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"The Ledge" Moves the Focus on Religious Violence from the Epic to the Personal

New York (NY) (May 16, 2011) - Nominated for Best US Drama at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, The Ledge is the first film in Hollywood history that puts an atheist hero into a production with A-list talent. The film stars Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings), Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominee Patrick Wilson (Watchmen), and Oscar nominee Terrence Howard (Crash, Iron Man)

On the rooftop of a city skyscraper, Detective Hollis (Terrence Howard) pleads with Gavin (Charlie Hunnam) not to jump. What he does not know is that Gavin, an atheist, is involved in a deadly feud with Joe (Patrick Wilson), a Christian extremist. Joe's wife, Shana, (Liv Tyler) is caught in the middle as Joe seeks to test Gavin's faith or lack of it. Cutting between the present and the past, tension escalates as verbal shots give way to deadly threats in a race against time that neither God nor the police can stop. Along the way, the film provocatively explores the intellectual and emotional conflicts between religion and atheism.

The Ledge could be the Brokeback Mountain moment for atheists, drawing blockbuster attention to our cause. But, if the film doesn't do well on video-on-demand and through its "test run" in New York and LA theatres starting July 8th, it could fail to go nationwide, scaring studios away from atheist films for years. Christians rose up for Passion Of The Christ, and more faith-based films followed. Do we have that kind of fight?The great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, writer and director Matthew Chapman has engaged with atheist issues his entire life. For The Ledge, he says, "I liked the idea of combining a romantic love triangle with religion, because though everyone is outraged by religious violence when it involves people of other faiths flying airplanes into buildings, there are other kinds of cruelty in religion that are broadly accepted. For example, almost all religions, including Judaism and Christianity, put down women and gays. So while you can look at religion from above and see how it tries to control society, the pain it causes is ultimately personal. Film is an ideal medium to show these smaller emotional tragedies."

While The Ledge does not provide answers to the questions it raises, its willingness to question religion has sparked controversy, thrusting the film into the center of the debate on secularism and society. Says Chapman, "I want Christians and other believers to watch The Ledge and see that atheists are people with a valid point of view and a right to be heard. And I want agnostics, atheists, and non-believers of all types to see the film and think, 'I am not alone. One day humans will give up superstition for good, and find more rational and compassionate ways of dealing with life.' For the first time, many of us can see this day coming."

The Ledge is now available through video-on-demand, and it hits theatres July 8, 2011. To see the trailer, or get the official movie script, visit or

About Matthew Chapman
Writer-Director Matthew Chapman is the critically acclaimed author of two non-fiction books, Trials of the Monkey - An Accidental Memoir and 40 Days and 40 Nights. Critics and newspapers from Christopher Hitchens to The Wall Street Journal have praised his books as brilliant, highly personal accounts of the battle between faith and reason. His screenplay credits include Consenting Adults, directed by Alan J. Pakula, Color of Night, directed by Richard Rush, and Runaway Jury, directed by Gary Fleder. He is grateful to have been given the opportunity with The Ledge to marry his love of the thriller to his fascination with religious extremism.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Matthew Chapman, contact Lauren Schwartz at or 646-384-4694.