Redemptionville

Rodney Beard

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE CRIME MELODRAMA DETECTIVE DRAMA YOUNG ADULT SUSPENSE/THRILLER ROMANCE MYSTERY RELIGIOUS OTHER

    Core Theme

    GUILTY/RESPONSIBILITY

    TIME PERIOD

    20th Century (multiple decades)

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    FIRST REFORMED, PRIMAL FEAR, SPOTLIGHT

    CHARACTER LIST

    MARC: LEAD. BLACK. MID-40S. GOOD-HEARTED, WISE, FAITHFUL, PIOUS, SINCERE.

    ROY: BEST FRIEND. BISHOP. BLACK. MID-40S.

    KIM: WIFE. BLACK. MID-40S.

    SEAN: FRIEND. WHITE. MID-30S.

    BECKY: LAWYER. BLACK. MID-40S.

    TRE: ROY'S SPIRITUAL SON. BLACK. MID-20S.

    Logline

    Best friends, one a pastor the other a world know Bishop The Bishop is trafficking in young boys along with his bishop friends A lawsuit is filed against one and all the others implicated The pastor wants to bring them all to justice after his friend dies The four main characters become superheroes

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Fictionally set in Music City/Redemptionville, TN

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Amazon

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    When Marcel's best friend is shot (the accused Bishop) in the middle of the night Marcel rushes to his aid to find three gunshot wounds in his friend. He has no idea who did it who had motive and opportunity from his wife to victims, mothers even complicit Bishops who may wish him dead.

    Ending Description

    It ends with no one knowing or telling who did it. All of the implicated Bishops are suspect, the wife, the mothers of the boys, the boys (now men) but especially the young man who is the heir apparent that becomes the new Bishop after the death of Bishop Robinson, who was actually his first victim.

    Group Specific

    The current modern church.

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Sexual Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Rags to Riches,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Rebellion Against 'The One',Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Rev. Marcel Giroux

    Age: 45-50

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Sexy,Religious,Decisive,Blunt,Selfless,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Faithful,Romantic,Heartthrob,Educated,Honorable,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code,Leader

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Sean Nelson

    Age: 35-45

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Villainous,Charming,Obedient,Confident,Sexy,Religious,Blunt,Decisive,Selfless,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Underdog,Skillful,Visionary,Heartthrob,Heroic,Secretive,Honorable,Strong Moral Code,Leader,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Alexia DuPree

    Age: 40-45

    Gender: Female

    Role: tempter

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Complex,Sexy,Confident,Religious,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Skillful,Gracious,Visionary,Romantic,Heartthrob,Educated,Seductive,Honorable,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code,Leader,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Becky LaCour

    Age: 40-50

    Gender: Lgbt

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Religious,Blunt,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Selfless,Skillful,Faithful,Educated,Honorable,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code,Leader,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

    Development Pitch

    LOGLINE: Redemptionville is the story of a minister who wants to be redeemed after keeping a secret for 30 years that his best friend is a pedophile who also embraces salacious down-low homosexual activities under the cloak of his ministry. The story is wrapped in a quagmire of greed and abuse of power within families, schools and the church that ultimately leads to pedophilia and its ugly consequences. SUMMARY: Marcel Giroux is the Senior Pastor of Redemptionville Community Church, a thriving church in a large suburb of Music City, Tennessee, called Redemptionville. Marcel is known for being a pastor true to his calling who loves vintage cars and good food. He is also a man with a past and determined to make amends for his past failures. Marcel struggles with what he knows about how some of the top ministers and bishops in the country embrace greed, the love of money, power, sexual perversity, down-low homosexuality, and pedophilia. He is forced to make a choice about it all when his best friend from childhood, Bishop Royal “Roy” Robinson, is named in a lawsuit alleging that he has molested four boys. Marcel has to decide how far he will go to stand with his friend, or if he will stand with the victims. Marcel’s struggles highlight the human struggle about speaking out against wrong and injustice and feels internal conflict and guilt because he knows and loves the perpetrator. Marcel presents a unique examination of why people who know better don't do better.

    Genre

    MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA, RELIGION

    Brief

    Beloved pastor Marc Giroux is sent reeling when his best friend and bishop of the parish, Roy Robinson, is sued for sexually abusing young boys. When Roy is shot in his home and falls into a coma, Marc wrestles with his guilt in the face of the accusations while mourning his best friend.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The logline should be rewritten, and its reference to superheroes be omitted. Too many genres are identified.

    Draw of Story

    The premise of a beloved church pastor being forced to come to terms with the rampant perversions and corruptions within the church and performed by his best friend and bishop to the parish is a fascinating and original premise, bolstered by the author's authentic perspective on the story as a prominent pastor of thirty-two years. The story does not excuse nor justify the protagonist's silent complicity, and his inner struggle as he tries to come to terms with these awful truths is compelling and credible.

    Possible Drawbacks

    There is an unfortunate and unmissable anti-gay sentiment that runs throughout the entire story, with homosexuality referred to as a perversion and "down-low" behavior and gay or effeminate men described as "sissies" and implied as not being real men, as being less than. This would have to be removed entirely from the story if it were to be adapted into a film. As well as this, about 50% of this story features extended flashbacks into the past but only a small amount of this backstory is necessary to the plot and the frequent digressions into the past serve only to kill the momentum of the plot and slow down the story.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    A church pastor forced to confront the perversions and corruptions of the church is a unique angle on this current hot-topic issue, and the story's reluctance to justify or excuse it is refreshing.

    Fanbase Potential

    No, this would be a niche film, such as Paul Schrader's recent FIRST REFORMED, which could have a small but very passionate fanbase.

    Awards Potential

    Yes, this is exactly the kind of film that could do well with awards.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    FIRST REFORMED, PRIMAL FEAR, SPOTLIGHT

    What’s New About the Story

    Original is the protagonist being a church pastor who must confront the corruptions and sexual perversions of the church, as well as the author's knowledge of the topic being a pastor himself. The story could be made more unique by focusing more on the spiritual aspect of the protagonist's inner struggle, and less on the murder-mystery subplot.

    Lead Characters

    Protagonist Marc is a complex individual who tries to lead by example. He sincerely believes in what he preaches. His best friend Roy is the exact opposite in many respects, being an abuser, liar and greedy man, and this contrast between the two is powerful. Other characters bleed together a little and more could be done to flesh them out, aside from Marc's wife Kim who is an intelligent and intriguing woman.

    Uniqueness of Story

    If this story was half its current length, removing the huge amount of backstory and focusing on the main plot of Marc's inner struggle as he processes the realities of the church and his best friend's abhorrent actions, this could become a rare gem.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Indie, Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    It's a decent story with a fascinating, unique premise and complex characters.

    Brief

    When beloved pastor Marc Giroux's best friend, the bishop Roy Robinson, is sued for sexually abusing young boys, Marc wrestles with his guilt in the wake of the accusations.

    What We Liked

    The premise of a beloved church pastor being forced to come to terms with the rampant sexual perversion and corruption within the church and performed by his best friend and bishop to the parish is a fascinating and original premise, bolstered by the author's authentic perspective on the story as a prominent pastor of thirty-two years. The story does not excuse nor justify the protagonist's silent complicity, and his inner struggle as he tries to come to terms with these awful truths is compelling and credible. Through this unique perspective, REDEMPTIONVILLE breaks new ground.

    Film: In a similar vein to Paul Schrader's recent critically acclaimed FIRST REFORMED or Tom McCarthy's Oscar-winning SPOTLIGHT before it, a feature-film adaptation of this story offers the perfect format to explore protagonist Marc's inner struggle regarding his guilt and feelings of responsibility for his best friend's abhorrent actions plus those of the church at large while also exploring an intriguing murder-mystery-esque subplot concerned with who, exactly, shot the bishop. Marc's emotional journey is compelling and satisfying and structured perfectly for a feature film, while the story's open-ended finale is nonetheless satisfying and emotionally resolves the story's themes.

    TV: This story would work well as a top-shelf limited-series adaptation, such as many on HBO, as it follows protagonist's Marc's inner struggle as he tries to come to terms with his best friend's actions and those of the church at large while also digging up clues about who pulled the trigger on Roy. If more characters and subplots were added, the show could take on a murder-mystery format such as HBO's recent hit MARE OF EASTTOWN while keeping sight of its unique spiritual explorations filtered through its original and compelling pastor protagonist.

    Key points:
    1) Fascinating unique premise
    2) Authentic details provided by the author's own experiences as a pastor of thirty-two years
    3) Compelling complex characters
    4) Criticizes the church from within in a credible, fascinating manner without justifying or explaining its corruption
    5) A clever blend of a crime plot with that of a spiritual inner struggle

    Synopsis

    PASTOR MARCEL GIROUX of Redemptionville Community Church, Tennessee, stocks up for 4th of July. He loves his life and job and wife KIM. Driving his car, the news on the radio talks about BISHOP ROYAL “ROY” ROBINSON being sued by four young men who allege Roy sexually molested them over a period of a decade when they were children and used his influence in the community to get away with it. Roy is Marc’s best friend; Marc is shocked and horrified. Rockstar lawyer REBECCA LACOUR is on the attacking team. She is suing for $55 million; the young men are refusing 100% of the proceeds, instead demanding that all of their shares go to charities which help victims of sexual abuse.

    Sitting thinking about this while listening to jazz, Marc’s inner monologue implies he knew something about Roy’s actions yet said and did nothing, complicit in silence. Marc was raised in Louisiana Creole culture during the Jim Crow years: a typical Black family experiencing racism. Marc has been best friends with Roy since third grade. Speaking with Kim, she implies that the community is not surprised by the lawsuit as everyone knew something was going on. She says that the church community knows too but will stick to Roy like glue. Roy runs Real Man Academy for boys and often would bring some boys out to extra-curricular events. Marc thinks it’s odd how much access Roy had to these boys without the consent of their parents. Roy is a TV celebrity, bishop, and millionaire, who always comes out on top.

    Marc remembers being very young with Roy and watching kids have pretend sex (clothed) as young as seven years old watching it. But one day he and Roy walked into a friend’s house to find the friend (16) having full-on sex with his 14-year-old sister while another 12-year-old sister watched, all three of them naked. Young Roy demanded a turn and proceeded to have sex with the 14-year-old. Marc watches, stunned, as Roy has sex with the girl with ease, somehow knowing how to do it; looking back now, Marc wonders if Roy was possibly molested before this by one of the few pedophiles that lived in the community (they were not known as such a term then). The 12-year-old sister invites Marc onto the bed so Marc has sex with her and from that moment was hooked on sex. Marc remembers numerous stories told by children to other children about adults having sex with children—but back then nobody would say a word against an authority figure in the Black community. Marc believes that the community would do anything to defend a Black person’s position in a white-powered society—even ignore such behavior. Marc was molested at six years older by an older boy who tried to force his penis into Marc’s anus after Marc witnessed another young boy being molested by the attacker.

    After much delaying, Marc finally answers when Roy calls. Roy immediately launches into his spin of the story, denying everything, saying it’s a hit-job. He claims he has only ever treated boys right and helps educate them into men. Marc doesn’t argue but doesn’t agree with Roy, either. He tells Roy to go out with him later where they can talk privately and properly.

    Marc drives to his church. Noticing news vans outside, he sneaks in the back entrance. He greets his friend and partner and the church’s executive assistant, SEAN NELSON (white). Sean was released from prison on a federal drug-dealing charge and came to the church for support. Sean is now a millionaire and owns a real estate firm. Marc have him a job and Sean has been a loyal friend since. Sean wants to know what Marc plans on doing or not doing about the situation. Sean suggests that they help Roy but Marc reminds Sean that it was Sean who first brought this problem up to Roy in the first place when Sean witnessed Roy sexually engaged with a male “kid.” Marc had pleaded with Roy to get help several times over the years. Roy obviously did not and now he must face the consequences. Sean says that whatever happens he’s with Marc on this.

    Marc and Roy ride motorcycles together to the rural cabin. There, Roy asks Marc what he’s going to do about all of this mess. Marc, knowing Roy must always feel in control of every situation and likely has a plan in mind to make the suing young men wish they had never dared to confront him, Marc tells Roy that this isn’t why they’re here. They’re here to speak openly and honestly before God. Marc asks Roy outright if he abuse any of the boys or any others. Marc believes Roy to be a narcissist who creates his own reality and believes it, and this is evident in Roy’s outright denial. But Marc presses further, tired of his long relationship with this “arrogant, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, perverted pedophile who has pimped the Church and its people for far too long.” Marc lays out several memories of witnessing Roy’s homosexuality and perversions. Marc says he doesn’t simply think Roy is gay; he thinks Roy is a twisted pervert and no matter what Roy says Marc knows that Roy did those things to those boys. Roy responds hysterically by breaking down and crying. He says he has always been jealous of Marc’s family and life. Roy says that when he was ten years old he witnessed his grandfather having sex with his mother and he believed that his mother enjoyed it. Therefore, his grandfather is also his father. Even worse, Roy later witnessed his young sister being sexually abused by the grandfather. In saving his sister, Roy replaced her, and gave blowjobs to the man for years. The grandfather—a preacher—said that, as a man of God, it was his right.

    Early the next morning, Marc is awoken in bed by the telephone ringing: Roy’s wife, QUIN, informs him that Roy has been shot; somebody broke into their home and shot him. Quin and kids are hiding in the panic room. Marc calls Sean to tell him to get over there. Then Roy hurries out of the house. Marc arrives at the house and sees Roy unconscious and wounded in the head and chest; shot three times. Blood everywhere. Marc gives him mouth to mouth.

    Sean and B DUB race Marc to the hospital and handle the crowd control and media. Police interview Quin. She describes the shooter as tall and lean wearing a fully black Spandex-like suit including mask. The officer asks why TRE (Roy’s adoptive son), who is usually at the house, left soon before the shooting. Quin says Tre often goes to see people, though she doesn’t know why in this instance right now. No one can track Tre down just yet. Many hours later, a doctor tells them all that Roy is miraculously alive for now but they don’t understand why and won’t know the damage until he’s conscious. The doctor says that Marc saved Roy’s life by being there at that moment. The doctor says God must have stepped in because these three bullets each alone should have killed Roy. One of the best brain surgeons in the country is on the way to operate on Roy.

    Later, Roy begins to suspect Quin and Tre of the murder. Sean tells Roy that Tre has been found with a stripper high on coke and incoherent. They are about to put him in the shower in an attempt to sober him up but, thinking about possible destruction of evidence, Marc tells them not to. Marc arrives at the stripper’s house. Her name is CINNAMON and Marc is impressed by her nice home in an area near the lake. Cinnamon is beautiful and unlike the stereotype of a stripper. She is articulate and polite. Marc questions Tre, who is shocked at hearing something happened to Roy, though Marc does not reveal what right away. When Marc tells Tre that Roy was shot, Tre instantly asks if Roy is dead.

    In the car en route to the hospital, Tre tells Marc that he went off the deep end last night because he found out that one of the young men involved in the lawsuit hung himself; Tre knew him when they were kids, which was when Roy was abusing him. This revelation does not dampen Marc’s suspicion of both Tre and Quin.

    The next day, Marc watches the news on TV as it reports on Roy’s shooting. Next Timmy’s mother (a former crack addict) speaks, livid about Roy who she blames entirely for her son’s suicide. She has made public Timmy’s diary which detail vividly his sexual and emotional relationship with Roy. She says that Timmy was involved in such a way with other bishops as well, and she intends to expose them all. Becky then explains that these diary entries detailing a sexual relationship between Timmy and Roy beginning at age thirteen for Timmy are worthy of criminal charges of child rape and exploitation of a child by an authority figure.

    Marc returns to the hospital with his nice SEANDE, B Dub and Sean. A long line of pastors and bishops spills out of the ICU as each waits to pray for Roy. The doctor escorts the group by the pastors and bishops to Roy’s side. Marc observes the bishops praying at Roy’s bedside and views them as demons and bloodsucking and life-killing vermin, insincere in their prayers and words. Marc threatens the bishops by Roy’s bed by saying that the lawsuit isn’t going away and asks if their names will be inside Timmy’s diary too. They are outraged by Marc’s remark but also seem fearful.

    Marc leaves the hospital to get food with Sean and B Dub. Kim texts him to say that, after spending time with Tre, she no longer believes Tre had anything to do with the shooting. Kim says that Timmy’s mother was in town the night of the shooting, put up in a hotel by Becky. This arouses Marc’s and Sean’s suspicions. Marc says to Sean that what if Timmy’s mother was simply the scapegoat for Quin and Tre.

    Marc and Sean confront Tre, who says that he didn’t shoot Roy but is responsible for the shooting. He says that Roy started molesting him when he was twelve. He says that Timmy’s mother showed up in town to see Tre with Timmy’s diary. Tre was bringing her to Becky’s when he stopped off at Roy’s on the way and Timmy’s mother was supposed to wait in the car but when Tre returned to the car, she was gone. Then he heard the gunshots. He checked the glove compartment but his pistol was missing from it. He rushes into the house to see Timmy’s mother and Roy struggling with the gun. Timmy’s mother was only trying to threaten Roy into giving her $50,000 to buy crack with and die, but Roy attempted suicide with the weapon during the struggle. Tre spoke with Quin after it and neither of them wanted to implicate Timmy’s mother. Marc realizes this means that Becky probably knows about the truth of what happened as well.

    Marc is relaxing alone on his boat on the lake when Kim calls and tells him that Roy is dead. Sean arrives at the cabin and he and Marc process the news, reminiscing about good memories of Roy, and laughing. They discuss next steps; Sean tells Marc that he spoke to Becky and she isn’t going after Roy anymore now that he’s dead. Becky wants Marc as her pastor to tell her what to do next. Marc decides to let it all go and take care of Roy’s family.

    Roy’s and Timmy’s funeral occur on the same day, the latter a small ceremony in rural Arkansas, while Roy’s funeral was one of the biggest the city has ever seen. Tre is consecrated as the new pastor and bishop of NPRC, for life. Roy is cremated and his ashes released over the lake. As Marc observes Tre in his new office surrounded by other bishops and pastors, Marc thinks Tre looks a lot like Roy and fears that Tre will resume business as usual in Roy’s perverted ways, but he hopes that Tre will be a catalyst for change while Becky comes for the men standing around him.

    That night in bed, Kim tells Marc that Quin told her she has been sleeping with Tre for the past year. It happened because Tre told Quin about all the abuse Roy had done to Tre, but Tre said he is not gay and was forced into it. Quin’s idea to get back at Roy is to make Tre into a “real man” by having sex with him. They both loved it and kept doing it, and now they are in a serious, though secret, relationship. But Kim believes Quin is not really in love with Tre and is just using him, and that Tre will be furious when he realizes and will try to regain control but will then realize that the contract Quin had him sign will keep him under her thumb permanently. Marc has a realization: what if Timmy’s mother was a scapegoat this whole time, even against her own knowing—a ploy by which Tre and Quin would not have to suffer the lawsuit, and everyone was hoodwinked in the end. What if Timmy’s mother was so high she doesn’t know the details clearly, and what if Tre had supplied the drugs—what if it all went down differently than was recounted?

    Marc goes out for a drive on his back to get some air and think. Stopping for gas, he meets a church member—an attractive widow who seems to speak seductively to him. They go and have some drinks together, and it’s getting steamy. Marc leaves his bike to drive her home. He speeds her expensive sports car as fast as it will go, its owner moaning in the seat beside him begging him not to slow down. They go to the woman’s house for a drink. Kim calls, telling Marc not to come home in the storm as it’s dangerous; Marc agrees as the widow listens. The widow changes into lingerie and attempts to seduce Marc but he resists. They kiss and Marc gets passionate but at the last moment he stops himself before it can go further. She tells him that, as Becky’s friend, she knows about the case and she says that Tre set up the lawsuit and coached the young men in suing Roy. She gives Marc a flash drive containing evidence of Roy’s and the other bishops’ and pastors’ financial and other corruption, and asks Marc for help bringing them all down with her and Becky. Marc agrees to help, then leaves the house. On his way home to Kim he stops outside Roy’s house and remembers his best friend. Tre drives toward the gates and opens them and drives up to the house as Marc realizes he now has a new and most unwelcome neighbor.

    About The Author

    Rodney Beard is a prominent pastor of thirty-two years in Nashville, Tennessee, whose journey into Christian ministry delivered him into the dark underbelly of the church.