Donald Miller’s 'Blue Like Jazz' set to film
October 18th, 2010
12:09 PM ET

Donald Miller’s 'Blue Like Jazz' set to film

Donald Miller’s Christian memoir "Blue like Jazz" is finally poised to become a film.

A month ago, Miller announced that plans for the film version of the book had been scrapped because filmmakers couldn’t get enough funding.

The film has been anticipated for years. Miller is a popular author who is in demand among multiple audiences: evangelicals, progressives and “emergent” church folks who don’t easily fit into any category.

Earlier this year, I profiled Miller, in part trying to explain why “Blue Like Jazz” sold 1.3 million books. I also talked about plans to film the memoir, a candid account of trying to reconcile the fundamentalist beliefs he grew up with the questions Miller began asking as a young man.

The same audience that made “Blue like Jazz” a best-seller has apparently helped make it a movie. After Miller announced on his blog that the film would be canceled, fans of the book established a savebluelikejazz site to raised $125,000 in ten days.

It worked. Miller recently announced that they raised enough money to start filming. He  credited kickstarter.com, a “crowd-funding” website that raises money for creative projects, for helping save the film.

Miller, who says filming starts on Oct. 28 in Nashville, Tennessee, said he had doubts about the film.

To wake up and find out fans of the book were bringing it back to life was an amazing feeling. We went from being 100 percent sure the project was over to sitting in product meetings with ten days. So the fans told us a great story. Now we owe it to them to tell a great story back.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Christian Science • Christianity • Culture & Science • Movies

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Alice Shepler

    Terrific! Thanks for posting this.

    July 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  2. Peace2All

    Since I have not read the book, ....... If anyone wishes to take the time to give their impressions of the book beyone.."It was great... or it was bad, etc.."

    I would love to hear more about this book and how it affected you, and more about the storyline of the book.


    October 19, 2010 at 4:04 am |
    • Jemma

      Hi Peace2All,

      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this. Blue Like Jazz is the most sincere, startling, confronting book I have ever read. Miller writes with integrity but also gut-wrenching honesty about his own experiences in the past, and how they have led him forward in his journey of faith and understanding.
      He is wise and witty, but definitely not preachy. His views are quite clearly his own, and he doesn't try to push them onto the reader.
      My interpretation of the book itself is a collection of small, relatable essays (PLEASE don't let that word put you off!!) under such topics as 'Faith', 'Wonder', 'Worship', 'Love', 'Jesus', 'Being Alone', 'Money' etc. Miller talks about his own past without a father, and how this affected him later in life. He talks about girls, and his own insecurities. He talks about controversial Christian leaders and churches that he disagreed with. He talks about his time at Reed College. There are even a few cartoons in there 🙂
      I love this book because it is exactly what it says on the front cover – 'Non-religious thoughts about Christian Spirituality' – Miller is NOT religious. He is not condescending, rude, malevolent, and he has no hidden agenda. He simply wants a chance to share his story, and I hope you will give him that chance.
      I really hope that you will give this book a try. It is a very easy read, and is not written for a "Christian" audience, or any other audience for that matter. He writes for people; he writes for individuals.
      BLJ helped me to realise that it's OK that we don't get all our theology right. It's OK when we screw up. It's OK to have doubts about what you believe. Because God is bigger than any of that.

      Hope this has helped.

      October 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Thank you for your thoughts and feelings about the author and this book. Since you gave it such a glowing report, I just may have to give it a go...!

      Thanks again...

      October 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  3. SophyB

    @ Reality

    Please elaborate. I am honestly interested in what you mean by "they were doing it out of ignorance of history and a lack of common sense."

    October 19, 2010 at 12:21 am |
    • Reality


      A historical and theological summary of Judaism and Christianity in the 21st century:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin.

      3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adu-lterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      October 19, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  4. G

    I've this was a good book for someone like me, who does not have very dogmatic beliefs but still wants to nurture a spiritual side. Also, Reality, please do not imply someone is stupid for having a belief in God. There are brilliant people who believe in God and brilliant people who do not. Of course, as pointed out by the Father of existentialism, Soren Kirkegaard, comments, logic is of this world, which God would not be if God existed. Therefore, logic cannot prove or disprove God. He did believe.

    October 18, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
  5. SophyB


    Seriously, can you not just ignore things you don't agree with? I don't go around commenting hatefully on articles about atheists. I apologize for anyone who has ever unwelcomely foisted their evangelicism on you. Hopefully they were doing it out of love, but it's possible they were just feeling hateful or guilty, too. Vote against us, close your ears, read Christopher Hitchens' articles ad nauseum, go your own way happily. There's room in the US for all of us – the Founding Fathers built it that way. But darn it, I guess they built that free speech thing in there too.....(sigh)

    October 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Reality


      You noted: "Hopefully they were doing it out of love". Actually they were doing it out of ignorance of history and a lack of common sense.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
    • Raison

      gosh darn that old free speech thing! 😛

      October 19, 2010 at 7:13 am |
  6. Reality

    Will the Christian, god and jesus, money grab and con jobs never stop??

    "Blue Like Jazz is the second book by Donald Miller. This semi-autobiographical work, subti-tled "Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality," is a collection of essays and personal reflections chronicling the author's growing understanding of the nature of God and Jesus, and the need and responsibility for an authentic personal response to that understanding. Much of the work centers on Miller's experiences with friends and fellow students while auditing courses at Reed College, a liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon."

    October 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Tacoma

    Sweet, can't wait to see it! And honeslty can't wait to see how they turned this into a coherent story that can be told in movie format, since the book was basically a compilation of essays.

    October 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  8. Jeff Goins

    Wow. Very cool that this made CNN. So proud of these guys and glad to be a part of this!

    October 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  9. kim lampe

    This is the kind of stuff that keep my own dreams alive.

    October 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  10. thepruetts

    Phenomenal, so excited the story is going to play out, a brilliant representation of the good that can happen when dreamers and creators are vulnerable.

    October 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  11. Raison


    October 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  12. Kellie

    Yesssss! Thank you CNN for covering this. So many folks have great stories to tell in print or on screen and they never get the chance. this one is a life-saving story.

    October 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  13. Kevin

    This is incredible! I can't wait to see this film. I just checked out http://www.savebluelikejazz.com and they're still raising money for the film. Let's help them reach their next goal so it's the best movie it can be!

    October 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  14. ChadJ

    This is tremendous! Blue Like Jazz meant so much to me this past February when my son was going through some serious health issues. Rock on , Don!

    October 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.