A Mistake Led DeVon Franklin to Oprah

The young movie exec talks faith, the industry and how he ended up on Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday.

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(The Root) -- While there have been major outcries about the abysmal state of television programming recently, Oprah Winfrey's OWN network has been running a series called Super Soul Sunday, which is dedicated to nourishing the "mind, body and spirit" of the viewer in order to "help viewers awaken to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them." Self-help gurus Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and Iyanla Vanzant have appeared on the show.

Sunday's show will feature 2011 The Root 100 honoree DeVon Franklin, described as "Columbia Pictures' 33-year-old wunderkind vice-president of production." Franklin, who is a high-profile producer in the Hollywood film industry, is also a devout Seventh-day Adventist and preacher, who puts his faith first in his life and career. Franklin will not accept a job if he is unable to observe his Sabbath, a stipulation he made and has maintained since his first college internship.

Last year, Franklin published a book called Produced by Faith, a guide to success in life and one's career by embracing your true self -- Christian in this case -- and using faith to navigate the sometimes treacherous terrain of life, including the workplace.

"I am helping people understand not lessons that I have learned," he told The Root, "but lessons that I am living right now."

The Root had a chance to catch up with the man behind The Karate Kid (2010), Jumping the Broom (2011), Moneyball (2011) and the upcoming remake of the film classic Sparkle (2012) to find out how this opportunity with Winfrey came about, what he hopes to add to the spiritual conversation and how his faith led him to his fiancée, actress Meagan Good.

The Root: How did your relationship with God begin?

DeVon Franklin: From a young age, I can always remember being intimately aware of God and wanting to live a life that would please Him. I would say that my freshman year of college [at the University of Southern California] is when I went through a growth process where I was questioning if I believed what I believed because I believed it, or I believed what I believed because of everything I was taught. I literally pulled up the floorboards on everything that I believed and reclaimed all of it because it was truly what I believed in my heart. It was a difficult and rewarding time, but it gave me ownership over everything that I stand for today.

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TR: When did you realize that you could be spiritual and have a career in Hollywood? Was it a conscious decision or an evolution?

DF: In starting in Hollywood, I didn't say, "Here's what I'm going to do," but organically, what I began to understand is that my belief and my faith are so much a part of who I am, and the key to success is embracing it. At an interview for an internship, God impressed upon me to tell the interviewer about my stipulation of Sabbath observance, which means that I don't work Friday night from sundown to Saturday at sundown, which is unusual for people in this business.

The Root 100 People's Choice Awards  
Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM