Adam and Eve break up, move to New York

As Legendary Pictures continues to develop its adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost — which depicts the creation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden — another studio is asking itself, “Hmmm, what if Adam and Eve were to walk among us today?” Reports Variety:

Disney has made a preemptive six-figure purchase of “All About Adam,” a spec script by Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons. Scott Rudin will produce the project.

Spec follows the biblical Adam as he trails Eve to modern-day Gotham after they have a lover’s quarrel. Adam discovers Satan was behind the breakup.

I fully expect this movie to make a really bad pun about “the Big Apple” — not least because the title indicates that these filmmakers like to play on words and common phrases. (The title alludes to All About Eve (1950), the classic Bette Davis flick which set the record for most Oscar nominations ever for a single movie, and which had nothing to do with the biblical characters.)

Just in time for Martin Scorsese’s Silence…

The Associated Press reports:

Pope Benedict . . . also approved martyrdom Friday for 188 Japanese who were decapitated, burned at the stake or scalded to death in volcanic hot springs in the early 1700s. Among them was a Jesuit priest, Peter Kibe, a convert to Christianity whose work as a missionary was opposed by authorities.

He and the other Japanese died for refusing to renounce their faith. . . .

Being declared a martyr, which means the men died for the church, eliminates the requirement of a miracle to be beatified. However, after beatification, martyrs need to have a miracle confirmed if they are to become saints.

German time-traveler videotapes Jesus?

Okay, why have I never heard of this before. I was searching for info on something else tonight when I stumbled across Das Jesus Video (2002), a German mini-series that was released in North America last year under the title Ancient Relic. Apparently it is based on a novel by Andreas Eschbach about “An archaeologist [who] discovers an ancient skeleton and items that indicate it may have been a time traveler who visited Palestine and recorded images of Christ.” And apparently Jesus is played in the film by someone named Mohamed Aytor, who has no other credits at the IMDb. And apparently the film is rated R for violence. It sounds like this could be really cheesy, but I think I want to see it.

Movie studios can be nice to Canada again.

The Canadian government has heard the movie studios’ cry, and is prepared to wreak vengeance upon people who pirate movies (including, I presume, people who pirate movies that glamorize pirates… but I digress). Reports the Canadian Press:

Stephen Harper found a fitting moment to announce his plan to crack down on film piracy: while sitting in his office with a bad-guy-busting ex-action hero who’s now governor of the world’s movie capital.

The Prime Minister made the pledge to Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday after the California governor arrived on Parliament Hill under the kind of security usually reserved for the head of a G8 country.

Sources on both sides of the border said Mr. Harper raised the issue and one U.S. official said Mr. Schwarzenegger was pleased to hear Canada address a problem plaguing his state’s film industry.

“We think it’s a good first step,” said one American official.

The government said it will introduce legislation that helps police charge people who use camcorders in theatres to tape movies, which are later distributed on the Internet or sold as DVDs.

Sources said the Criminal Code already has stiff penalties for distributing unauthorized material, but does not currently contain specific measures against taping movies.

The Criminal Code will be amended to make it illegal to tape in theatres, they said. . . .

Now if only they would make it a federal crime to use cell phones in movie theatres, too.

MAY 31 UPDATE: Variety also has a story on this.

a couple of quick Bible movie updates

Empire Online has an update on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah movie:

“It’s an adaptation of Noah’s Ark,” he exclusively reveals to Empire Online, “and I’m pretty much done with the script.” But it’s not, he insists, to be confused with the upcoming Evan Almighty. “This is not a comedy. It’s funny, because Noah’s always been done as a comedy. This is definitely more the sci-fi version. It’s the traditional Noah story, but it’s told in a serious way. More fantasy than comedy.”

Don’t hold your breath, though – sounds like Noah won’t be going before the cameras for quite some time. Says Aronofsky: “I’m probably going to do something smaller first.”

Meanwhile, Variety reports:

A metaphysical science fiction, a meta-Bollywood comedy and an animated feature about Jesus are among the new projects announced through regional German funder MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg. . . .

The animated life of Jesus from the perspective of his companions Paul, Judas and Mary Magdalene will be drafted by Andreas Hykade, who also received MFG support for a TV kids series.

“His companion . . . Paul”? Either someone got the name wrong, or the makers of this cartoon plan to get really creative. Paul (who also went by the name Saul), you may recall, is not mentioned in the Gospels at all — and when he does come up, several chapters into the Book of Acts, he starts out as an enemy of the Church.

UPDATE: I did some Googling on Hykade, and it turns out he’s been developing his Jesus film for a while — and we can definitely expect it to be “creative”! Four years ago, this was written about him in conjunction with the Student Animation Festival of Ottawa:

If there was ever an artist to inject some raw relevant fire back into animation it’s German animator, Andreas Hykade. He’s made only three independent films; two of them, We Lived in Grass (1995) and Ring of Fire (2000) have won wide international acclaim including Grand Prizes in Ottawa. Both are startlingly mature films that seek light within the darkness of desire, lust and love. Hykadeis equal parts Nick Tosches and Jerry Lee Lewis, a fiery poet who wrestleswith sin and salvation and the profound and profane. Along the way, Hykade takes us through the violent, chaotic horrors of the soul in order to find the serenity of the stars. This retrospective will feature Hykade’s independent work along with his hefty body of commissioned work including commercials, kids’ films (Tom), a multimedia show for Expo 2000, and animation for music videos (Zehn Kleine Jaegermeister for the band Toten Hosen and Blablabla for Gigi D’agostino).

Andreas Hykade, who is currently at work on a feature film called Jesus (yes, that Jesus), will be in attendance at the festival to introduce the screenings and discuss his work.

In 2004, he designed the poster for the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which said he was “currently developing Jesus (an animated feature-length film) with Martina Döcker and GAMBIT.” In that same year, animation expert John Canemaker wrote an article on Hykade that appeared in Print magazine:

Welcome to Andreas Hykade’s Bavarian nightmares of stick-figure rapists and a cartoonish crucifixion. Take that, Mel Gibson!
By John Canemaker

And finally, Wikipedia tells us:

At present, Hykade is working at his first feature-length film. During a live talk at the Bradford Animation Festival on November 17, 2006, he revealed that the film would revolve around the life of Jesus. Hykade did not reveal exactly how he would treat the project, but mentioned his admiration for the films Life of Brian, The Last Temptation of Christ and Jesus Christ Superstar.

So make of all that what you will!

JUNE 1 UPDATE: Matt Page digs up a bit more info on Hykade.

Gotta be careful what you say at the airport.

This story is over a month old now, but it’s still funny — in a scary kind of way:

Director Mike Figgis spent longer at LAX airport than intended. He’d arrived in Los Angeles, along with half the acting and directing world, for what is known as ‘pilot season’, when the big studios try out new scripts, directors and actors in a two-week frenzy of auditions and career make-or-breaks. When Figgis was being grilled by airport immigration, he was asked the purpose of his visit. Unthinking and tired after a long flight, Mike replied: ‘I’m here to shoot a pilot.’ After five hours in an interrogation cell (yes, really), he finally made it into town.

You would hope that airport and immigration staff in Los Angeles, of all places, would not need too much education in the ways of the entertainment business. But you never know.

JUNE 5 UPDATE: It turns out virtually every detail of this story is wrong. The Huffington Post passes on this e-mail from Figgis:

the story is a complete exageration of something I said in an interview, namely…I was being questioned in toronto airport by the US immigration officer who said “purpose of your visit?” and I was about to reply “I’m here to shoot a pilot” when I thought better of it and said

“I’m here to film the 1st episode of a potential series for Fox/Sony”

This was exactly as I said it to the journalist and the next I knew of it was phone calls wishing me deepest sympathies etc and the venue had moved to LAX and I had been arrested etc etc.

I’ve had distortion before in interviews but never fiction. If it had been true it would have been a good story – sorry to dissappoint All the best – mike figgis

Now that Figgis mentions it, I wonder if I should have sensed something was amiss the moment I heard this story. I have flown to Los Angeles from Vancouver several times in the past few years, and whether I’m coming or going, I always go through customs & immigration in the Canadian airport, rather than the American one. When I first read this story, I did not know where Figgis was arriving from, but it would not surprise me if similar arrangements existed with airports in other countries.

The really funny part is that the original Guardian story used the words “yes, really” at the most explicitly fictional part of the original story, i.e. the bit about the interrogation cell.