SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – “The hero of this story is Brenda Lafferty and her family,” says Dustin Lance Black in reference to the new FX series “Under the Banner of Heaven.” The series tells the story of the Lafferty murders in Utah in 1984.
Earlier this week, ABC4 reported on Andrew Garfield’s thoughts about his role in “Under the Banner of Heaven.”
ABC4 also spoke with series creator and producer, Dustin Lance Black, at the same red-carpet event.
Black comments that Brenda Lafferty is someone “who challenged the status quo in a time when that was deadly, and that’s why we are here tonight.”
Black describes the process of creating the series as a “decade-long journey” that was “really personal.” He continues by saying that he thinks all good artists should embark on storytelling that is personal. He reports working closely with Jon Krakauer, who wrote the book the television series is based on.
Black says he grew up in the LDS church and still has a lot of family that still lives within a 20-mile radius of the SLFS Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City, where the series premiered. He commented on the recent press attention surrounding him, calling him “angry,” saying “If you know me, you know that’s not really my style.” Conversely, Black said, “I’m curious, and I’m asking questions, and I think it’s time for some changes to be made.”
When asked how he might respond to Utahns and members of the LDS church feeling uncomfortable with his series, Black says that he’s “with them. I was uncomfortable too.” “This is a church that I not only grew up in, but that I loved. There’s a culture in the church that I still love. But at a certain point, you’ve got to start asking the question of why parts of this belief system, not the entire thing, cause harm,” says Black.
Continuing, the subject Black says, “The heroes of the show are all active, mainstream Mormons.” Black references not only Brenda Lafferty and her family, but also Garfield’s character Detective Pyre and his family. Black says that he hopes that the LDS church and its members will be inspired to rally behind the “courageous” example of Brenda Lafferty.