Stalingrad director to tackle Greek-myth flick Odysseus

It took the mythical Odysseus ten years to get home from the Trojan War — twenty if you start counting from the day he left his wife and son behind in Ithaca — and the way things are going, it just might take that long for Warner Brothers to get its long-in-development movie about Odysseus off the ground, too.

Still, at least the studio hasn’t given up on the idea. Deadline reports that the project is still in development, and that Warner has hired a Russian filmmaker named Fedor Bondarchuk, who recently directed the 3D IMAX movie Stalingrad, to direct their adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey from a script by Jeremy Doner.

The film was first announced five years ago when Warner bought a spec script by Ann Peacock, a screenwriter whose credits include an early draft of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The director attached to the project back then — when it was billed as “a bloody relentless revenge movie” — was Jonathan Liebesman, whose credits include Wrath of the Titans and Battle: Los Angeles.

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Sympathy for the snake-haired monster Medusa

The Greco-Roman revival lives on — and so, perhaps, does the recent interest in feminist revisionist origin stories.

Sony Pictures Animation announced last week that they are now developing a film about Medusa, the creature from Greek mythology who had snakes for hair and could turn anyone into stone if they looked directly at her.

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Paramount and MGM team up for the Ben-Hur remake

If there’s one studio that has consistently tried to revive the Bible epic since the genre died in the 1960s, it’s Paramount.

They were involved with Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ in the early 1980s, until protesters prompted them to pull the plug mere days before the film was supposed to start shooting.

They were the ones who produced King David, starring Richard Gere, in 1985.

And they were the ones who gave the green light to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which is now the second-highest-grossing Bible movie ever worldwide, behind Mel Gibson’s independently-produced The Passion of the Christ (2004).

So now, reports Variety, they are teaming up with MGM to co-produce the upcoming version of Ben-Hur, which will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov from a script by John Ridley, who recently won an Oscar for his work on 12 Years a Slave.

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Review: Pompeii (dir. Paul W.S. Anderson, 2014)

There are several movies coming out this year that are set in ancient Greece or Rome (or, if not in Rome itself, then at least within the Roman empire). Pompeii is the second of those films to get a theatrical release (and the first to get a theatrical release in Canada, since The Legend of Hercules never opened up here), and it’s not too hard to see why the studio wanted to get it out there as soon as possible, before all the other, and presumably better, films come along.

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Bible films (and other ancient epics) and Oscar nominations

As I mentioned yesterday, Son of God is coming to theatres the same weekend that this year’s Oscar ceremony takes place. This got me thinking: with three different Bible movies coming out this year, might we see any of these films represented at next year’s Academy Awards?

This, in turn, got me wondering what kind of attention the Bible-movie genre has received from the Academy in the past. We all know about Ben-Hur (1959) and its record-setting 11 awards — a record that has never been beaten, though it has since been matched by Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) — but what about all the other Bible epics (and not-so-epics) that have been produced over the years?

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Bible epics — the article’s up!

My latest article on the Bible-epic revival is now up at The Anglican Planet. The main impetus for the article is, of course, the three films coming out next year — Son of God, Noah and Exodus — though I also mention the planned remake of Ben-Hur. Among other things, I speculate as to possible reasons for the genre’s current revival (a delayed response to The Passion of the Christ? a surge of interest in ancient history and mythology?), and I offer a few tips on how Christian moviegoers should respond to it. Enjoy.


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