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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Another TV show on the “lost years” of Jesus in the works

All three of this year’s Bible movies have a Gladiator connection. Exodus: Gods and Kings has that film’s director, Ridley Scott. Noah has that film’s star, Russell Crowe, and one of its screenwriters, John Logan. And Son of God — or, rather, its predecessor mini-series The Bible — marked the first time that composer Hans Zimmer and vocalist Lisa Gerrard had worked together since that film.

Now one of Gladiator’s other screenwriters is dipping his toe in the biblical waters, albeit for the small screen. Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter say David Franzoni is developing a mini-series for Fox called Nazareth, which will look at “the formative years of Jesus of Nazareth.” (One cannot help but be reminded of similar early-years series named after the protagonists’ hometowns like Smallville and Gotham.)

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How the movie Heaven Is for Real contradicts the book

Is Heaven Is for Real a “Christian movie”?

The question may seem like a no-brainer, since the film is based on a best-selling Christian book and there has been a lot of talk in the media about the Christian faith of writer-director Randall Wallace and some of the film’s producers, including megachurch leader T.D. Jakes and studio executive DeVon Franklin.

But the film is still a product of corporate Hollywood, and as such, it alters the story in ways that are designed to appeal to a mass audience. The film thus lacks the authenticity of independent Christian films like, say, God’s Not Dead.

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