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Aimee Semple McPherson (2006) Poster

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The scene where Emma (Etienne Eckert) hysterically tells Aimee's mother that she's missing was shot in one take by Richard Rossi with a hand-held camera because Eckert had just suffered an accident, injuring her ankle. Rossi cleaned her wounds and blood with hydrogen peroxide and suggested she put her hysteria into the scene. The bandage can be seen on her ankle.
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Richard Rossi was offered the lead in a remake of Elmer Gantry (1960) but decided the 1960 film was a classic that should not be remade. Since "Gantry" was inspired by Aimee Semple McPherson, he decided to do a film showing the story of McPherson herself.
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Rene Russo, Andie MacDowell and Laura Dern all expressed interest in playing the role of Aimee.
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Director Richard Rossi chose an actor-friend with long hair and a beard to play Jesus at the end of the film. The actor had been battling a heroin problem, relapsed and never showed up. The Jesus role is uncredited and it's a mystery who played Christ embracing Aimee, but rumors persist that Rossi himself wore the wig and played Christ in the final scene.
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The speakeasy where David Hutton gives a sermon and collects money from the prostitutes is actually the 1920s speakeasy where the events occurred; it is located on Hollywood Blvd.
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Richard Rossi was offered $2 million in financing the film by Aimee Semple McPherson loyalists if he would omit from the script any reference to Aimee's two failed marriages, 1920s disappearance and death by drug overdose. He turned them down, got financing for the film himself and determined to make the film as true-to-life as possible, warts and all, resulting in church officials blasting the film as "misleading" and "disappointing" in a December 2004 article in "The Christian Examiner".
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Mimi Michaels attended a Pentecostal service in Santa Monica, CA, for the first time to prepare for the role of Aimee. She walked up to the pulpit and gave an impromptu sermon, leading the congregation into ecstatic praise. Several audience members at test screenings claimed they experienced "miracle faith healings" when Aimee prays in the film.
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In May 2006 the movie was picked for the #1 spot on the IGFA list of the "100 Greatest Guerrilla Films"--guerrilla films meaning shot on a budget of less than $75,000--of All Time".
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Final feature film of Carl Ballantine. NOTE: Director Richard Rossi said, "Carl and my friendship was the source of great times together at the Magic Castle and Hollywood jazz clubs and smoking Cuban cigars. I'm gonna miss him. He taught me some important secrets to survive in show business and I loved smoking stogies with him and hearing his memories of vaudeville and Hollywood".
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