Paramount released three sets of posters today featuring the five main characters from Ben-Hur. Curiously, the main set of posters — released via the film’s official social media accounts — did not include any images of Jesus, but the other two sets (at least one of which is aimed at foreign audiences) did. Check ’em out below the jump.
Exclusive: James Wan on his return to horror, respecting the experiences of those who encounter the paranormal, and getting a priest to bless the set of The Conjuring 2
Many directors dream of launching one hit franchise. James Wan has launched three.
The Malaysia-born, Australia-raised filmmaker first made a name for himself with Saw, a psychological horror film that spawned six sequels, all of which Wan produced but did not direct. Then he directed Insidious and its first sequel; a fourth film — again, produced but not directed by Wan — is now in the works. And then he directed The Conjuring, a huge hit that led to a prequel-ish spin-off called Annabelle.
It’s been a long, rocky road to the big screen for The Young Messiah, but at last, it’s here.
The film is based on a 2005 novel called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, which takes place when Jesus is seven years old and his family is returning to Nazareth from Egypt. It was written by Anne Rice — best known for her vampire novels — after she returned to the Catholic church. An early attempt to make a film based on the novel fell apart in 2007, and Rice herself publicly quit Christianity in 2010, though she said she still follows Christ.
The book’s film prospects turned a corner when Rice wrote a glowing review of The Stoning of Soraya M., a 2009 movie about the treatment of women in Iran that was directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, an American of Persian descent. Nowrasteh acquired the rights to Rice’s book, wrote a script with his wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, and got Harry Potter director Chris Columbus to come on board as a producer. The film comes out March 11.
I spoke to Cyrus Nowrasteh about creating new characters for the film, the tricky nature of movie ratings, the role the film played in his own journey towards Christian faith, and the possibility of a sequel. The interview below has been edited slightly for length and clarity.
Risen gets a website with over a dozen new images — and is it the first film to get a PG-13 rating for “biblical violence”?
The powers that be behind Risen — the upcoming film that stars Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton as Roman officers who go looking for the body of Jesus — have unveiled an official website for the film that has some new photos as well as a timeline that charts some of the key events between the Crucifixion and the Ascension.
The big Noah news today, of course, is that three books based on the film are now available for purchase: a regular novelization of the movie, a junior novelization that focuses on Noah’s daughter-in-law Ila, and a graphic novel that is based on an early draft of the script and is thus somewhat different from the movie.
If you can’t wait for the movie to learn all its spoilers, or if you want to study how the script evolved from the version that produced the graphic novel to the version that produced the novelizations, well, you’ve now got plenty of reading material to work with!
To help you get started, MTV has posted an excerpt from the junior novelization, Ila’s Story, which introduces the character as a wounded and orphaned little girl; it also introduces those fallen angels known as the Watchers. No pictures, alas.
Noah news round-up: snubs from church leaders, props from Christians who have seen the film, and more
The European promo tour for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah soldiers on. Following the film’s Berlin premiere on Thursday, the filmmakers went to Madrid for another premiere tonight, while Russell Crowe attended his first Noah premiere at the other end of Europe, in Moscow; he had missed the previous events because he was shooting a movie in Turkey.
Alas, the European tour has already encountered one hiccup of sorts: Variety reported today that the Vatican has cancelled tentative plans for a photo op that would have featured Pope Francis and a few of the filmmakers, including Crowe and Aronofsky.
Crowe, via Twitter, had been openly asking the Pope to screen the film for a few weeks now, and the Vatican reportedly gave the idea enough consideration to set some time aside for a meeting on Wednesday; but they eventually decided against it because Crowe’s presence would be too distracting to the Vatican’s other visitors.