Newsbites: The ancient and/or biblical edition!

1. Brett Ratner isn’t the only director working on a movie about Hercules. Renny Harlin, whose credits include Die Hard 2 (1990) and Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), plans to start shooting Hercules 3D three months from now, and to release the film in March 2014 — or about five months before Ratner’s film. Harlin says his film will be “not a comic book, cartoony fantasy thing. It’s closer to Gladiator than flying horses.” Interestingly, Ratner himself was once attached to the film that Harlin is now directing. — Hollywood Reporter

2. After several years of hiccups and delays, Kasi Lemmons’ adaptation of the musical Black Nativity is finally in production. Fox Searchlight issued a press release last week to announce that cameras were rolling — or whatever cameras do in this increasingly digital era — and it also confirmed an earlier report that Tyrese Gibson has joined the cast, though it did not say who his character will be. —,

3. Paul W.S. Anderson, the filmmaker responsible for the Resident Evil series (2002-2012) and various other video-game movies, has recently begun branching into more historical subject matter, albeit with the same high-tech action-whiz aesthetic he brings to his other films; you should see the way he snuck the 17th-century equivalent of a laser security grid into his version of The Three Musketeers (2011). His latest project is Pompeii, a 3D movie about the city that was buried under ash and pumice when Mt Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 — and since the film will rely very heavily on visual effects, there will be no need for extensive location shooting. Instead, when the film starts shooting in April, it will be made in Toronto. —

4. The producers of The Bible, the ten-hour mini-series that airs on the History Channel next month, have released a newer and slightly longer featurette highlighting some of the stories contained within that series:

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).