In a press release yesterday, Lionsgate announced that it had acquired the distribution rights to Machine Gun Preacher, the new film from director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace).

Machine Gun Preacher is the true story of Reverend Sam Childers, a former gang biker who reforms his ways, becomes a pastor, and establishes an orphanage in war-torn Sudan. Earning the nickname Machine Gun Preacher, Childers became famous for leading armed missions into hostile territory to rescue orphans.

In the movie, Sam Childers will be played by Gerard Butler. Childers’ wife Lynn, who co-founded the Angels of East Africa orphanage, will be played by Michelle Monaghan. The film is the first collaboration between Lionsgate and Forster since Monster’s Ball in 2001.

This is the first time I’ve heard of Rev. Childers, but I can already see how his life would make for a compelling movie. The violence and brutality that has raged in Sudan for decades is one of the world’s greatest tragedies. To hear of someone like Rev. Childers willingly risking his own life to take a stand against that violence is inspiring to say the least.

I have admired Gerard Butler since 300, and I’m glad that he’s associated with this film. While he’s been tied to too many banal romantic comedies for my liking, he’s still one of Hollywood’s better tough guy actors and I think he has the right skills to handle the dramatic components of the story. I also enjoy Michelle Monaghan’s work and Marc Forster has proven himself to be a solid director in both dramas and action movies, so that also bodes well for the film.

I’m interested to learn more about Rev. Childers’ story before the movie comes out. I’ll have to check out his autobiography, Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.

If anyone here has read it, please feel free to leave a comment on this post letting us know what you think. I’m especially interested to see if people familiar with Rev. Childers think that Gerard Butler is the right guy for this part.

Machine Gun Preacher will begin filming on July 5th in Detroit and South Africa with an anticipated release date in Fall 2011.

Source: Lionsgate Press Release