This just in: Pure Flix Entertainment sent out a press release today touting a couple of their upcoming releases, including The Case for Christ (which opens tomorrow) and Same Kind of Different as Me (which opens October 20) — and near the end, they mention that they just started shooting a new “biblical epic” about Samson.
Here is the relevant part of the press release:
In April, Pure Flix began filming the biblical epic SAMSON in South Africa, a dramatic adaptation of a man with supernatural strength who leads his enslaved tribe to victory over the mighty Philistine empire. The film stars Jackson Rathbone, Rutger Hauer, Billy Zane, Lindsay Wagner, Caitlin Leahy and Taylor James as Samson and [is] coming soon to theaters.
That plot summary makes it sound like the film will have a more triumphalistic take on Samson than the Bible does. The biblical Samson is one of the Bible’s biggest screw-ups — flagrantly violating the laws of Moses, allowing his emotions to get the better of him, and failing to recognize that his Philistine lover is trying to trap him — and his story ends with an act of public suicide that kills many Philistines too, but leaves their network of city-states very much in power. (Just ask Saul and David.) And when, exactly, does the biblical Samson “lead” the Israelites? The one time the Bible describes Samson interacting with a large group of Israelites (in Judges 15:11-13), it is because they have decided to capture Samson and hand him over to the Philistines. It’s not like we have stories of Samson leading armies into battle or anything.
Still, I’m curious to see the film itself. Samson is at least the fifth Bible movie that Pure Flix has made, but it will be their first foray into this genre since God’s Not Dead made them a whole whack of money three years ago. So I assume it will have more resources at its disposal than their films about Ruth, Esther and Daniel did. (The only Bible film of theirs that I have seen so far is Apostle Peter and the Last Supper.)
The only actor mentioned in the press release who has any previous experience in this genre, as far as I can tell, is Billy Zane, who starred in the 2012 version of Barabbas. Lindsay Wagner (a.k.a. The Bionic Woman) also has at least one “faith-based” film under her belt, having played Billy Graham’s mother in Billy: The Early Years.
Samson does not seem to have an IMDb page yet, but a few of the film’s co-stars have been posting behind-the-scenes pics to their Instagram accounts.
Jackson Rathbone posted a couple photos of himself with battle-scar makeup:
Hmmm. I wonder if Samson will be using any of that show’s props or costumes?
Finally, here are a few other recent Instagram pics that may be relevant:
— Note: this blog post was substantially expanded one day after it was first posted.