Moments of Divine Intervention: Horror movie sets seem to always have something a little creepy going on, but were there any instances of divine intervention on the set of Evan Almighty? Shadyac replied, “We felt this movie wanted to be made. First of all when I sat down to write it, Steve Oedekerk is our writer, but I’m very involved in the writing. I’m at a hotel in Santa Monica and literally the day I sit down to write, it starts raining and it doesn’t stop raining for about a month. And we’re thinking, ‘Okay, this is interesting.’ We go to Charlottesville and everybody is concerned about the weather. They say, ‘You should shoot in California. California, we have the right weather.’ I said, ‘No, it’s got to be Virginia. He’s a Congressman, the esthetic doesn’t exist here.’
We go to Virginia, the weather is not only stunning in Virginia, like a drought like in the movie, but in California it starts raining cats and dogs. It starts raining for about a month and a half off and on, and it would have destroyed our production schedule.
We then leave Charlottesville after being blessed with incredible weather, and when we leave Charlottesville, the day we left, it rained and flooded in the very valley that we built the ark. So we’ll take this all as serendipitous good intentions from the great creative spirit, God, and we feel we were very blessed.”
Right-Wing Christians, Environmentalists and the Environmental Message: “Well, first of all I don’t think… I would like to bridge those two groups, if you will. I can talk a long time about this so please cut me off. First of all, when I think of the environment, I don’t think just of a tree or the stream or the air. I think of… You’re in my environment. …I’m in your environment. We’re creating an environment right here – a respectful one, hopefully. So it’s not just how you treat the air and the plants and the trees and the animals, it’s how we treat each other. Hence the theme of kindness in the movie – to be kind.
Now I think again we look for common threads in religions and Christ is in all. Okay, that would be the Christian side of things if this is Christian media. I think it is. If not, we can go Judaic. We can go other faiths. Christ is in all meaning that the divine spark is in all things. There was a line originally in the movie that got me to do the movie, which was about God saying, ‘You know I’m in all things – the plants, rivers, trees, oceans, wind, animals. Well you’re killing me here, kid. You’re killing me here.’ Not too far, too preachy, not going to be in the movie, but that’s the idea behind it. This is all a gift, you know, and the way we treat not only each other but this environment that we are leaving our children is important. It’s a reflection, I think, of our faith and our relationship with the divine that gave us this life.”
Stopping Production for Steve Carell's Injury: Rumor had it that production was shut down for six weeks while Carell healed. Shadyac says those rumors are totally untrue. "We didn’t have to stop for six weeks; we actually stopped for maybe six hours," said Shadyac. "He sprained his ankle when he was jumping out of the car, you know, getting away from the animals that were on him – the spiders and the snakes. So very little. He did have to go to the hospital because he turned his ankle pretty bad. He wanted to keep shooting but we said, ‘Get out of here.’ But we started shooting pretty soon thereafter. He couldn’t run for a while so maybe we had to put some running scenes later – some more physical stuff.”
PETA's Email Campaign Regarding Evan Almighty: Journalists received emails from the animal rights group upset about the use of exotic animals in the film. Responding to those emails Shadyac asked, "Had they seen the film? Did they know what exotics they were upset about, because they could be CG exotics, too, in which the CG PETA group would be very unhappy. But the actual PETA crowd probably wouldn’t have a complaint.”
Told PETA's concerned about the chimps in the film, Shadyac explained, "The chimps, okay, okay, understand. …They’re not wrong. There’s a certain amount of hypocrisy whenever you work with animals, even to show, which we hope we’re showing that respect of all of God’s creation, appreciation for the gift of the earth and the animals and the life here. And then to use animals for our end, for their own end, someone once said to me, they looked at it as those animals are heroes for their species. So we did use a number of heroes. I don’t discount people saying is that ultimately a good means to the end? The right means to the end? I don’t know. I don’t know. I respect their criticism. I don’t respect it on species we didn’t use, and also many of these animals were rescued.
You know, Mark Forbes, our animal guy, is the most thoughtful person. He wouldn’t harm an animal. He’d sooner do himself in. Many of these animals have been rescued from other situations and can’t be returned to the wild, and this is the life that they’ve come to know or grow into, probably due to man’s hubris or whatever, our ruling of the world. That was a longwinded answer, but go PETA.”