And now for a few smaller items.
1. Ben Cross, who played the Jewish athlete Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire (1981), has been tapped to play Spock’s father Sarek in Star Trek XI. Mark Lenard, who played the character in three TV episodes and three movies, was 42 when the original series began, and less than 7 years older than Leonard Nimoy, who played his son; Cross turns 60 in a few weeks, and is thus 30 years older than Zachary Quinto, who is now playing the young Spock. Matters are complicated further, though, by the fact that Vulcans can live for two centuries or more; Sarek himself was 103 when Lenard first played him during the original series. — StarTrek.com
2. Producer Brian Grazer wants Angels & Demons, the sequel or prequel to The Da Vinci Code (2006), to be “less reverential” than its predecessor. Well, that only makes sense, I guess, since the book did give me a good laugh or two. Then again, weren’t some audiences already tittering during The Da Vinci Code as it was? — New York Times
3. The Aquarian Gospel will not only take a peek at the so-called “missing years” of Jesus’ adolescence and early adulthood — it will also be “a fantasy action adventure account of Jesus’s life with the three wise men as his mentors”! And although “the producers say the film will feature a ‘young and beautiful’ princess, it is not clear whether Jesus is to have a love interest.” And it will be “shot using actors and computer animation like 300“. This has the makings of a really tacky camp classic. — Guardian, Bible Films Blog
4. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has given one of her most interesting — and most spiritually-inclined — interviews yet, to a Dutch newspaper. A translation is available at The Leaky Cauldron. It covers many bases, but the bits about her beliefs and upbringing are rather interesting. — HogwartsProfessor.com
5. Shantaram is the latest film to have its plug pulled thanks to the writers’ strike. When I mentioned it here two years ago, it was going to be directed by Peter Weir; now, the thwarted director is Mira Nair. One constant, though, has been star Johnny Depp, who was attached to the film under both directors. Whether he will still be around when all the strikes are over, and whether the film will ever get made, who knows. — Variety