Is there a part for Jesus in Bill & Ted 3?

billandtedIt’s been 25 years since Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure first graced our screens, and just a couple years less since the sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey came along. The past decade has brought us long-delayed revivals of 1980s franchises like Die Hard and Indiana Jones, so naturally, many Bill & Ted fans have wondered if we’ll see a new film in this series, too — and co-stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter say they want to make it happen.

For now, they’re bogged down in script development and securing financing for the film. (One hiccup: the characters aren’t particularly popular overseas, and that’s where Hollywood makes its money these days.) But the actors have been quite open about their hopes for it. A few weeks ago, Winter said the film will revolve around a sort of mid-life crisis for the characters, who were supposed to bring peace and harmony to the world through their music but, so far, have not. And now, Reeves has spoken to ComingSoon.net:
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National Geographic unveils the cast for Killing Jesus

killingjesusThe National Geographic Channel’s adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus is now filming in Morocco, and thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, we now know who many of the actors are — and they’re an eclectic bunch, to be sure.

In keeping with other recent efforts to depict Jesus as something other than a blonde-haired, blue-eyed European, the part of Jesus will be played by Haaz Sleiman, an actor born in Lebanon who is perhaps best-known for playing a Syrian immigrant in Tom McCarthy’s The Visitor.

Herod the Great, on the other hand, will be played by Kelsey Grammer, who doesn’t seem like a particularly Middle Eastern kind of guy to me. (The fact that he’s best known for his comedic roles on Frasier and The Simpsons doesn’t help!)

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Is Cliff Curtis playing Jesus in Clavius?

cliffcurtis-keishacastlehughesThe father becomes the son…

Twelve years ago, Cliff Curtis played the father of Keisha Castle-Hughes in the acclaimed film Whale Rider.

Four years later, Castle-Hughes played the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story.

Now comes word that Curtis may — may — be playing Mary’s son Jesus in Clavius, in which a Roman centurion investigates reports of the Resurrection.

It’s all speculation at this point. But Thompson on Hollywood, speaking to Curtis about another film at the Toronto film festival, mentions that Curtis is something of a method actor, and that he refuses to talk during interviews right now (though he will gesture with his hands and write notes on his laptop) because he is currently playing “a man of God … who speaks only of God,” in Curtis’s words.

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The Bible and Son of God: just how different are they?

sonofgod-bluray-aIf you’re the sort of person who has wondered just how much overlap there was between The Bible and its big-screen spin-off Son of God, have I got the spreadsheet for you!

It’s still a work in progress, but for now, anyone who is interested can download it from this Dropbox link. The basic idea is this: in one column, I list the timecodes for every scene from the last five episodes of The Bible (with the episode number where the hour would be), and in another, I list the timecodes for every scene in Son of God.

The advantages of this format are twofold: First, you can compare the relative lengths of the two versions of any given scene; more often than not, the movie tightened things up a tad, but every now and then the movie padded things out by adding elements that were missing from the miniseries. And second, because the movie added some scenes, deleted some scenes, and rearranged some other scenes, you can select either column and list all the scenes from one version of the film in the order in which they appeared in that version.

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The Ascension of Christ in film: literalism, symbolism, etc.

Today is the Feast of the Ascension, when Christians remember how Jesus was taken up into heaven 40 days after his Resurrection. It’s one of the stranger bits in the Gospels — both difficult to understand, given our modern cosmology, and difficult to pull off visually — and most of what we know about it actually comes from the Book of Acts. So it’s not too surprising that most films about Jesus have tended to skip this episode.

Nevertheless, a few films have depicted the Ascension, often by mixing it with elements from other stories in the gospels, and even those that don’t depict it have often made a point of ending on a note that suggests Jesus has transcended this life in some way that parallels the Ascension. Here are a few examples.

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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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