Battle of the Jesus movies? Paramount bumps Ben-Hur to a weekend in August that was already claimed by The Shack


Well this is interesting. Paramount Pictures just announced that they will release the new version of Ben-Hur on August 12, 2016, instead of February 26. Barring any further changes, that means the film will now come out on the same day as The Shack, which is also based on a best-selling novel that features Jesus as a character.

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Japanese pop star to play the Holy Spirit in The Shack


The Shack has found its Holy Spirit.

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Israeli actor to play Jesus in The Shack


Haaz Sleiman may have been the first actor born and raised in the Middle East to play Jesus in a major English-language movie (in last March’s Killing Jesus), but he certainly won’t be the last. Deadline reports that Israeli actor Aviv Alush has now been hired to play Jesus in Stuart Hazeldine’s upcoming adaptation of The Shack.

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Casting news: The Shack! Miracles from Heaven! Ben-Hur!


Here are a few recent bits of casting news with a “faith-based” angle.

1. Sam Worthington has been cast as the lead in The Shack, Stuart Hazeldine’s adaptation of the William P. Young novel. Worthington will play a grieving father who meets God in the shack where the father’s murdered daughter was found. Octavia Spencer is already on board as one of the actors who will play God.

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Casting news: The Shack, Of Kings and Prophets, Ben-Hur


1. Big news regarding Stuart Hazeldine’s adaptation of The Shack: Octavia Spencer, who won an Oscar for The Help, has been cast as God — or at least as one of the manifestations of God. (In the book, God appears as a black woman, a Middle Eastern carpenter, and an Asian woman.) Back when Forest Whitaker was going to direct the film, it was widely buzzed that his The Butler co-star Oprah Winfrey might get this part, but Spencer is probably a better choice: more versatile, less baggage.

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The Shack gets a new director in Stuart Hazeldine

stuarthazeldineBig news regarding The Shack: the film adaptation of William P. Young’s novel, which was going to be directed by Forest Whitaker, is now going to be directed by Stuart Hazeldine, a Christian filmmaker that I had the pleasure of interviewing for my Christianity Today story on the Bible-movie revival earlier this year. Curiously, Deadline, which broke the news, says nothing about Whitaker or the actors he had approached for the film, such as Idris Elba and Oprah Winfrey. Looks like they’re starting over from scratch, as far as that goes?