Now available on DVD, the movie Extraordinary tells the amazing true story of ultra-marathon runner and college professor David Horton, his wife, Nancy, and their attempt to finish their marriage race well. In this interview, director/producer Scotty Curlee talks about why this story needed to be told and how making it has changed his own outlook on life…
Tell us how the making of this film came about and why you wanted to be involved.
Dave was one of my professors in college. He impacted my life and inspired me to dream big dreams and to go after them with a lot of hard work and perseverance. As I dug into his story, I began to understand the importance of his wife Nancy and how she contributed to his incredible journey. The fact that Dave is this inspirational guy who held all these world records and ran enough miles to circle the Earth 4.5 times is unprecedented, but the marriage journey… wow, that’s the legacy part of this story. That’s why I wanted to be involved.
Why do you think David and Nancy’s story is important to tell?
The movie deals with the importance of having our identities in Christ and by doing so, we become less reliant on finding validation in a job title or our accomplishments. We also become less self-focused and more on being others-focused. We get a firsthand look into the incredible contributions our spouses make in our lives that we often take for granted. Contributions that affect us on a personal level, our family members and the people around us. Another important theme is that of perseverance in marriage and not just starting well, but more importantly, finishing well.
What were some of the highlight moments during filming? And did you have any unusual challenges during the process?
Two things come to mind … filming at the Hoover Dam when officials actually shut down traffic for nearly three hours for us to film Extraordinary. Secondly, filming the opening scene in the Nevada desert. It was amazing coming through the clouds with a drone getting that shot in one single take all the way down to the ground. As for challenges, the hardest part was filming at all the major landmarks across America from Huntington Beach, California, to Central Park, New York, in less than two weeks. That was incredibly difficult.
What do you hope viewers will take away when they watch Extraordinary?
We live in a culture of instant gratification and quick fixes. If you don’t like something, quit. If you find that a commitment is too hard to stick to, then give up. It’s a quick-fix approach to everything and that’s why it’s so easy for couples to give up on each other. That’s why the message of this movie is so impactful and I hope in the end that people view the marriage commitment as a sacred commitment that should be honored. If the Hortons can do it, it gives us hope.
How did directing this movie change or impact you?
It’s challenged me to take a closer look at my own life ambitions and the motives behind it while striving for a meaningful work/life balance. It’s also helped me to be more appreciative of my wife and the incredible sacrifices she has made in our marriage and continues to make each day. It’s something I don’t verbalize enough. The most important message for me personally however is that of having my identity in Christ. As a competitive athlete, it’s something I’ve struggled with in the past. I think we’ve all dealt with it, especially us men. We find validation in job titles or athletic accomplishments, but what happens when we lose that job or in Dave’s case, can no longer run? That’s why identity in Christ is so important. We can’t get caught up trying to find validation in anything or anyone else. It’s got to be in Christ.
Extraordinary was created and produced by Liberty University’s film program. The movie features Leland Klassen (Altar Egos), Shari Rigby (October Baby), Karen Abercrombie (War Room), and Kirk Cameron (Fireproof). It is now available on DVD or via Digital HD.