Darwin Shaw on playing St Peter (and a Lego Bond villain)

The apostle Peter is not the first biblical character that Darwin Shaw has played in his decade or so as an actor. You can see him briefly as Adam, in a new prologue to the Campus Crusade film Jesus (1979) that was shot a few years ago, and you can also see him as the “Semitic Jesus” in Gospel of Thomas (2009), an interactive adaptation of the Gnostic text that allows you to toggle between different actors. (Another actor plays the “Western Jesus”.)

But Peter is easily the biggest role of this sort that Shaw has tackled so far. He appears in all five of the New Testament-themed episodes in last year’s mini-series The Bible, and he will appear again this week in Son of God, the big-screen movie that consists mostly of footage from that mini-series but also includes a few new scenes.

I spoke to Shaw — whose credits also include Casino Royale (2006), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), John Carter (2012) and a deleted scene from Prometheus (2012) — by phone last week while he was in Los Angeles to promote Son of God.

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Is James Bond Catholic? Protestant? Neither? Both?

James Bond is no stranger to religious references and metaphors. The very first novel about his exploits, Casino Royale, devoted an entire chapter to ‘The Nature of Evil’, in which Bond argued that we need an “Evil Book” to complement the “Good Book”, i.e. the Bible. And as anyone who has seen the trailers for Skyfall knows, the most recent movie — released overseas ten days ago, and coming to North America this Friday — includes fleeting references to “resurrection” and “sins”.

As it turns out, the allusions to religion in Skyfall don’t stop there, and, while they may offer little more than handy plot twists or turns of phrase, they actually got me wondering if previous Bond books or films had made any reference to Bond’s religious inclinations or, perhaps, to those of his family. (I have read several of the books, though not all of them, and none of them recently; and I have seen all of the movies, though only some of them within recent memory.)

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