Newsbites: Clavius! The Dovekeepers! Black Nativity! Book of Amos!

clavius-tomfeltonFour quick Bible-movie-ish items.

1. I somehow missed the fact that Clavius, which concerns a Roman soldier investigating reports of the Resurrection of Jesus, started shooting a couple weeks ago. Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, posted some photos to Instagram — and apparently he’s playing a character named Lucius, which also happened to be the name of Draco Malfoy’s father.

In addition to Felton and Joseph Fiennes, who is playing the presumably titular Roman investigator, the film’s IMDb page lists several actors who are playing well-known Bible characters — and at least two of those actors have extensive experience in the Bible-movie genre already.

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Black Nativity — the teaser is now online

Fox Searchlight has posted its first trailer for Black Nativity, the upcoming Kasi Lemmons adaptation of the Langston Hughes musical. As with the pictures that were released two months ago, the focus here seems to be on the modern-day scenes, but we do get what appears to be a taste of the “dream sequence” that re-tells the story of Jesus’ birth. See the trailer and a couple key images below.

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Scripture on the silver screen / New productions bring Bible-based stories to life

You often hear that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. It turns out that movies and TV shows based on the Bible can set records in their own mediums, too.

The most recent example is The Bible, an ambitious mini-series produced by reality-TV mogul Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) and his wife Roma Downey, former star of Touched by an Angel.

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Christmas musical Black Nativity releases its first pictures

Four years after I first mentioned that a film version of the Langston Hughes musical Black Nativity was in the works — and three months after cameras finally started rolling on the adaptation — we now, at last, have some images from the film, courtesy of USA Today. Alas, all four of the pictures in question seem to be set pretty firmly within the real world, so we’ll just have to wait to see the “dream sequence” that re-tells the story of the birth of Jesus. The article that accompanies the new images does describe at least one part of that sequence, though:
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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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Black Nativity back on track with Forest Whitaker

The on-again, off-again film adaptation of Black Nativity seems to be on again, now.

Two months ago, it was reported that the film, which is based on a 1961 musical and concerns a young black teen who spends Christmas with his grandparents, had been shelved because Samuel L. Jackson dropped out of the project.

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