Watch: Actors and filmmakers discuss the themes of Killing Jesus, and the challenges of making it, in new videos

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Killing Jesus, which had its world premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival two weeks ago, is getting a red-carpet premiere in New York City on Monday and will air on the National Geographic Channel the following Sunday. As the airdate nears, the channel has released a steady stream of videos on YouTube, featuring interviews with the filmmakers and new clips from the film. Check ’em all out below the jump.

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Killing Jesus round-up: new photos, new interviews, and rumours of a swimsuit competition with the cast of A.D.

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Killing Jesus — the National Geographic Channel adaptation of the book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard — had its world premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Idaho last Saturday. I’ll have more to say about that in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a quick roundup of some of the stories about this film that have appeared over the last few weeks on other blogs and websites.

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Watch: Peter leaves his daughter in the first trailer for A.D.

vlcsnap-2014-11-26-13h42m52s105The first trailer for A.D., the semi-sequel, semi-reboot of The Bible, is here, and it delivers about what you’d expect: a replay of the events that were covered in the last two episodes of The Bible, violence between Romans and Jews, and so on.

It also hints at one story element that I don’t think I’ve seen in a Bible movie before: namely, a subplot in which Peter worries about his daughter, who likewise worries about him. A few films have acknowledged the brief reference in the gospels to Peter’s mother-in-law. But I can’t think of any that have mentioned Peter’s daughter, who comes not from the gospels but from later legends. So, it will be interesting to see what the new series does with that.

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Al Pacino taking his Salome movies to the UK in September

A film that I’ve been waiting almost a decade to see… is going to be screened in England later this year.

The first time I wrote about Al Pacino’s plan to make a movie about Oscar Wilde’s Salome — mixing behind-the-scenes footage with dramatized sections of the play — was in April 2006, only a year or so after I started this blog. At the time, the film was going to be called Salomaybe?, and it was set to star Pacino as King Herod, Kevin Anderson as John the Baptist and Jessica Chastain as Salome. (This was five years before The Tree of Life and The Help put her on the map.)

Then, in March 2007, the film was in post-production.

Then, in February 2009… the film was still in post-production.

Shortly after that, I went on a bit of a blogging hiatus that lasted about three years, until I joined Patheos in 2012. But apparently the film was eventually finished and it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011, under a new title: Wilde Salomé.

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Bible movie of the week: The Big Fisherman (1959)

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post on The Big Fisherman (1959), one of the more obscure Bible movies ever released by a major Hollywood studio.

As far as I know, the film, which was originally distributed by Walt Disney’s Buena Vista division, has never been officially released to home video, at least not in North America. But I had read a bit about it in books on the history of Jesus movies — the title refers to the apostle Peter — and I was intrigued by the information I found at the Internet Movie Database.

For one thing, the film is based on a novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, who also wrote The Robe, which 20th Century Fox turned into a much more famous film in 1953. For another, it seemed that this film might rely on the secular account of Herod Antipas and John the Baptist given to us by Josephus, which no other film I could think of had ever done.

And what did the apostle Peter have to do with any of this? I had no idea, but I was curious to find out.

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The Bible: third episode, first impressions

Three down, two to go! Here are my first impressions of the third episode of The Bible, which ended the Old Testament section of the mini-series and began the New Testament section.

Continuity between Bible stories, redux. For all my grumbling about the series to date, there is one thing about it that I have always appreciated, and that is the way it links the various Bible stories, whether by having characters in one story recall what their ancestors did in another, or by having the angels appear in multiple stories wearing the exact same clothes, etc. And the first half of this episode is seriously impressive on that level.

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