CELEBRITY PRAYER FOCUS

“Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” Sidlow Baxter 

Celebrity Prayer Focus: Jon M. Chu

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Jonathan Murray Chu is an American filmmaker, best known for directing the movies such as Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Justin Bieber: Never Say NeverCrazy Rich Asians, and Hasbro franchises Jem and the Holograms and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Chu is an alumnus of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. There, he won the Princess Grace Award, the Dore Schary Award presented by the Anti-Defamation League, the Jack Nicholson directing award, and was recognized as an honoree for the IFP/West program Project: Involve.

Chu was born in Palo Alto, California, and grew up in nearby Los Altos. His father, Lawrence Chu, is a well-known chef, and his parents own Chef Chu’s, a popular restaurant in Los Altos. He attended Pinewood School from kindergarten through 12th grade.

After making his student short, When the Kids Are Away, Chu was signed to William Morris Agency and attached to several high-profile projects. Chu was hired by Sony Pictures to direct their feature Bye Bye Birdie but Sony never greenlit the film due to budget concerns. Sony recently got back into business with Chu to direct their updated version of The Great Gatsby, which did not pan out, but, after being purchased by Warner Bros. Pictures with Baz Luhrmann attached, developed into the 2013 film. He is in a dance crew called AC/DC or Adam/Chu Dance crew. Chu has also executive produced several TV series, and is directing on the new show Good Trouble, a spinoff of The Fosters. He has also been announced as executive producer for an upcoming series Hilde Cracks the Case.

Chu is currently directing the online series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. His most recent film, Crazy Rich Asians, releases mid-August 2018.

In an interview, Chu addressed a question he is often asked, “Why do all of your films have dance?” He responded, “I don’t know why. It seems so obvious. But there’s something about the dancers that motivate me the most. I don’t know if it’s just dance, but I do think that the dancers are amazing artists, and every time I meet a new dancer, that triggers something in my brain, and I’m more creative than I could ever be. When I feel that creativity burst, I go with it.”

[Career summary via Wikipedia and IMDB]

Join us in prayer for Jon Chu. We give thanks to God for the passions and creativity that He has given to Jon, and pray that God is glorified through Jon’s work. Pray that Jon encounters God and experiences His deep love, and that Jon would be surrounded with people in his career that can demonstrate God’s love to him. We pray for healthy relationships in Jon’s life both personally and professionally.

Celebrity Prayer Focus: Kelly Clarkson

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Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is an American singer and songwriter. She rose to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural season of the television series American Idol, which earned her a record deal with RCA Records. Clarkson’s debut single, “A Moment Like This”, topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the country’s best-selling single of 2002. It was followed by the release of her debut album, Thankful (2003), which debuted atop the US Billboard 200. Trying to reinvent her image, Clarkson decided to part ways with Idol management and her second album, Breakaway (2004), featured a pop rock sound. It sold over 12 million copies worldwide and earned Clarkson two Grammy Awards.

She took further creative control for her third album, My December (2007), co-writing the entire album. However, her label was dissatisfied with the direction of the music and reluctantly promoted the album, which became her least commercially successful release. Clarkson returned to the top of the charts with her more mainstream-oriented fourth album, All I Ever Wanted (2009). Its lead single, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, holds the record for the biggest jump to number one on the Hot 100 chart. Her fifth studio album, Stronger (2011), made Clarkson the first artist to win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album twice. It spawned her third Hot 100 number-one single “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”. She became the first American female artist to achieve the best-selling holiday album of the year with Wrapped in Red (2013). Following the release of her third number-one album Piece by Piece (2015), Clarkson concluded her contract with RCA Records and signed with Atlantic Records in 2016. Her soul-influenced eighth album, Meaning of Life (2017), debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.

Clarkson has sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. She also scored a total of over 100 number ones on the Billboard charts. Her accolades include three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. Billboard hailed Clarkson as “one of pop music’s greatest singers” and honored her with the Powerhouse Award for her vocals. Known as a versatile singer, Clarkson became the first artist in history to top each of Billboard‘s pop, adult contemporary, adult pop, country and dance charts. She was ranked nineteenth on VH1’s list of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Clarkson has also ventured into film, television, and writing children’s books. She currently serves as a coach on the television competition series The Voice.

[Career summary via Wikipedia]

It was recently announced that one of Clarkson’s upcoming projects is the starring role in the animated feature Uglydolls. She will voice the lead character and will also perform original songs in the film, which releases May 2019. Clarkson will also return to the judging panel of NBC’s The Voice for its 15th season this fall.

Pray with us for Kelly Clarkson and that God will draw near to her. We pray that in all her current and upcoming projects, her relationships with everyone involved will be healthy and they will enjoy working with each other. Kelly was raised with Christian roots, and though we don’t know her relationship with God now, we ask that God makes himself known to her in the coming weeks and in all aspects of her life. We pray for her family and personal life and ask God to give her patience, strength, and compassion as a mother and a wife. Pray also that God provides the time and desire in her life to rest and rejuvenate, and that in those times she knows God is the source of her peace.

Celebrity Prayer Focus: Pete Docter

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Peter Hans Docter (born October 9, 1968) is an American film director, animator, screenwriter, producer, voice actor and chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios. He is best known for directing the animated feature films Monsters, Inc. (2001), Up (2009) and Inside Out (2015) and as a key figure and collaborator at Pixar Animation Studios. He has been nominated for eight Oscars (two wins thus far for Up and Inside Out – Best Animated Feature), seven Annie Awards (winning five), a BAFTA Children’s Film Award (which he won), and a Hochi Film Award (which he won).

Before joining Pixar, Docter had created three non-computer animations, “Next Door”, “Palm Springs”, and “Winter”. All three shorts were later preserved by the Academy Film Archive. He was a fan of the company’s early short films, but he knew nothing about them otherwise. He commented in an October 2009 interview, “Looking back, I kind of go, what was I thinking?”

He started at Pixar in 1990 at the age of 21, and began work the day after his college graduation, as the tenth employee at the company’s animation group, and its third animator. He first met owner Steve Jobs when Jobs came to lay off some older workers. Docter instantly felt at home in the tight-knit atmosphere of the company. He has said, “Growing up… a lot of us felt we were the only person in the world who had this weird obsession with animation. Coming to Pixar you feel like, ‘Oh! There are others!'”

Docter had been brought in with limited responsibilities, but John Lasseter quickly assigned him larger and larger roles in writing, animation, sound recording, and orchestra scoring. He was one of the three key screenwriters behind the concept of Toy Story.

Docter has been an integral part of some of Pixar’s most seminal works, including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life and Monsters, Inc., all of which received critical acclaim and honors. He contributed to these animated films as a co-author to the scripts, and worked with CGI stalwarts such as John Lasseter, Ronnie Del Carmen, Bob Peterson, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, and Joe Ranft. In 2004, he was asked by John Lasseter to direct the English translation of Howl’s Moving Castle. Docter made his directorial debut with Monsters, Inc., which occurred right after the birth of his first child, Nick. Docter then directed the 2009 film Up, released on May 29, 2009.

In May 2009, Docter remarked retrospectively to Christianity Today that he had lived “a blessed life” so far. He has been nominated for eight Oscars (winning two), three Annie Awards (winning two), a British Academy Children’s Award (which he won), and a Hochi Film Award (which he won). He also won a Bafta for best animation for Up. Accepting his Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, he said, “Never did I dream that making a flip book out of my third-grade math book would lead to this.” Docter served as Vice-president of Creativity at Pixar Animation Studios through June 2018, and following Lasseter’s step-down from the role, is the studio’s chief creative officer (read more about the change here).

[Career summary from Wikipedia]

Docter is also a devout Christian. Though he incorporates his personal morality into his work, he has said that he does not intend to ever make a movie with an explicitly religious message. About the relationship between his faith and his filmmaking, Docter has said:

“I don’t think people in any way, shape, or form like to be lectured to. When people go to a movie, they want to see some sort of experience of themselves on the screen. They don’t come to be taught. So in that sense, and in terms of any sort of beliefs, I don’t want to feel as though I’m ever lecturing or putting an agenda forth.” [quote from Christianity Today]

Pray with us for Pete Docter, especially as he takes on his new role at Pixar. Ask God to be near him during this time of transition, and pray that it will go smoothly for Pete and his family. We pray that Pete’s relationship with God will grow deeper every single day, and that God continues to equip him to live and work in a way that glorifies God. Pray that Pete’s employees and coworkers would see Jesus through him and the way he lives. We praise God for the success and wide audience of Pete’s work, and we pray that everyone who sees his films will also see God in the characters, stories, and themes.