Newsbites: Prodigal! Dreamgirls! Compass!

Time for a few more quirky little blurbs.

1. Ready to see Jesus in a romantic comedy? Variety reports:

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have made a deal for “Prodigal Son,” a romantic comedy that Gigi Levangie Grazer will write with Mimi James. Brian Grazer will produce.

Story revolves around a workaholic single woman who is set up on a date by her mother. Her date, a handsome, kind and caring carpenter who works at Ikea, turns out to be Jesus Christ, who’s returned for Armageddon and settled in contemporary Los Angeles.

Deal was worth high six-figures.

While Christ has been a central character in historical films like “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Nativity,” turning him into a character in a contemporary romantic comedy is new ground for a studio film. It’s also something that has to be done carefully to avoid blasphemy, Gigi Grazer acknowledged.

“It’s a love it or hate it idea, but we’re not aiming to offend,” she said. “He won’t be having sex. It’ll be a disarming romantic comedy, a story of unrequited love, sort of like ‘Splash.'”

Don’t forget, in other upcoming comedies, Jesus picks up a tourist and has a fling with her in the movie The Ten, and he seems to have a descendant in New Jersey in the TV series Church of Steve.

Oh, and controversy over the love life of Jesus is nothing new for Brian Grazer; he produced The Da Vinci Code for Ron Howard.

2. Dreamgirls is getting a lot of Oscar buzz, and much of it revolves around co-star Jennifer Hudson. But now Rod Dreher wonders if she’s blown her chance of picking up an Academy Award, after giving an interview to the Dallas Voice, a gay newspaper, in which the Baptist up-and-comer seems to say homosexuality is a “sin”:

As a Baptist who’s singing at circuit party, has Hudson reconciled her spiritual beliefs and her gay fan base? Does she support same-sex marriage?

“Nobody has ever asked me these questions,” she says.

“Everybody sins,” Hudson continues. “No sin is greater or different than the other. To each his own. If it don’t bother Jennifer, then Jennifer don’t mind. I don’t really even think about it because I don’t believe in judging people for what they do.”

When referencing themselves, lots of divas probably do that schizophrenic thing where they toggle between first and third person. But did Hudson just say that being gay is a sin?

“According to the way we’re taught, and what it says in the Bible — it is,” Hudson says.

If her answers didn’t already sound like fundamentalist clichés, Hudson then added, “I have plenty of gay friends.”

Kind of brings to mind that interview Christian actor Matt Lutz did with The Advocate three years ago.

3. reports that New Line Cinema has unveiled the new official website for The Golden Compass, the film version of which comes out exactly one year from today.

4. Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, report that Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, are in negotiations to direct the adaptation of The Abstinence Teacher, Tom Perrotta’s forthcoming novel about a sex-ed teacher who falls for a born-again soccer coach.

5. Would you believe, Wings of Desire (1987) as a stage play?

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  • WINGS OF DESIRE as a stage play? Wasn’t the movie bad enough?

    OK, cheap shot. But even if I liked it (in fact, especially if I liked it, come to think), I couldn’t see WINGS as a play. Because I think it’s 10 pounds of hokum in a 5-pound pseudo-bag, I could see reconceptualizing it.

    But if I thought it were a masterpiece (and quite a few people I respect do) — the color-BW contrast and shift; the angles; the internal thoughts of the people on the street; the epic sweep of a city. All impossible on the stage.

  • 1) as far as the jennifer hudson quotes, “Huh?”

    i understand her not wanting to place judgment (we shouldn’t) and the leveling of the sins, but still… what’dshejustsay?

    2) i don’t even wanna know about whatever brian grazer’s doing next.

    you think he’s really that clueless about creating controversy and offending people?

    3) i’ve yet to see Wings of Desire (although i’ve had it on loan from netflix since september, of course). and i haven’t seen a lot of plays in productions. but you know what, Victor? it’s pretty nice what they could do with lights and sounds on the stage, even in a limited-budget play.