That studio that made Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is now working on an animated movie about the first Christmas

devonfranklinSony Pictures has had some success this year with “faith-based” films such as Moms’ Night Out, When the Game Stands Tall and Heaven Is for Real. Now their animation division is getting in on the action.

The Wrap reports that Sony Pictures Animation — the company responsible for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs and Hotel Transylvania — is teaming up with DeVon Franklin, a preacher and former Sony executive who now heads his own production company, to develop The Lamb, an animated version of the Nativity story featuring “an all-animal cast.”

If the film does get made, it would be only the second Bible-themed animated feature to be made by a major studio, following The Prince of Egypt, which was produced by DreamWorks in 1998 — though the independently-produced Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie also got a wide release in 2002.

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Moms’ Night Out comes to Blu-Ray and DVD

momsnightoutThe kids are back in school today, so it’s kind of fitting that today marks the DVD and Blu-Ray release of Moms’ Night Out, a film about a woman who wants to get away from the kids for a few hours and spend some time with her friends.

Then again, the woman in question has a pro-homeschooling bumper sticker on her minivan, so maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for her to get away from the kids today. Hmmm.

In any case, the film is out on home video, and it comes with a number of bonus features, including an audio commentary by the directors, some deleted scenes, and interviews with the cast, the producer and the directors.

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Newsbites: Clavius! The Dovekeepers! Black Nativity! Book of Amos!

clavius-tomfeltonFour quick Bible-movie-ish items.

1. I somehow missed the fact that Clavius, which concerns a Roman soldier investigating reports of the Resurrection of Jesus, started shooting a couple weeks ago. Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, posted some photos to Instagram — and apparently he’s playing a character named Lucius, which also happened to be the name of Draco Malfoy’s father.

In addition to Felton and Joseph Fiennes, who is playing the presumably titular Roman investigator, the film’s IMDb page lists several actors who are playing well-known Bible characters — and at least two of those actors have extensive experience in the Bible-movie genre already.

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Darren Aronofsky on how the Alberta tar sands influenced the visual look of Noah

aronofsky-dicaprio-bruneeDarren Aronofsky came to Canada last week, along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Sierra Club director Michael Brune, to check out the Athabasca oil sands, a.k.a. the Alberta tar sands. Afterwards he gave a few interviews in which he discussed the environment and how he has dealt with that theme in his work. Among other things, he revealed — for the first time, to my knowledge — that the look of Noah was partly inspired by the tar sands.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings: the Hebrew slaves speak!

exodus-empire-mosesjoshua-a-aThe October issue of Empire magazine is out, and with it, a new article looking at Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. This time the primary interviewees are Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley, who play the Hebrew slaves Joshua and his father Nun — and they reveal a bit more about the role that their characters play in the story, and in shaping the destiny of Moses.

The article also comes with new pictures, including the one to the right, which gives us our first good sense of what the Moses of the Exodus — as opposed to the Moses who is a prince of Egypt — will look like.

The key thing we learn from the article is how the characters Joshua and Nun become a part of Moses’ life in the first place.

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Ridley Scott discusses the “international cast” of Exodus: Gods and Kings in a new interview (plus: new photos!)

exodus-yahoo-3Three months and a few days before it opens in New Zealand, the publicity campaign for Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings continues to step up. The latest example: an interview with Ridley Scott on Yahoo! Australia, accompanied by some brand-new pictures.

In the interview, Scott repeats a few things that he has said before, and it’s kind of hard to resist nitpicking some of his claims. For example, he once again says he wasn’t paying attention in his “religious instruction” classes when he was a boy, and that he had “no idea” how close Moses and Ramses were when they grew up together — but the Bible never says who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was, much less that he was ever close to Moses. Scott also says the story takes place “5000 years ago”, when in actual fact the historical Ramses II reigned just over 3200 years ago.

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