Ordinary Angels – Find your purpose. Make a Difference

Ordinary Angels is the next film from Kingdom Story Company, following Jesus Revolution (2023). “Lionsgate had this story they were so excited about,” says producer Kevin Downes. “Development moved quickly from draft to production. What helped greenlight the project was director Jon Gunn’s vision, who directed the film from a screenplay by Oscar-nominated actress and award-winning novelist. Meg Tilly, and Kelly Fremon Craig, a film director, screenwriter, and producer, known for writing and directing the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Originally, the film was titled Angels. “Two little girls had described to me that they made angel wings in the snow when the helicopter took off,” says executive producer Rick Baker, who secured the rights to the Schmitts’ family story. Jon Gunn added the Ordinary to the title.

“I really liked this idea that this is a story about ordinary people,” director Gunn says. “Broken, messy, struggling people in pain, working through their own problems and helping each other.”

Producer Jon Berg says “It’s a true story about cooperation, perseverance and community. Helping one’s neighbor and also moving mountains no matter who you are.”

Baker says that what makes the real-life historical event all the more extraordinary is that everyone was impacted by the snowstorm in Louisville, too. “Almost everybody was without power themselves,” says Baker. “They were trying to figure out where to get milk and water and all the essentials for their own family. And they just dropped everything.”

Skywalker Hughes as Ashley, Emily Mitchell as Michelle, Alan Ritchson as Ed and Nancy Travis as Barbara in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser

“What inspires me the most is how this community really rallied together,” says Downes. “The life of this tiny little child was saved through the most extraordinary, impossible circumstances. And to me, it’s about a rush of hope. It’s about lifting people up, lifting up the human spirit and the human condition. I always love going to movies where I come out two hours later and feel good about life. Those are the types of movies that I want to make.”

This inspiring true story is set against the backdrop of the worst snowstorm in Kentucky history. Ordinary Angels centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon single-handedly rallies an entire community to save the life of his critically ill young daughter.

Helmed by Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin, Kevin Downes, and Tony Young, the Kingdom Story Company brand
is synonymous with hope, bringing true and inspiring content to the big screen. As pioneers of inspiring storytelling, their features include I Can Only Imagine, American Underdog, I Still Believe, The Jesus Music, and Jesus Revolution .

“Kingdom Story Company endeavors to bring inspiring true stories to life on screen. Ordinary Angels spotlights one family’s seemingly insurmountable struggles and the everyday people who helped them in remarkable ways. Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson bring to life this heroic example of how one person can change a family and how that changes a community and gives rise, quite literally, to life and to hope.”

“I didn’t know about this story before reading the script,” says Alan Ritchson, who plays Michelle’s father Ed Schmitt and is best known for the lead role in the Amazon Original Reacher, as well as his action roles in The Hunger Games and Titans. “Every page turn was a surprise. I was really impressed with the quality of the characters, the writing, and the arcs. I called my team the second I finished it, and I said, ‘I have to find a way to be part of this.’ I love how uplifting Ordinary Angels is, how optimistic and hopeful.”

Ritchson says he connected with Ed’s sense of self-reliance and his desire to be independent. “I’ve always had a very hard time asking for help. I don’t want to impose on anybody,” he says. “But we need each other at times. This is the problem Ed faces: these life and death stakes. It’s like trying to lift Mount Everest on your own. It’s impossible.”

Alan Ritchson as Ed in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser

“There are two kinds of films. There are the ‘popcorn films’ that offer us a chance to escape. Then there are the films that awaken something in us, remind us of our humanity and what we’re capable of,” says Ritchson. “Working on Ordinary Angels has awakened in me an important sense of optimism that we can do wonderful things together. We’ve got a man who can’t ask for help, refuses to ask for help, and doesn’t want any. And Sharon who will insert herself like a comma in the middle of a sentence that doesn’t want one. She has decided to make this family her mission without permission. I think part of the fun of this movie is seeing if she’ll be right in her quest. Will she pull off these miracles that she’s promising these strangers? I’m optimistic. I believe in people. I believe that sometimes we just need to be
reminded of the power of what we can do together.”

If Ed Schmitt is the desperate dad trying to save his child, then Sharon is the ordinary angel who steps into the mess. “Sharon is a go-getter,” says Hilary Swank, who brings the right balance of humor and edge to the role of Sharon. “She is someone who doesn’t like to sit down. She likes to have fun. She likes to attack life with all of herself. She gets in there and wants people to be their best—and she is flawed like any human being. And she is trying to figure it out with heart and determination.” Swank is known for her roles in Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry and is the recipient of two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Critics’ Choice Award, an Independent Spirit Award, a Gotham Tribute Award, and a SAG Award.

Hilary Swank as Sharon in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser

“We have a choice in how we want to step into our lives every single day. That means helping others and helping ourselves to be a better person,” says Swank. “I was taken by the fact that an ordinary person going through life just found that grace in their heart to want to help another human. Especially right now, with all we’re seeing in the news, to see this goodness that’s out there just really spoke to me. I wish there were more movies like Ordinary Angels. That was one of the things when I read this script—I just thought, ‘Wow, this is so nice to read because there’s just not material like this out there anymore.’ And I am so happy to be a part of it.”

“The city of Louisville and the congregation of Southeast Christian Church came together to save little Michelle Schmidt! It’s just inspiring,” says producer Jon Berg. “You can move mountains and change a life if you set your mind to it. That and what divides us is far less powerful than what unites us. It’s also that the everyday human is both flawed and has the capability to be a hero.”

Says Executive Producer Rick Baker. “When I read the script for Ordinary Angels, and Jon knows this, I couldn’t get past page 80. I was sitting on my back porch crying. It was just as if I didn’t even know the story. I just reacted to it at a gut level. And I thought, ‘This is really as good as it gets.’”

Writer Meg Tilly is an Oscar-nominated actress and award-winning novelist. She may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning lead performance in the movie Agnes of God. Other screen credits include, The Big Chill, Valmont, and the acclaimed Canadian series “Bomb Girls” In 2017‬ she appeared in Netflix’s movie War Machine. Tilly’s had ten novels published to date. Singing Songs (Penguin/Dutton, A Barnes & Noble Great New Writers Selection 1994) was her first novel. A screenplay was optioned by MGM/UA. This novel was followed by another adult novel Gemma (St. Martin’s Press). Her first YA novel, Porcupine (Tundra Books), was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize, The Canadian Libraries Association Best Children’s Book 2008, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year, Ontario Library Best Bets 2008 and a finalist
for the Sheila A Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. KidRo optioned a screenplay for Porcupine. Next came First Time (Orca), a 2009 Golden Eagle Award Nominee, a 2009 YALSA Quick Picks and 2010 CCBC Best Books. Her fifth novel A Taste of Heaven (Puffin Books) was shortlisted for the 2014 Libris Young Reader Book of the Year, a 2014 Diamond Willow Award and won the 2014/15 Chocolate Lilly Award. Behind the Scenes (Puffin) was published in 2014. Her latest novel, Solace Island (Berkley/Jove) was published Nov. 2018 and received a starred review from Library Journal. Cliff’s Edge (Berkley/Jove) was published in May 2019. Hidden Cove (Berkley/Jove) was published Oct 2019. The Runaway Heiress, (Berkley/Jove) was
published July 2021. Tilly wrote the screenplay for Ordinary Angels for Dave Matthews and Jonathan
Dorfman (ATO Pictures) Lionsgate purchased the screenplay.

Kelly Fremon Craig (Writer) is a film director, screenwriter, and producer, known for writing and directing the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. In 2016, she made her directorial debut with the film The Edge Of Seventeen. Kelly grew up in Orange County, California and graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in English Literature.