Director Matthew Chapman hopes that his new movie will do for atheists what Brokeback Mountain did for the gay community.

In the new film The Ledge, Charlie Hunnam plays an atheist named Gavin who is about to kill himself because of a dispute with a Christian villain named Joe (played by Patrick Wilson).

Liv Tyler plays Shana, who is at the center of the conflict.

“This could be the Brokeback Mountain moment for atheists, our tipping point, when we finally get the attention we deserve,” Chapman wrote on the film’s website. “Although books have put atheists into the intellectual mainstream, The Ledge is the first Hollywood drama to target the broader movie-going public with an openly atheist hero in a production big enough to attract A-list stars. This is unprecedented.”

“I’ve traveled a lot in the Midwest and the South and seen a lot of people like Joe, the fundamentalist in the film,” he told CNN’s Kyra Phillips Monday. “And I’ve never seen a portrayal of that kind of a character put in conflict with someone who shares my beliefs, which are that there probably isn’t any God and we need to think about, you know, reality in life in a rational, humane way.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue has attacked Chapman, but stopped short of calling for a boycott.

A trailer for the film is available here.

Watch this video from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast July 10, 2011.


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