IGN.com has posted a “script review” of Nativity — the upcoming movie about Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, written by Mike Rich, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and starring Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Elizabeth.
The film is currently being shot in Matera, Italy — the very same region where Mel Gibson shot The Passion of the Christ (2004) and Pier Paolo Pasolini shot The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964). Next month, the production moves to Morocco.
Shaun Toub, last seen in Crash (2004), has been cast as Mary’s father Joachim, or Joaquim. No word yet on who is playing Mary’s mother, Anna — or whether the film will follow the Orthodox, Catholic, or later Protestant traditions regarding the relationship between Joseph, Mary and the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus.
Among other things, the script reviewer comments:
As someone who was raised Catholic, I found Nativity to be a reverent recounting of the biblical story that also added an insightful socio-political dimension to the world Mary would have been brought up in. The most striking thing about Mary’s story is that she never gets to choose her own path. Her future is dictated by everyone else; her father tells her she will marry Joseph, and it’s not like God asked Mary for permission before the Immaculate Conception [sic]. Mary’s future is simply thrust upon her and she bears her burden with dignity, faith and fortitude.
Obviously, this story, unlike a more conventional narrative, can’t have Mary rejecting her call only to rise to the occasion later. Her path is pretty straightforward. I can’t help but note that even Jesus had a moment of doubt in the garden of Gethsemane but not Mary. She gets nervous and confused but never truly wavers.
Joseph generates a great measure of sympathy. He is a blue collar laborer who, like Mary, is called upon by God to take part in something greater than himself. Joseph is a man that hasn’t asked for much out of life and will do what he must to provide for his family. You can’t help but feel that this everyman got a whole lot more than he ever bargained for.
As ever, this sounds very, very interesting.