Our first look at Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus in Ben-Hur

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Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of Ben-Hur is now nearing the end of its second week of production, and the unofficial photos keep on coming. Last week we had pictures of Judah Ben-Hur, his girlfriend Esther and possibly one of the rebels who ends up crucified next to Jesus. This week’s batch includes our first pictures of Jesus himself, as played by Rodrigo Santoro. You can check ’em all out at the Daily Mail.

Watch: The Newsboys believe in new A.D. trailer

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The two biggest “Christian movies” at the box office last year were God’s Not Dead, which was named after a song by the Newsboys, and Son of God, which consisted almost entirely of footage from the History Channel miniseries The Bible.

So it makes sense that one of the ads for the follow-up to The Bible — an NBC series called A.D.: The Bible Continues — would mix footage from the new series with footage from a Newsboys music video. Check it out below the jump.

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The Story of Judas premieres at the Berlinale

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Now here’s one I didn’t see coming. Only two weeks after Last Days in the Desert premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, here comes another unusual arthouse take on the gospels — this time from the point of view of Judas Iscariot.

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A.D. will cover only part of the book of Acts.

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Last year, producer Mark Burnett gave every indication that A.D.: The Bible Continues would cover the entire book of Acts and then some. He told one interviewer that the series would tell “the story of the first 40 years after the crucifixion.” (Acts itself covers only the first 30 years or so.) He told another that he and his team “planned to get to [the year] 70 as the temple falls”. (Acts itself comes to an end circa AD 62.)

And then, he said, he hoped the series would be renewed for several more years, until it reached the death of the emperor Constantine in AD 337. But lately there have been signs that the series will be much more limited in scope — at least for now.

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Who’s holding the bow & arrow in these new Ben-Hur pics?

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Filming on the new version of Ben-Hur began in Italy last Monday, and pictures from the set have begun to pop up. The Gazzetta Del Sud has a rather low-res photo of extras in costume standing outdoors in Matera — a town that has been featured in a number of Bible movies going back to The Gospel According to St. Matthew — and now the Daily Mail has pictures of a few of the movie’s stars in character.

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Watch: A new ILM video on the visual effects of Noah

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Noah wasn’t nominated for any Oscars, but it was nominated for a Visual Effects Society award — and since the winners of those awards are being announced tonight, it might not be coincidence that Industrial Light & Magic released a three-minute video yesterday showcasing some of the work that they did on this film.

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