Anthony Hopkins to play Methuselah in Aronofsky’s Noah

Darren Aronofsky has been talking about making a movie about Noah and the Flood for so long, I actually mentioned it several times at this blog before I went on my two- or three-year hiatus (most recently here, back in December 2008).

But in the past year or so — following the critical, box-office and awards success of Black Swan — Aronofsky has been making his dream a reality, with A Beautiful Mind co-stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly set to play Noah and his wife, plus Douglas Booth as Shem, Logan Lerman as Ham, Ray Winstone as Noah’s “nemesis” and Emma Watson as “Ila, a young woman who develops a close relationship with Noah’s son, Shem.” (Is she any relation to the Ila of Hindu tradition whose father, Manu, “saved mankind from the universal flood“? We shall see.)

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Review: Paul the Apostle (dir. Roger Young, 2000)

Numerous films have been based on the Gospels, but few have been based on the Book of Acts. Even when filmmakers make a point of depicting stories from across the Scriptures, the early church tends to get left out; a typical example is the otherwise excellent series of British-Russian animated films that began with Testament, a collection of nine half-hour episodes from the Old Testament, and ended with The Miracle Maker, a feature film about Jesus. As finales go, the death and resurrection of Jesus are pretty hard to beat.

Thankfully, some filmmakers do explore the work of the apostles once in a while. The best examples to date are probably the 1985 mini-series A.D., which does a marvelous job of depicting the joy that animated the Jerusalem church but gets increasingly sidetracked by secular history and fictitious love stories between soldiers, slaves and gladiators the further it moves into Gentile territory; and the 1981 TV movie Peter and Paul, starring Anthony Hopkins, which takes superb advantage of the autobiographical information in Paul’s epistles.

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Videos tell story of early church / Strengths and weaknesses in dramatizing New Testament church

There have been many films about the life of Jesus, and a handful of high-profile movies from The Sign of the Cross to Quo Vadis? have detailed the persecution of Christians in Rome some 35 years later. But the dramatic transition Christianity made between those two points — from a marginal Jewish sect to a thriving, if persecuted, community in the seat of Gentile power — has received scant attention even from Christian filmmakers.

Into this void steps Acts, the second film from The Visual Bible. (The first was Matthew.) Like the aborted Genesis Project of the 1970s, the minds behind this South African venture hope to film the entire Bible, using the New International Version as their script. Says the press kit in bold, coloured letters: “No scriptwriter’s liberties. No interpretations. No dramatic license.”

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