The next Pharaoh… will come from Vancouver

avanjogiaWe have a King Tut! The Hollywood Reporter says Avan Jogia, a 22-year-old born in my native Vancouver, has been cast as the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, who died when he was about 18, in the Spike TV miniseries Tut. He joins the previously announced Ben Kingsley, who will play Tutankhamun’s grand vizier. Interestingly, both of these actors are half-British and half-Indian — and Reece Ritchie, who played the Pharaoh in the recently cancelled Hieroglyph, is a half-English, half-South African actor who has often played Indian characters himself, in films and TV shows like The Lovely Bones, All in Good Time and White Heat. Apparently the casting agents on these shows want to move away from the Caucasian casting that has proved so controversial on films like Exodus: Gods and Kings (coming December 12) and Gods of Egypt (coming in 2016), but they also aren’t inclined to follow the Afrocentrist line which holds that just because Egypt is on the African continent, it therefore follows that the ancient Egyptians must have been just as dark-skinned as the Nubians or Ethiopians, etc. The solution, it seems, has been to cast actors who fall somewhere between the two extremes, pigmentation-wise.

Noah gets an infographic and an Ark-building app

noah-appNoah may have come out on DVD last week, and it may have come to digital streaming two weeks before that, but that doesn’t mean the promotional efforts around this film have come to an end. Today Paramount sent out an e-mail with links to two new tie-ins: an infographic with animated GIFs and brief excerpts from the Blu-Ray’s making-of featurettes, and a ‘Noah Ark Builder App’ which is basically a matching game that allows you to collect food, build the Ark, and load the animals. (It may or may not allow you to do more than that, but I haven’t made it past that level yet.) The app includes tiny clips from the film and bits of the score by Clint Mansell.

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Shakespeare and Draco Malfoy go looking for the body of Jesus in Clavius (formerly known as Resurrection)

josephfiennesJoseph Fiennes — best known perhaps for playing the title character in Shakespeare in Love — has been cast as an agnostic Roman centurion who goes looking for the body of Jesus in a film called Clavius. Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, has also been cast in the film in an unspecified role.

Clavius is one of a number of films that were first put into development in the years following The Passion of the Christ — and like, say, Christ the Lord, it is only now going into production after years of rewrites and moving from one company to another, etc., etc.

It all began in 2007, when Hyde Park hired Paul Aiello to write Risen: The Story of the First Easter. Then, in 2013, LD Entertainment hired Kevin Reynolds to rewrite the film with Karen Janszen and direct it under the title Resurrection. And now, according to Deadline, Reynolds is going to start shooting the film in Malta and Spain this month, aiming for an Easter 2015 release date.

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He’s Pharaoh! He’s Moses! He’s somebody else entirely! Ben Kingsley talks Exodus, appears in Night at the Museum trailer

vlcsnap-2014-07-31-22h09m42s196Two movies. Same studio. Coming out only a week apart. Both of them have something to do with ancient Egypt. And both of them star Ben Kingsley in a prominent supporting role.

One of those movies is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third in the series about a bunch of museum exhibits that come to life at night. The series already has a Pharaoh — Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), who appears in all three films — but Kingsley joins the series as yet another Pharaoh in this newest film.

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Noah on Blu-Ray: some quick notes on the bonus features

noah-target-aThe Noah Blu-Ray is here — and with it, a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff that we have never seen before. Here are some quick notes on the bonus features.

First, a reminder that different editions of the film come with different bonus features.

As far as I know, seven bonus features have been released one way or another so far, and all of them are available on the “exclusive” Target edition of the Blu-Ray. (The bilingual packaging on the disc I bought here in Canada listed only six bonus features, but the actual disc had all seven.) But only three of them are available on the Blu-Ray that is available everywhere else.

Also, three bonus features are apparently included if you purchase the film directly from iTunes (if you use iTunes to get the free “digital copy” that comes with your disc, you won’t get any bonus features, just the film), but one of the iTunes bonus features is actually from the Target disc and not from the regular Blu-Ray.

Confused yet? I’ll try to sort it all out below.

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The Bible and Son of God: just how different are they?

sonofgod-bluray-aIf you’re the sort of person who has wondered just how much overlap there was between The Bible and its big-screen spin-off Son of God, have I got the spreadsheet for you!

It’s still a work in progress, but for now, anyone who is interested can download it from this Dropbox link. The basic idea is this: in one column, I list the timecodes for every scene from the last five episodes of The Bible (with the episode number where the hour would be), and in another, I list the timecodes for every scene in Son of God.

The advantages of this format are twofold: First, you can compare the relative lengths of the two versions of any given scene; more often than not, the movie tightened things up a tad, but every now and then the movie padded things out by adding elements that were missing from the miniseries. And second, because the movie added some scenes, deleted some scenes, and rearranged some other scenes, you can select either column and list all the scenes from one version of the film in the order in which they appeared in that version.

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