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Kirk Franklin, DeVon Franklin, and Brian Ivie to Bring Influential Gospel Legend’s Biopic to Big Screen

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Gospel artist Kirk Franklin will soon share his life’s story with the world as part of a film collaboration with producer DeVon Franklin and “Drop Box” and “Emanuel” director Brian Ivie.

Ivie “has been tapped to write the film which will follow 14-time Grammy-winning artist from his humble beginning through his meteoric rise to fame as he changes the face of gospel music and battles his demons in the process,” Deadline reports.

The Kirk Franklin biopic has yet to be titled. So far, it appears only an agreement to move forward with the project has been announced.

While Franklin has publicly shared bits and pieces of his life’s story, the award-winning gospel artist has yet to give a full picture. The film, to be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, will change that.

It’s no surprise a Franklin film is in the works, as Hollywood powerhouse DeVon Franklin has been pressing into the faith market for years. In addition to this new biopic, Franklin is also working on the miraculous story behind the popular snack, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The film, titled “Flaimin’ Hot,” is a dramatic portrayal of how former janitor Richard Montanez, a Christian, was divinely inspired to create the spicy Cheetos snack.

Franklin is behind other inspirational films such as “The Breakthrough” and “Miracles From Heaven.” A popular ordained preacher and bestselling author, he has made the faith-based market his mainstay since resigning from his senior executive position at Sony Pictures Entertainment. While others may use it as a slander, Franklin has said he embraces being known in Hollywood as “the faith guy.”

DeVon Franklin Joel Osteen Lakewood Church
DeVon Franklin preaches at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.

“My goal in everything I do is to uplift and inspire and use entertainment as a way to do that,” Franklin, husband to actress Meagan Good, told RNS when asked about how he simultaneously manages multiple projects. So anything I’m doing, whether it’s writing a book, or producing a movie, or speaking or preaching, it’s all with the same goal: How does the person that is engaging with me relative to what I’m doing in that moment — how can their life become potentially better or how can I say something or do something that can inspire them?”

The Franklin Entertainment CEO and president, who started out in Hollywood as a teen intern for Will Smith, most recently worked with Ivie on “Emanuel.” The documentary is about white supremacist Dylann Roof’s deadly attack on Black Christians in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Ivie served as director and writer for the documentary about the Emanuel A.M.E. Church massacre.

As a filmmaker, Ivie has primarily focused on documentaries, although he has previously taken on a music-related project. He gained wide attention in 2015 for his documentary “The Drop Box,” about South Korean pastor Lee Jong-ra’s efforts to care for abandoned children.

Kirk Franklin and wife Tammy Collins.
Kirk Franklin and wife Tammy Collins.

Kirk Franklin, meanwhile, is currently on tour for his 13th studio album, “Long Live Love.” The album debuted in May and made the 49-year-old Christian singer “the first artist to simultaneously top all five Billboard gospel charts.”

Franklin rocked the gospel music industry with his 1993 hip-hop friendly debut “Kirk Franklin & The Family.” He was also the first gospel artist to have a music video put in heavy rotation on MTV, with 1997’s “Stomp.”

Throughout his career Franklin has collected numerous awards, published a book, and collaborated with artists of various genres, including Chance The Rapper, Kanye West, TobyMac, Bono of U2, and many others. Franklin currently hosts BET’s “Sunday Best” and reportedly remains the biggest-selling gospel artist in SoundScan history.

The artist has talked on national television with Oprah Winfrey about his struggles with pornography, spoken directly to fans about learning to forgive his father, and even vented his frustrations with prosperity preachers. Franklin, abandoned by both parents as a child, has pointed to Texas megachurch pastor Tony Evans as a key father figure in his life.

While Franklin takes his Christian faith seriously, he has worked to avoid being caught up in religion. He announced on his 2015 LP “Losing My Religion” that he, in fact, was “losing my religion.” However, the singer told NPR what he meant by that declaration.

“Rules without relationship leads to rebellion,” Franklin said. “So, what I want to be able to do is to not let rules be the premise that drives us to God, because rules will never drive us to God — rules will drive us away from God. My job on Earth, the reason why Kirk is created, is to make God famous. I just want God to be well-known. …”

The biopic on Franklin, who has appeared in minor television roles, is expected to give longtime fans and new admirers insight into the gospel artist’s rocky upbringing, early controversy with the church over his music, and spiritual battles.

With each new work, Franklin seems to build on his legacy of attracting new or nontraditional audiences to his faith-inspired music. He shares four children with wife Tammy Collins.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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