Hmmm, has The Times plagiarized me?

Greetings to those who are visiting FilmChat via the link at Amy Welborn’s blog! And thanks to “chris K”, who posted a comment to Amy’s blog which links to this article on The Nativity Story from today’s Times of London. Portions of that article sound a tad familiar to me. Compare this bit from The Times

In the film, Mary’s betrothal to Joseph is imposed on her by her parents, and local people are scandalised to hear that she is pregnant. “Two thousand years ago — how similar is that to teenage life now?” Hardwicke said.

… with this bit from my junket report, which went up yesterday:

For example, Mary’s betrothal to Joseph is imposed on her by her parents; and Mary, who feels no love for Joseph, doesn’t know how to respond. And then the townsfolk are scandalized when they learn that Mary is pregnant.

“Two thousand years ago, how similar is that to teenage life now?” asks Hardwicke.

Compare also this other bit from The Times

The director admitted that scenes showing Mary and Elizabeth feeling the movements of the babies in each other’s wombs were “kind of girly. That’s the chick flick part of it.” But she had wanted to get across their “inspiring strength, dignity and beauty”.

… with this bit from my junket report:

Whereas Mel Gibson’s movie was very masculine, Hardwicke’s is more feminine; The Passion of the Christ is full of scenes in which men beat up other men, but The Nativity Story takes time out to show Mary and her kinswoman Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, feeling the movements of the babies in each other’s wombs. “That’s kind of girly, huh?” Hardwicke laughs. “That’s kind of the chick flick part of it.”

She says she wanted to be as true to the material as she could, and not get too distracted by modern debates over the place of women in religion — but if this part of the gospel story happens to cast women in a positive light, then so much the better. “Of course, Mary has inspired women all over the world for two thousand or more years,” says Hardwicke, “so I think that, yes, I wanted to portray them with strength and dignity and beauty and continue inspiring people by these women.”

I don’t mind being quoted; in fact, I like the attention. It’s the utter and complete lack of attribution that irks.

Oh, and this article repeats the claim that “Christian websites in the US and Canada have questioned Castle-Hughes’s ‘suitability’ to play the mother of Christ” without citing a single specific example.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).

  • Anonymous

    Take a look at the byline. I wouldn’t trust reporting by Richard Owen if he wrote that the sky is blue.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    I haven’t a clue who Richard Owen is, but thanks for the tip!

  • SDG

    Considering that you and I, Peter, were two of only four people in the room when Hardwicke gave that interview, I’d say it’s pretty ironclad that Owen has to be plagiarizing someone, and it looks like it’s definitely you. :-)

    BTW, my junket piece hasn’t gone up yet, but will soon.

  • Alan Chattaway

    Clearly you have to contact the Times and demand attribution!