Two very different Jesus shows heading for television

Remember Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus?

Last year, the National Geographic Channel teamed up with Ridley Scott’s production company to turn O’Reilly’s book into a TV-movie, just as they had done with his earlier books Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot.

Now comes word that they’re going to make their third project a little longer, and turn it into a four-hour mini-series that will begin production this summer and premiere sometime in 2015.

Hmm. You don’t suppose the enormous success of the mini-series The Bible last year — which led to this year’s Son of God on the big screen and next year’s A.D. on the NBC network — had anything to do with Killing Jesus getting more airtime, do you?

Meanwhile, a very different sort of TV show is set to premiere this year. The Hollywood Reporter says Aaron McGruder, creator of the animated comedy The Boondocks (2005-2010), is working on a live-action series called Black Jesus for the Adult Swim network, and the trade paper describes the premise thusly:
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Aaron Paul on playing Joshua and growing up Baptist

Aaron Paul has spent the past few weeks promoting Need for Speed, but along the way he has said a few new things about Ridley Scott’s Exodus, which will feature him as the Hebrew slave-turned-general Joshua. None of the quotes are terribly revealing — and at this point, why should they be? — but they’re amusing and/or interesting just the same.

For one thing, he tells The Hollywood Reporter that making the film “was very exciting because going to set, you just really felt like you were there,” but in an interview with the British newspaper Metro, he allows that there was one thing about this you-were-there-ness that he didn’t really care for: “There was camel poop everywhere. I was walking next to Christian [Bale, who plays Moses] and I just couldn’t stop myself from gagging.” Hmmm. Smell-o-vision, anyone?

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Ridley Scott on the “very modern” monotheism of Moses

There’s a new article about Ridley Scott’s Exodus in Première magazine, and it has some interesting new details about the film and the way Scott, an agnostic, is approaching the story of Moses. My French is a little rusty, but with a little help from Google Translate, I was able to glean this much from the article:
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Ridley Scott to explore whether Moses was agnostic, etc.

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly has an article on ‘Hollywood’s New Holy War’. The hook for the story is the three Bible movies coming out this year, but the story itself takes a broader look at how movie studios have been openly courting the Christian demographic ever since the surprise success of The Passion of the Christ ten years ago.

Sometimes, as the article notes, the studios’ efforts have been pretty successful (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Blind Side), and sometimes they have been… not so successful (The Nativity Story, Evan Almighty).

But what catches my eye is a sidebar on Ridley Scott’s life-of-Moses movie Exodus, which has a couple of new quotes from Scott and Christian Bale:
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Ridley Scott’s “unconventional depiction of God” in Exodus

Many blogs were quick to note The Hollywood Reporter’s story today on the making of Noah. Few if any, however, noted a sidebar to the Reporter story which gave a nod to the other two Bible movies coming out this year, i.e. Son of God and Ridley Scott’s Exodus.

The sidebar doesn’t offer much new info about either of those films, but it does include this bit about Exodus: “Details are scarce, but sources tell THR that Scott, an avowed agnostic, has chosen an unconventional depiction of God in the film. If so, it faces the same challenge in wooing religious audiences as Noah does.”

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Bale charges into battle as Moses in new Exodus pic

When Ridley Scott’s life-of-Moses movie Exodus was first announced five years ago — long before Scott himself became involved with the movie — it was pitched as a “visually stunning action piece” that would owe as much to films like 300 and Braveheart as it did to any of the more conventional versions of this story.

So far, though, there has been a lack of action in the pictures we have seen from this film. All of the unauthorized pictures have shown Moses (played by Christian Bale) and others standing on the set, and the one authorized picture released a few weeks ago showed him sitting on a horse.

That changes now with Entertainment Weekly’s 2014 preview, which the Christian Bale fansite Baleheads Blog has scanned and posted for our benefit:

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