TV newsbites: Of Kings and Prophets! Lucifer! Damien!

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1. We have a new Bible series! Deadline reports that ABC has picked up Of Kings and Prophets, which finished shooting its pilot episode just last week. So we’ll have at least one Bible-themed TV series next year, two if A.D. The Bible Continues gets renewed (and they both feature characters named Saul!). Deadline also reveals that an Israeli actor named Tomer Kapon is playing David’s nephew/general Joab.

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Last Days in the Desert: the Sundance round-up

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Last Days in the Desert, the low-budget film that stars Ewan McGregor as both Jesus and Satan, had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival two nights ago, and the reviews so far have been pretty positive. The filmmakers were also there to discuss the film. What follows is a round-up of reviews and interviews from the festival.

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Christianity Today speaks to the director and star of the indie Jesus film Last Days in the Desert

lastdaysinthedesert-51253The film won’t premiere at Sundance for another 13 days, but Christianity Today’s Alissa Wilkinson posted an exclusive interview tonight with Last Days in the Desert director Rodrigo Garcia and his star Ewan McGregor, who plays both Jesus and Satan in the low-budget film — and along the way, she offers a few review-ish opinions of the film itself, all of them positive.

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Ewan McGregor plays Jesus and the Devil in Last Days in the Desert, premiering next month at Sundance

last-days-in-the-desert-ewan-mcgregor-hi-resBack in February, there were reports that Ewan McGregor was going to play a holy man and a demon in a film called Last Days in the Desert, directed by Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs) with Emmanuel Lubezki (Tree of Life, Gravity, Birdman) handling the cinematography.

Today, the Sundance Film Festival announced that it will host the film’s premiere next month — and it also revealed that McGregor isn’t playing just any old holy man or demon:
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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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Son of God producers cast Satan out of their film

One of the more interesting things about last year’s mini-series The Bible was the way it linked the Old and New Testaments by making the character of Satan a recurring presence, from the Garden of Eden to the city of Sodom to the temptation and crucifixion of Jesus.

All of that footage, however, has been cut from Son of God, the big-screen Bible spin-off opening next week — partly because of a bogus controversy that erupted last year over the actor’s alleged resemblance to President Obama.

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