Is 'God Is a Bullet' Movie a True Story? What's Real vs. Fake

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Maika Monroe in God Is a Bullet movie

2023's God Is a Bullet is under fire as fans ask whether the true story that supposedly inspired the film is real or fake.

Starring Jamie Foxx, January Jones, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau, God Is a Bullet tells the story of a detective who finds his wife murdered and his teenage daughter kidnapped by a satanic cult.

The action-thriller first hit theaters on June 23, 2023, and it made its Starz debut on July 1.

What's Real in God Is a Bullet Movie?

Paul Johansson in God Is a Bullet
Paul Johansson

For those wondering whether God Is a Bullet is based on a real story, the answer is somewhat complicated.

The questions started popping up after the final credits included a lengthy disclaimer denying any resemblance to actual people or events in the real world.

The movie is based on a book of the same name, God Is a Bullet, which was written by Boston Teran and published worldwide in 1999. Therefore, in the simplest of terms, the movie is not based on a real story.

However, the story cannot be summarily dismissed as completely fake either. 

Producer Donald Allen is quoted on author Boston Teran's website saying that the story is inspired by his own experiences in Mexico.

He pointed out the people who gave Teran the inspiration for the story told in both the book and the movie, noting how Teran got "background and a world of characters for his novel" from that country:

"I owe Hughes. If it weren’t for him, Rose might never have gotten her daughter back and out of Mexico. And me, there would be no 'God Is a Bullet.' (Rose is the actual person Case Hardin in the novel 'God Is a Bullet' is based on.) He asked about the manuscript I was writing. 

(That manuscript is the true story of Boston’s journey into Mexico which gave him background and a world of characters for his novel 'God Is a Bullet.' The author left that manuscript, along with a number of others in his family’s care.)"

What Real Events Inspired God Is a Bullet Book & Movie?

While the book and the movie are both fictitious, they are based on real-life occurrences that tie back to cults.

Speaking with The Action Elite, producer Michael Mendelson explained how the book is "10 times worse than the actual movie," calling it a difficult film to make due to how sad the real story is.

He recalled fans asking him why he did not make a family movie, but he wanted to give viewers a look into something difficult and a little darker than the average movie:

"Well, it is a film like 'Taken,' so it’s just a bit more violent and true to the actual story. If you read the book, the book is 10 times worse than the actual movie that we’ve shot. So, we had to give you a taste and a flavor of what was really happening without completely disorienting the audience. It was difficult. Yes and people were saying, 'Well, why did you do this? Why didn’t you make it a family movie?' But the truth is, the story isn’t a family story. This story is sad, but true and takes place in a very difficult situation.'"

He discussed the undercover nature of the story's protagonist as the characters got inside these dangerous cults, noting the challenges in uncovering those groups:

"These cults do exist and they’re wanted by the FBI or local law enforcement, but not easily found because they don’t use credit cards. They don’t use money the same way that normal people do. They don’t have bank accounts; they don’t have addresses or driver’s licenses. So, it’s quite challenging to find them. In the movie, you see he had to go undercover. He had to get tatted up and he had to infiltrate this cult to ultimately work his way up to find the daughter."

Additionally, Mendelsohn shared how the daughter of Nick Cassavetes, the film's director, was kidnapped, which is what happened in both the book and the movie.

While Cassavetes was studying at Syracuse University, he fell in love with the God Is a Bullet book. He eventually convinced businessman Sidney Kimmel's company to finance the script.

Shortly after that happened, his daughter was kidnapped in real life, giving him a deeper personal connection to the story he wanted to make into a movie. 

The book includes a main character who is a former cult member, and she eventually shares her experience with being kidnapped before helping the protagonists.

That subject matter hit Cassavetes and made him want to make God Is a Bullet into a film, making it on an $18.5 million budget after being granted a $35 million budget. The experience took them through the cartel areas and dangerous locations in Mexico as filming and development moved forward.

God Is a Bullet is now streaming on Starz, and it is available for purchase digitally.

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- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.