Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt to star Sean Bean and more

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It has been two months since I last wrote about Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel about Jesus’ childhood. At that time, the studio behind the film had announced a release date but no cast members. Today, however, a colleague tipped me off to the fact that the film’s IMDb page now lists 20 actors, and at least one of them is fairly well-known: Lord of the Rings co-star Sean Bean.

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Release date changes for two upcoming “faith-based” films

christthelordoutofegyptTwo films with a “faith-based” hook have seen their release dates change in the past couple of days.

First, Variety reports that Warner Brothers is no longer going to distribute the Christian music documentary Hillsong: Let Hope Rise as originally planned.

The film was going to be distributed by Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment on the Wednesday before Easter, two and a half months from now, but an Alcon rep told Variety today that their company was ultimately “unable to close the rights deal for the movie.”

There is no word yet as to who might distribute the film in Warner’s place.

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Ben-Hur gears up for its Italian shoot next year

benhur1959-raceThe Charlton Heston version of Ben-Hur was filmed partly at the Cinecitta Studios in Rome, so it comes as no surprise that the new version will be filmed there, too, as Variety reports today. The four-month shoot is set to begin in February.

More interesting is the fact that the new film will also be shot partly in Matera, the Italian town that was thought to be “a shocking example of European poverty” back when Pier Paolo Pasolini shot The Gospel According to St Matthew there in the 1960s, but has since become something of a tourist spot — not to mention a location for several other Bible movies.

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Newsbites: Noah! Christ the Lord! Nazareth! A.D.! Clavius!

vlcsnap-2014-10-03-16h10m29s238Happy Monday. Here’s a round-up of recent Bible-movie news (with pictures!) to help you start the week.

1. Darren Aronofsky, whose films have received serious Oscar buzz more often than not (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler and Black Swan were all nominated for their acting, among other things, and the last of those films actually won), is still doing what he can to keep Noah on the Academy’s mind.

Last week he spoke to Variety about the excellent work that cinematographer Matthew Libatique, production designer Mark Friedberg, editor Andrew Weisblum, visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker, composer Clint Mansell and, of course, Patti Smith contributed to the film; and tonight, Aronofsky and Smith will be hosting a screening of the film at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

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Christ the Lord gets an Easter 2016 release date

christthelordoutofegyptChrist the Lord now has a release date. Focus Features has announced that its adaptation of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the Anne Rice novel about the early years of Jesus, will come to theatres on March 23, 2016.

That’s almost four weeks after the release date for Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of Ben-Hur.

It also happens to be the Wednesday before Good Friday on the Western calendar. So, like this year’s Heaven Is for Real and next year’s Hillsong United documentary, Christ the Lord will tie in to the Easter weekend but give the holiday itself a bit of breathing room.

The film is being directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh from a script he co-wrote with his wife Betty. No actors have been hired yet, but the filming is set to take place at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome and in Matera, a southern Italian town that has appeared in other Bible movies such as The Gospel according to St. Matthew (1964), King David (1985), The Passion of the Christ (2004) and The Nativity Story (2006).

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Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord finally gets the green light

The long-gestating film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt may finally be happening.

Deadline reports that five production companies (and one distributor) have come to an agreement on the financing for the film and will start shooting it in Italy on September 15. That’s four months from now. Cyrus Nowrasteh, director of The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008), will direct the film from a script he co-wrote with his wife Betsy.

The film will be shot partly at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome and partly in the region of Matera, a southern Italian town that has been used as a location for other Bible movies such as The Gospel according to St. Matthew (1964), King David (1985), The Passion of the Christ (2004) and The Nativity Story (2006).

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