Putting a bit of the New Testament into the Old

I just came across a few more videos from The Bible, the mini-series that premieres on the History Channel next month.

In one, the actress who plays Samson’s mother describes her character as “a woman who’s been given a gift from God of a very special child who’s predestined to do very special things, and I guess that’s a little connection to another story that we all know very well.” She goes on to say, “I guess I found it difficult to embody a character who knows that her child is going to die.”

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Do Bible movies need to be “accurate” or “exciting”?

Last summer, Mark Burnett, producer of the upcoming mini-series The Bible, made a surprisingly candid remark at an event called the Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit. Speaking of his passion for the subject matter and emphasizing that The Bible was more to him than just another TV project (his other shows include Survivor and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?), he said: “I couldn’t give a shit about the business model. This was about love and faith.”

Needless to say, he hasn’t said anything quite that frank in the last few weeks, as he and his wife, co-producer Roma Downey, have made the rounds to promote the mini-series to religious groups. But I sometimes wish he would, just to shake things up a bit. Instead, we get utterly predictable interviews like the one that appeared on the Canadian TV show 100 Huntley Street last week (full disclosure: I worked at 100 Huntley Street for a month back in the summer of ’85).

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Newsbites: The ancient and/or biblical edition!

1. Brett Ratner isn’t the only director working on a movie about Hercules. Renny Harlin, whose credits include Die Hard 2 (1990) and Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), plans to start shooting Hercules 3D three months from now, and to release the film in March 2014 — or about five months before Ratner’s film. Harlin says his film will be “not a comic book, cartoony fantasy thing. It’s closer to Gladiator than flying horses.” Interestingly, Ratner himself was once attached to the film that Harlin is now directing. — Hollywood Reporter

2. After several years of hiccups and delays, Kasi Lemmons’ adaptation of the musical Black Nativity is finally in production. Fox Searchlight issued a press release last week to announce that cameras were rolling — or whatever cameras do in this increasingly digital era — and it also confirmed an earlier report that Tyrese Gibson has joined the cast, though it did not say who his character will be. — BlackFilm.com, ComingSoon.net

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Samson and the upcoming Bible mini-series

For just over a month now, the History Channel has been releasing a series of clips and trailers to promote their mini-series The Bible, which premieres March 3. The promotional campaign started, appropriately enough for mid-December, with a couple of Christmas-themed ads, and it has since moved on to clips and images from other parts of the Good Book.

Today my fellow Patheos blogger Rebecca Cusey posted one of the first images of Samson, who is played by British actor Nonso Anozie. And, as you can see, this Samson looks a little different from the Samsons you might have seen in earlier films or TV shows.

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Was going to play Joseph, now playing Jesus

Deadline.com reports that Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado will play Jesus in The Bible, a five-part mini-series being made for the History channel by Mark Burnett, a producer who is better known for his “reality TV” projects such as Survivor, The Apprentice and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?.

Interestingly, Morgado was attached to another biblical project a few years ago, when it was announced that he would play Joseph in Mary Mother of Christ. But that film has gone through a few personnel changes in the last few years, and it’s possible that Morgado is no longer attached to that film either.

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