Time for another batch of quickies.
2. Variety reports that Wolverine has been postponed — again — to May 2009, and it has a newer, longer title: X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hmmm, do you think they’re gonna make any other “origin” movies featuring characters from this series? Liev Schreiber is in talks to play a younger version of William Stryker, the villain played by Brian Cox in X2: X-Men United (2003).
While Rowling said that “Hogwarts is a multifaith school,” these quotes, of course, are distinctly Christian. The second is a direct quote of Jesus from Matthew 6:19, the first from 1 Corinthians 15:26. As Hermione tells Harry shortly after he sees the graves, his parents’ message means “living beyond death. Living after death.” It is one of the central foundations of resurrection theology.
Which makes it a perfect fit for Harry, said Rowling, who was talking about those quotes for the very first time.
“They’re very British books, so on a very practical note Harry was going to find biblical quotations on tombstones,” Rowling explained. “[But] I think those two particular quotations he finds on the tombstones at Godric’s Hollow, they sum up — they almost epitomize the whole series.” . . .
“Deathly Hallows” itself begins with two religiously themed epigraphs, one from “The Libation Bearers” by Aeschylus, which calls on the gods to “bless the children”; and one from William Penn’s “More Fruits of Solitude,” which speaks of death as but “crossing the world, as friends do the seas.” No other book in the series begins with epigraphs — a curious fact, perhaps, but one that Rowling insists served as a guiding light.
“I really enjoyed choosing those two quotations because one is pagan, of course, and one is from a Christian tradition,” Rowling said of their inclusion. “I’d known it was going to be those two passages since ‘Chamber’ was published. I always knew [that] if I could use them at the beginning of book seven then I’d cued up the ending perfectly. If they were relevant, then I went where I needed to go.
“They just say it all to me, they really do,” she added.
But while the book begins with a quote on the immortal soul — and though Harry finds peace with his own death at the end of his journey — it is the struggle itself which mirrors Rowling’s own, the author said.
“The truth is that, like Graham Greene, my faith is sometimes that my faith will return. It’s something I struggle with a lot,” she revealed. “On any given moment if you asked me [if] I believe in life after death, I think if you polled me regularly through the week, I think I would come down on the side of yes — that I do believe in life after death. [But] it’s something that I wrestle with a lot. It preoccupies me a lot, and I think that’s very obvious within the books.” . . .
For her part, Rowling said she’s proud to be on numerous banned-book lists. As for the protests of some believers? Well, she doesn’t take them as gospel.
“I go to church myself,” she declared. “I don’t take any responsibility for the lunatic fringes of my own religion.” . . .
John Granger comments on this story at HogwartsProfessor.com.
“The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian” . . . follows the events before “Scorpion,” the 2002 summer hit that starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Mathayus, the fearsome warrior king of an ancient desert empire.
Huh? It follows the events before the other film?
5. The Hollywood Reporter says Lionsgate, an indie studio that may be best known for the Saw franchise (2004-2007), has struck a deal with the Indelible Creative Group — and this is not the first faith-based content provider to strike a deal with the studio:
Earlier this year, Lionsgate forged a partnership with Thomas Nelson Inc., making the publisher of Christian books the exclusive distributor of Lionsgate DVDs in the retail market.
Lionsgate has also previously acquired North American documentary DVD rights to three works based on the writings of Christian author Lee Strobel, including last month’s DVD release, “The Case For Christ.”
Lionsgate’s other forays into faith-based films includes the upcoming theatrical release, “Church Boy,” based on the true story of gospel star Kirk Franklin, and a feature adaptation of the Thomas Kinkade painting called “The Christmas Cottage.”
Gopnik says that on these commentaries, the conflict between the miserable director’s doomed grasp for art and the studio head’s yowl for profit is often a more interesting drama than the one contained in the movie you’re watching.
For instance. Gopnik lists in withering, hilarious detail all of the detail the director Allen Coulter breathlessly trumpets on the DVD commentary of the so-so drama “Hollywoodland,” about the suicide of a guy who played Superman on TV in the 1950s (”I was thinking about the Japanese Noh theatre, which begins with the clacking on the side of a drum,” Coulter says of the movie’s ordinary opening shot). The movie stars Ben Affleck as George Reeves, the depressed actor who played Superman in saggy tights and either killed himself or was murdered; his story, in flashback, is intercut with that of a detective on the case, Adrien Brody. The major problem with the movie is we don’t care about anything Brody’s uninteresting stock character does; we just want to get back to the main story, which is only half the movie. Gopnik calls the overall effect “unbelievably dull” and goes on to mock Coulter’s revelation that he drew up a “flow chart of gum-chewing, marking the dramatic trajectory on which the Brody character does and does not chew gum, and thereby revealing his moral growth.”
I am not sure whether that last quote comes from Gopnik or from Coulter himself. I would love it if it came from Coulter, though.