Sony, LaHaye to produce The Resurrection

Sony, the studio behind the ultra-controversial feature film The Da Vinci Code and the straight-to-video Left Behind III: World at War, is now developing a feature film entitled The Resurrection, says the Hollywood Reporter, as relayed by Reuters:

Using the Bible for its source material, “Resurrection” will tell the story of Jesus Christ beginning the day he died on the cross and ending about 40 days later with his ascension into heaven.

According to insiders, Sony’s mid-budget Screen Gems division commissioned a script several months ago from Lionel Chetwynd, the veteran screenwriter, producer and director whose credits include the feature “The Hanoi Hilton” and the Emmy-nominated TV movie “Ike: Countdown to D-Day.”

Set to produce is Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling “Left Behind” series of books. A popular minister and frequent TV news pundit, “Resurrection” will mark LaHaye’s first foray into mainstream filmmaking. . . .

“‘The Passion‘ ends with Jesus being taken from the cross, and ‘The Resurrection’ opens with the empty cross,” a person familiar with the script said.

According to the Bible, women who visited the tomb of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion found it empty, and his disciples and other acquaintances, including Mary Magdalene, encountered him postresurrection on various occasions during a 40-day period.

The film will focus on these dramatic encounters and their implications for the Roman garrison in Judea and the broader Roman Empire, insiders said.

“This is not a fanciful rendering. It’s a serious attempt to understand the Roman world in which Christ moved and the Christian era was born,” a person familiar with the project said.

FWIW, Screen Gems is the Sony subsidiary that specializes in horror films and, lately, in not showing films to critics in advance; their biggest hit to date is The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which was directed by Scott Derrickson, a practising Christian.

Also, Lionel Chetwynd‘s credits include Joseph (1995) and Moses (1996), easily the two best films in ‘The Bible Collection‘.

I am, of course, intrigued by all of this, but needless to say, the involvement of LaHaye — who, incidentally, disowned the Left Behind movies and sued their producers (unsuccessfully) because the films weren’t as mainstream or big-budget as he would have liked — lowers my expectations considerably.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11340006144797496514 RC

    This is very intersting…i don’t think that I knew that Derrickson was an evangelical Christian…that’s interesting.

    Also…I think it’s interesting Sony would do this project, but then again…why not? They’re thinking ‘we can make mediocre movies about Jesus and market them to the church and they’ll come!”

    but then again, this might be good??? I know I’m very hopeful for Nativity this december.

    –RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08741378159534413277 Magnus

    Sue the producers because your work wasn’t a big enough of a commercial sell-out and didn’t rake in the box office receipts you had hoped for… yeah, that’s what Jesus died for. Everyone knows that the founding principles of the Christian Faith is money, money, money and gettin’ yours while the gettin’ is good. It says so in the Gospels, right around the part where Jesus blesses the money lenders in the Temple.

  • Bob

    I’m not surprised by this development, nor am I surprised that someone like LaHaye is involved. While The Passion was very popular by many (evangelical) Protestants, I think a number felt that it didn’t tell the “whole story,” since it portrayed very little of the resurrection. For these same people, Good Friday is just another Friday, and Lent is referred to as the “Easter season.” In otherwords, down play the Passion, emphasize the Resurrection, which strikes me as somewhat gnostic. This is a trend that one sees in many films about Jesus (with Gibson’s Passion as a notable exception), where the Passion is portayed in a rather painless and bloodless manner, and the scenes of resurrection are usually accompanied by the Alleluia Chorus…

  • Pingback: Multiple movies about the Resurrection still in development


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