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May 31, 2024 — If you’re as interested in Catholicism and the arts as we are here at AMDG, you might also have been excited to see that a new movie about Flannery O’Connor’s writing and life is now playing nationwide. The movie is called “Wildcat,” directed and written by Ethan Hawke and starring his daughter Maya Hawke, who plays both Flannery and a range of characters who appear in the author’s stories. The movie blends traditional biopic narrative with detours into brief adaptations of O’Connor’s stories, bringing the author’s churning life alive in a moving, provocative way. The film was the younger Hawke’s idea, who first read O’Connor while in high school. The father/daughter team assembled an incredible cast of folks including Laura Linney and Liam Neeson, and we cannot recommend it to you highly enough.

Today’s guest was also intimately involved in the birth of the film. His name is Eric Groth, and he served as one of “Wildcat”’s executive producers. Eric’s background is in producing Catholic films, including the 2018 movie “Paul, the Apostle of Christ.” He initially found his way into filmmaking sort of by accident, looking to use the medium to reach teenagers during his career in Catholic youth ministry in the 1990s. Host Mike Jordan Laskey asked Eric about why and how he got involved in “Wildcat” and what it was like to work with Ethan and Maya Hawke. They also talked about Eric’s own vision of the intersection of faith and creativity and why, in his words, he likes to make “Catholic movies for atheists.” It was a fascinating conversation and we can’t wait to see what Eric works on next.

AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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