about hospice nurses, reflected on a recent surge of interest in faith-influenced media among mainstream outlets.

Now, I wish there was a better label than “faith-based.” It’s not very nuanced, which is a shame because it’s been a terrific season for faith-based entertainment; from the box office bonanza of Jim Caviezel’s Sound of Freedom to Dallas Jenkins’ 'The Chosen' debuting their fourth season of the first-ever television series about the life of Jesus IN THEATERS (and THEN going to streaming and THEN to broadcast because, well, give the people what they want) and, finally, Amazon Studios has just announced a bold partnership with Jon Erwin’s The Wonder Project to create “universal stories of love, triumph and spirituality.” 

So, what does Amazon know? Amazon knows everything! They have dimensional consumer-based analytics and those analytics have affirmed what some of us storytellers already knew: there is a huge audience hungry for stories of love, forgiveness, reconciliation… and even death. These stories of hope put life into the world and remind us of who we are to be and, please remember, at the end of the story, love defeats hate. I know it’s true, I just watched it on a television show.  

Image: A stamp printed in Great Britain shows The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis), circa 1988. Photo: Shutterstock

Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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