FOR GREATER GLORY
About The Production
In an epic portrait of how ordinary people transform when they discover the
extraordinary conviction to stand up for freedom, FOR GREATER GLORY unfolds one
of the most remarkable -- and most hidden - stories of war, courage and faith
from recent history. This is the untold story of the 20th Century Cristero War,
which erupted when an emboldened Mexican government attempted to outlaw and
restrict religious practices across the country. Unexpectedly, everyday
citizens, from priests and farmers to nurses and even mere children, rose up to
join an all-out, life or death battle to reclaim their rights. At the heart of
the film are two very different heroes -- a reluctant, retired General who is
the last to join the cause and a boy discovering his first taste of devotion and
true bravery - who both come to believe that no cost is too high for liberty.
In the challenging world of 2012, the true story of the Cristero War resonates
more than ever - especially at a time when the themes of freedom and oppression,
peace and protest and hesitation vs. heroism are on the minds of people from all
walks of life all over the globe. This is why producer Pablo Barroso and
director Dean Wright feel they were able to attract an all-star, multi-national
cast including Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Peter O'Toole, Oscar Isaac, Ruben
Blades, Bruce Greenwood and Catalina Sandino Moreno to finally bring this
adventurous account of how the Cristeros changed history - and themselves -- to
For decades, knowledge of the Cristero War was obscured in Mexico and around the
world. It was left out of history books, untouched in schools, and spoken of
only in whispers by those whose family members had given their lives on both
sides of the struggle. But producer Pablo Barroso felt now was the time to
finally bring it to the fore.
"This is a part of history that was too long hidden," Barroso comments. "What
really drew my attention is that this is a real story, a story about real people
who stood up not only for the freedom to worship and the freedom to assemble but
the freedom to be -- and also about how that changed a whole continent. It's
such a powerful story and yet it is hard to believe that this happened less than
100 years ago and today almost nobody knows about it."
He continues: "The timing couldn't be better for telling the story in 2012. We
are in a time when I think much of humanity is yearning for more freedom and
also searching for higher transcendence. I think people who watch this movie
will be very inspired to see men and women uniting around the future of their
families, around their faith, their country and for all that they believe."
Barroso wanted to tell a story of the Cristero War that captured both the
complex humanity and the vast scope of the conflict, and recruited screenwriter
Michael Love - who has the unique history of having grown up in Mexico City
before coming to Hollywood to write films including the Academy AwardÂ® nominated
GABY: A TRUE STORY, about the Mexican poet Gabriela Brimmer. Barroso and Love
collaborated closely to develop a script that would bring to life the long
invisible heroes of this 1920s war, yet also speak to today's audiences.
Love became enraptured by the dynamic and complicated real-life characters who
turned into the core leaders of the Cristeros including pacifists, gun-toting
priests and bold young women. Then he honed in on the emotional core of the
screenplay: the intertwined journeys of the Cristeros' bold but internally
searching commander, General Gorostieta, and that of 13-year-old JosĂ© Sanchez,
whose unwavering commitment becomes an inspiration the General could never have
"Michael was fascinated by the research, and I think he wanted to show the world
that this was a very important moment not only in Mexican history, but in the
world," says Barroso. "He made the script about the hunger for rights and
freedom, but he also made it very human, and that is what drew our fantastic
cast and crew. The story grabs everybody."
With a panoramic screenplay that moved from rugged warrior action in the high
desert to moral dilemmas in the hearts of men and women, Barroso knew he would
need a director with an equally wide-ranging visual ability. He took a chance on
a man who is not a newcomer by any means, yet makes his directorial debut with
FOR GREATER GLORY: Dean Wright, the special effects guru renowned for his key
contributions to such blockbuster films as THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, THE
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and TITANIC.
"I had been talking to Dean about another movie and I liked not only his talent
but his personality," explains Barroso. "We became really close and he was very
excited to take on this project. We both wanted to give it all the heart and
scope and importance we could."
For Wright, just learning about the Cristero War was a revelation. Like most
people, he was surprised to discover that such a major 20th Century event had
been nearly written out of cultural history. "It's as astonishing a story as any
and I was amazed that no one I knew had heard of it," Wright notes. "It was an
event that shook the whole world, yet because it ended with the ruling party
staying in power for 70 years, it remained hidden, not only to Americans but
also inside Mexico. This is the first time this story has been told on screen.
But what we have found is that everyone who stumbles into this world becomes
fascinated by it."
When Barroso sent Wright an early draft of FOR GREATER GLORY, Wright was struck
not only by a sense of historical discovery but the universality and relevance
of a story that seemed like it could be playing out right now. "As I read the
initial draft, what really hit me were all the parallels to today," the director
says. "All over the world, people are standing up to say that they don't want to
be told 'you can't say this' and 'you can't believe that.' We see that when
oppression happens for long enough, people will ultimately stand up and say no
He continues: "That theme interested me and what also interested me is the way
that each character in this story reacts to the loss of freedom in a very
different and uniquely personal way. There's a human rainbow of responses, from
idealistic pacifism to protest to taking up arms - and in the middle of it all,
you have this General who's trying to tie all these disparate forces up into a
successful campaign against the odds. What's so uplifting to me is that each of
these characters makes mistakes, but they change and grow, and they ultimately
choose to do the most self-sacrificing thing. They do the things we all hope we
would do if it came down to that."
Wright was hooked, and he knew the path ahead was going to be complicated. But
even he could not have foreseen the full scale of the adventure he was about to
embark upon - which started with his own personal journey deep into Mexico for
"I knew I had to soak it all in first-hand," he says. "I went to Mexico with
Pablo and we began traveling through the villages where the battles had taken
place, meeting with relatives of the real-life counterparts of our characters,
and even meeting some elderly Cristero fighters themselves. I also met with
General Gorostieta's family and they were amazing. They said they always saw
their father's story as a love story and that of a man who came to believe that
freedom of belief is important to all of us."
The more he learned, the more excited he became about sharing the heroes of the
Cristero War with contemporary audiences. "I think people will be intrigued by
the fact these were real people just a few deca
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