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The Redeeming Love Character That Was Completely Changed For The Movie

Mild SPOILERS are ahead for Redeeming Love, which is now playing in theaters. 

If you’re an avid book reader, you’ve already come to realize that book-to-movie adaptations often see changes from page to screen. The latest bestseller to get the film treatment is Redeeming Love, over 30 years after it was published. Francine Rivers’ love story set in the 1850s has long been read by romance novel enthusiasts, and yes, there are some changes to note now that it has been adapted. 

When CinemaBlend sat down with the cast of Redeeming Love, Eric Dane, who plays the sinister Duke in the film, shared how his character specifically is not the same as the one readers may remember. In the Grey’s Anatomy and The Last Ship actor’s words: 

My character was derived from the character in the book, but ultimately ended up being a complete and total departure from him. I think the sensibility was the same but DJ and I created this totally different character, which Francine, to her credit, signed off on.

Redeeming Love was adapted to screen from a script written by Francine Rivers herself alongside the movie’s director, D.J. Caruso. The director has previously helmed hit movies, like Disturbia, Eagle Eye and I Am Number Four. As Eric Dane shared, the character of Duke was altered for the movie, but the author did co-sign the changes – which most definitely doesn't always happen. 

Eric Dane as duke in Redeeming Love

(Image credit: Universal)

It’s great to hear Francine Rivers was part of the adaptation of her bestselling novel. Abigail Cowen, who took on the lead role of Angel in Redeeming Love, shared her connection with the author while the movie was in production in South Africa:  

We were so busy on set going from scene to scene but [Francine Rivers] did visit set one day. When you’re on set you’re in the zone, especially with a film like this. You have to be. What was so sweet is she kind of just stayed back and just watched and was just very kind and gracious. It took me a while to even know she was there and then she introduced herself and was like ‘Hi, I’m Francine’ and I went ‘Oh my gosh, Hi, nice to meet you!’ and then I was of course taken away to do another scene, but I found it very wonderful and kind.

Rivers was hands off on the set of Redeeming Love, only making herself barely known as the production was underway, according to Cowen. Nina Dobrev, who plays Angel’s mother Mae, spoke to Cowen’s comment about her brief encounter with the author: 

Which is probably a testament to your performance. The fact that she didn’t feel like she needed to say anything or do anything because she was probably so happy with what she was seeing on set. Abby’s performance is amazing in this film and I can imagine if I had written a book and then you did what you did with this movie, I’d be thrilled.

Redeeming Love is inspired by the Book of Hosea from the Bible, with its title referencing the “redeeming love” God has to sinners. The faith-based film explores the life of Angel as she is sold into prostitution by Eric Dane’s Duke as a child. In the book, Duke has a larger and more explicit role, getting Angel pregnant numerous times. Since Redeeming Love is PG-13, it makes sense that the movie version may not want to get into every dirty detail of Angel and Duke’s relationship. 

The movie instead spends more time on the love story between Angel and Michael (played by Tom Lewis). Michael is someone who finds Angel in the brothel and asks her to marry him so he can take her away from her miserable life. Rather than seeing her as a prostitute, he refuses to have sex with her and instead finds ways to spend time with her holding conversations. 

Redeeming Love joined the box office this weekend alongside big hits Spider-Man: No Way Home and Scream. You can check out our review of the movie along with the larger critical consensus. Check out what other 2022 movie releases you can look forward to next here on CinemaBlend. 

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