Why are some Bible stories turned into movies more often than others?


My friend Matt Page is starting a series of posts over at the Bible Films Blog on the question of canonicity and Bible films. Among other things, he asks: Is there a “canon” of Bible films, independent of the biblical canon itself? And is there a reason why certain biblical stories get filmed again and again while others go ignored?

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The life of Isaac, son of Abraham: a movie treatment


They say middle children are often ignored, compared to the ones who came before and after them. The same could be said of middle patriarchs, too.

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Laurence Fishburne to play Melchizedek in The Alchemist?

laurencefishburneI’ve been doing a lot of research into films based on the book of Genesis lately, so I was intrigued to hear, via The Tracking Board, that Laurence Fishburne may play Melchizedek in an adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, which Fishburne himself is slated to direct.

I haven’t read the book, which concerns a Spanish shepherd who goes to Egypt, so I have no idea how closely the book’s Melchizedek corresponds to the Melchizedek of the Bible. But Wikipedia says the book’s Melchizedek is “the king of Salem”, which fits. It also says he gives the book’s protagonist “the magical stones Urim and Thummim” and that he wears “a gold breastplate encrusted with precious stones” — both of which sound like something we would normally associate with the Israelite priesthood, which didn’t exist until long after the biblical Melchizedek’s time.

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Noah interview round-up: co-writer Ari Handel

Two weeks ago, I posted a collection of interviews with Noah director Darren Aronofsky, and I have updated that post with new interview clips ever since. But in the meantime — especially as Aronofsky has gone overseas to promote the film — there have also been a number of interviews with his co-writer Ari Handel. So I figured I should start a post to collect those, too.

I interviewed Aronofsky and Handel together myself back in February, and I linked to a more recent interview with Handel in my post on the infamous snakeskin.

Handel was also featured prominently in a “faith leaders” video that I posted a couple weeks ago, and I have previously linked to interviews that he has done with Hollywood Jesus and Hugh Hewitt. See also the interviews that Handel and Aronofsky did together to promote the Noah graphic novel here, here and here.

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Exclusive: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel on how they developed the script and where they really got the name for Emma Watson’s character in Noah

My interviews with Darren Aronofsky: 1998 | 2014 pt 1 | 2014 pt 3 | 2014 pt 4

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of seeing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and speaking to both Aronofsky and his co-writer/co-producer Ari Handel immediately after the screening. The following is part two of our conversation. You can read part one here. The film comes out Thursday night.

I’ve heard multiple times about the poem that you wrote, was that high school or is that late elementary, or–?

Darren Aronofsky: That was seventh grade, so I was like 12, 13, probably.

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Bible movie of the week: The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966)

The title speaks of beginnings, but the film itself marked the end of an era. The post-war Bible-movie craze — which began with Samson and Delilah (1949) and arguably peaked with Ben-Hur (1959) and its record 11 Academy Awards — petered out over the next several years, and The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966) was pretty much the last major Bible film to be produced by a Hollywood studio for the next couple of decades.

The problem was not that the film was a flop, per se, but that it cost so much to make. Reliable box-office figures are harder to find, the further back you go in time, but according to Wikipedia, at least, The Bible was the top-grossing film of 1966, with a domestic gross of $34 million. Then again, roughly half of that money would have stayed with the theatres, and the film is said to have cost as much as $18 million — and that probably doesn’t count the cost of prints and advertising. So whether the film made its money back would seem to depend on how well it performed overseas.

In any case, I recently revisited this film and noticed a few things that I thought were worth noting here. (See also my recent post on Abraham and the Three Visitors, which discusses one scene from this film that I don’t get into here.)

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