Left Behind movie producers begin crowd-funding for rapture sequel

Left Behind starred Nicholas Cage as Rayford Steele, an airline pilot whose wife and son are taken in the rapture.Facebook

A distribution agreement has been confirmed for the wide release of the sequel to apocalyptic thriller 'Left Behind', providing producers can raise the funds to make it.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched yesterday by producer Paul Lalonde, who hopes to raise an initial $500,000. With that amount, filming could begin this August for a summer 2016 release in cinemas.

"We are living in the last days and if the Rapture were to happen today, there are a lot of people who just aren't ready," Lalonde said. "This is why we need to complete the story as soon as possible".

He said his team needs to fund the movie independently to "keep control of our story".

"We have all seen what happens to Christian, Bible-based stories when the Hollywood studios take control. They change the fundamental meaning of God's Word and make a mockery of the Christian faith. With the help of campaign supporters we won't let that happen to Left Behind 2."

The film will pick up where its prequel left off, after the day of the Rapture. It will be based on the first book of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins' best-selling series, which has sold more than 65 million copies in total.

The original Left Behind starred Nicholas Cage in the main role as Rayford Steele, an airline pilot whose wife and son are taken in the rapture.

Cage revealed that he took the part on the advice of his brother, who is a church pastor. "My brother, Marc, is a Christian pastor, and he was very excited about this," Cage told reporters at a press conference last year. "He said, you know, Nicky, you've really got to do this.

"I'd already wanted to make the movie because I thought it was such a great script and an opportunity again to do something challenging, but when I saw how passionate [Marc] was, I thought, well, yeah, I want to make this movie for my brother, too."

Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thompson and Nicky Whelan also starred in the movie, and all three are said to have signed up to reprise their roles.

In an interview with WND, Lalonde praised the opportunities given by a large budget and high profile actors in the fist movie.

"I wanted to put Bible prophecy on the big screen rather than just on videos, to put the message of Bible prophecy in front of a much broader audience, and not just church-goers," he said.

"What I like about Left Behind is that it is a Bible-based movie, it's a biblical story, it's a true story – it just hasn't happened yet. It is a biblical movie like 'Noah' or 'Son of God' or 'Exodus,' but nobody's in sandals. This is the modern world. This is today. And the great thing about the rapture and about the immanency of the rapture is this could literally happen this afternoon."