Mike Norris, Son of Chuck Norris
Talks New Film “Mission Air”
And Shares His Favorite Chuck Norris Joke!
Mike Norris, the Christian producer, director, and co-writer of the film Mission Air, has already contributed some solid volumes to the fast-growing library of movies in recent years that have strong faith-based themes. He and his wide Valerie run 2nd Fiddle Entertainment, which has produced several films, including Birdie & Bogey, Mission Air, and I Am Gabriel. Mike is also the son of actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris, and Mike has starred in several films, including Delta Force 1, Delta Force 3: The Killing Game, A Greater Yes: The Story of Amy Newhouse, and I Am Gabriel.
The adventure and drama in Mission Air does something unique: it uses a drug cartel as its villain without resorting to the gritty, shocking, violent realism that has characterized most Hollywood movies that involve cartel stories. Although it’s an indie film, which means it doesn’t have the giant budget or high-end production value of a big studio feature theatrical release, it has plenty of elements that will make it compelling for families. There is a strong emphasis on the bravery and risk involved in being a missionary to dangerous regions, there are some heartfelt performances, especially from Gigi Rice, and the climactic third act has strong tension and suspense in it. It features some great aviation footage, and the famous Tom Arnold adds some comic relief and levity with his goofy, charming character.
Here is the plot summary from the studio’s press release:
Doctor and pilot, Diane Ireland (Gigi Rice), is the cornerstone of MISSION AIR, traveling
across the Texas/Mexico border helping those in need, while also telling them about a
Healing that reaches far beyond what she can do as a medical professional.
Usually a peaceful adventure, the most recent trip to Villa De Luz puts Diane and her son, Michael
(Tom Maden), face to face with banditos in an altercation ending in gunfire. Soon, Diane
and the entire Ireland family find themselves unexpectedly teamed together against the
Mexican cartel in a fight to protect their mission… and, their lives.Featuring a star-filled cast – Jamie Kennedy, Tom Arnold, Gigi Rice, Alexandria Deberry, Paul Rodriguez, Carey Scott – Mission Air is a modern day tale of faith and trust.
What made you decide to lend your talents to this movie?
The script actually came about fifteen years ago — the genesis of the idea of the script. I was kind of just going through my files and I looked back and I saw a film that we had written years ago called a wing and a prayer and I just revamped and modernized that, and I love aviation and I love doing mission work; I just wanted to put it on to film. It was just one of those weird stories that it took 15 years to get this movie made.
Was this movie actually shot in parts of Mexico?
No, that is all movie magic. It’s kind of funny, and I hate to ruin it for anybody, but our Mexican village was one mile away from our landing strip back at the missionary ranch. We built the whole thing, and it made it easy while producing the film and we had a budget that we had to stick to — you do what you got to do. All of it in Texas.
You have a lot of cool people in this movie. How did you get somebody like Tom Arnold and other comics to come aboard?
You know a lot of that kind of came from Pureflix. They said if you could get somebody like Jim Belushi or Tom Arnold, and those ideas came from the distributor that we were working with, and we just went out and got him, and I was just thoroughly pleased that the script resonated with him to come out and do it. And Tom Arnold plays a very lovable, goofy character in the movie. Jamie Kennedy is known as a comedian who plays a very dark sinister character. Paul Rodriguez is in there kind of floating in the middle, not really sure where his heart lies.
Did these people come in knowing it was a Christian movie and they where okay with it or do you just hire Christian actors?
No, it is just a movie. I mean, it is just, I guess a Christian movie, it has a Christian themes, you know: it is all about when the chips are down where do you really put your faith, and when things are going good where do you really put your faith. You know, Tom Arnold is a Jew, and he had no problem whatsoever with the content of the script. Jamie Kennedy, I am not really sure where his faith lies nor with Paul Rodriguez. I don’t only hire Christians because really, what we are called to do is go out and talk about Jesus and lead people to the Lord. And if I get a cast and crew full of Christians, well, then I am losing an opportunity during the filming process where they can see us as Christians on a day-to-day basis — at our best and at our worst and how we handle things. So when the movie gets out there it’s my hope that people will be entertained and especially non-believers will watch it and put that in there frontal lobe and say, you know, let me check this out. But the front lines are when you are filming the movie and you are hiring people; they get to see how some of the crew as believers act. You know, it started with twelve. We have got 50 on the crew you never know. And we get up first thing every morning we all gather for prayer. If you want to come you are more than welcome if you don’t want it is not a problem at all.
With your dad being Chuck Norris, I have to ask: what is your favorite saying about your dad?
[laughs] Okay, my favorite saying about my dad, oh my gosh, and my kids know all of those. I wish I had more time to memorize them. I really like the one he did in The Expendables: “Hey, I heard you got bit by a cobra. Yeah I did, and he died five days later.” [laughs] I love those sayings. They are all good except the ones that get a little too raunchy, but I like all of the clean ones.
Do you own a Bowflex like I see in his infomercials?
[laughs] It’s actually a Total Gym. Yes, we have a Total Gym and we put it to good use; my wife puts it to use. We hang clothes on it.