A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of Killing Jesus at the Sun Valley Film Festival and speaking to Haaz Sleiman, the actor who plays Jesus. We had met before when I visited the set last year, but back then he still had certain crucial scenes to film, including the crucifixion, whereas when I spoke to him in Sun Valley, he and I had both just seen the completed film for the first time.
Remember Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus?
Last year, the National Geographic Channel teamed up with Ridley Scott’s production company to turn O’Reilly’s book into a TV-movie, just as they had done with his earlier books Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot.
Now comes word that they’re going to make their third project a little longer, and turn it into a four-hour mini-series that will begin production this summer and premiere sometime in 2015.
Hmm. You don’t suppose the enormous success of the mini-series The Bible last year — which led to this year’s Son of God on the big screen and next year’s A.D. on the NBC network — had anything to do with Killing Jesus getting more airtime, do you?
Meanwhile, a very different sort of TV show is set to premiere this year. The Hollywood Reporter says Aaron McGruder, creator of the animated comedy The Boondocks (2005-2010), is working on a live-action series called Black Jesus for the Adult Swim network, and the trade paper describes the premise thusly:
I promise to have a post on last Sunday’s episode of The Bible soon. In the meantime, I just want to note two things that popped up in my news feed today.
First, it turns out there is another brand-new Bible-themed movie on TV this week, as the Reelz network is hosting the American premiere of Barabbas, a two-part mini-series about the Jewish rebel or criminal who was freed by Pilate in Jesus’ place.
Starring Billy Zane and directed by Roger Young (who previously directed some of the better-known films in the ‘Bible Collection’ series), it is based on the same Par Lagerkvist novel that inspired the 1961 film starring Anthony Quinn (as well as a 1953 film made in Sweden and, apparently, a 2001 film made in Armenia).