My article on the Bible-movie revival is now up at the Christianity Today website; it will also be in the print edition of the magazine. The article looks at the fitful attempts made by the studios to cash in on the success of The Passion of the Christ since it came out a decade ago, it looks at the three Bible movies coming out this year — Son of God, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings — and it looks at what might be next if Noah and Exodus are big-enough hits. It also includes soundbites from publicist Jonathan Bock, director Darren Aronofsky (Noah) and screenwriters Stuart Hazeldine (Paradise Lost, Gods and Kings) and Barbara Nicolosi (Mary).
A few weeks ago, I noted that an article in the French Première magazine had indicated that “Exodus” might be just a working title for Ridley Scott’s upcoming Moses movie. Now comes word, via Hitfix, that a new title was in fact announced today at CinemaCon in Las Vegas — but it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.
Supposedly, the new title for the film is Exodus: Gods and Kings. And what’s strange about this — though Hitfix doesn’t seem to realize it — is that Exodus and Gods and Kings were actually two separate titles for two separate Moses movies that were being developed by two separate studios. One of those movies was the Ridley Scott movie, which got the green light from Fox last year. The other movie was being developed at Warner Brothers and, for a while, had Steven Spielberg attached to direct.
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.
First Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director that many people thought Steven Spielberg would get last month; now there are rumours that Lee might direct the life-of-Moses movie that Spielberg has been attached to for over a year.
Deadline reports that Spielberg has decided not to direct Gods and Kings, the “epic-sized” Moses movie that Warner Brothers has been developing since at least 2010. Spielberg — who already alluded to the Moses story in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) before proposing that the first DreamWorks cartoon be The Prince of Egypt (1998) — was said to be “near commitment” to the project in January 2012, but apparently the deal was never finalized, and now never will be.