Newsbites: Mary Magdalene! Paul, Apostle of Christ! Aardvark!

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While I’m catching up on upcoming-Bible-movie news, here are three more items that have come up in recent weeks but had not yet been mentioned at this blog.

1. Rooney Mara spoke to Yahoo! about some of her upcoming movies, including Mary Magdalene:

You recently finished shooting Mary Magdalene with Garth Davis and Joaquin Phoenix. What was that experience like?
It was a long shoot — or felt like a long shoot, anyway. We were in a foreign country and out in the mountains all day — no bathrooms, no nothing — with Jesus and the disciples. You’re just like, “Where am I? What’s happening?” It was really challenging, and also really beautiful experience. I don’t know what the film will be. It’s very feminist, I hope. It felt like that when we were making it, so I hope that comes through. It also doesn’t feel like a religious film to me. It’s hopefully a spiritual film, but we didn’t make a religious film per se.

Do you anticipate any controversy when the film opens? It won’t be unlike Una in that way — both films are going to provoke a reaction.
Yeah, I am, but I’m not scared of it. That’s a debate that I’m happy to be a part of, as opposed to the other one we were just talking about [i.e. the accusation that it was “whitewashing” for her to play Tiger Lily in Pan]. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of that debate, but I feel like with this it’s different. It’ll be good controversy. Especially a subject as controversial as religion that is so engrained in every part of society.

Mary Magdalene is currently scheduled to come out on March 30, i.e. Good Friday of next year, but that plan might be up in the air now, as the film’s distributor — The Weinstein Company — is currently swamped by allegations that its executives and employees both enabled and profited from Harvey Weinstein’s sexually predatory ways.

2. Speaking of Easter releases next year, Paul, Apostle of Christ — starring Jim Caviezel as Luke — is now set to come out Wednesday, March 28, two days before Good Friday and four days before Easter. (That’s referring to the Catholic-Protestant Easter, natch; the Orthodox churches will celebrate it the following week next year.)

3. More voice actors have joined The Ark and the Aardvark, including Aubrey Plaza (as Brain the Spider), Jenny Slate (Mitzi the narcoleptic Ostrich), Craig Robinson (the mansplaining Bullfrog), Rob Riggle (Todd the elephant) and Stephen Merchant (wise old Croc). The makers of the film, directed by Kung Fu Panda’s John Stevenson, had already revealed that Miles Teller is voicing the aardvark, whose name is Gilbert.

— The photo at the top of this post shows Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in Pan.

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