Peter O’Toole announces his “retirement” from acting

Peter O’Toole announced his retirement from acting yesterday, and I must admit I’ve been dwelling on Bible movies enough these past few days that my first thought was, “Well, I guess that’s another part that the makers of Mary Mother of Christ will have to re-cast!” O’Toole had been attached to play Symeon, the old man who was informed by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah (as per Luke 2).

It wasn’t the first time O’Toole had agreed to play a small part in a Bible movie. In the early days of his movie stardom, he played the angels who bring condemnation to Sodom and Gomorrah in The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966), which I’ve always been inclined to see as sort of a meta-sequel in which O’Toole gets revenge for the rape his character endured in a similar Middle Eastern town in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). More recently, he played the prophet Samuel in the prologue to the Book of Esther adaptation One Night with the King (2006).

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‘Contemporary Christian cinema’ needs talented, prophetic artists

THESE ARE interesting times for Christian film buffs. Nearly three years have passed since The Passion of the Christ rode a wave of controversy to the top of the box office, and studios have been looking for a way to replicate that success ever since.

The key thing about The Passion may be that it was self-financed. Unlike, say, the big-screen version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — which toned down the book’s Christian elements to appeal to as wide an audience as possible — Mel Gibson’s movie was bold and uncompromising, all because he paid for it himself.

No one expects the next big Christian movie to be anywhere near that big a hit. But increasingly, secular studios are coming to realize that the best way to sell movies to Christians may be to pick up the movies that Christians are already making.

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