The Shack has found its Holy Spirit.
Big 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?
My article on the Bible-movie revival is now up at the Christianity Today website; it will also be in the print edition of the magazine. The article looks at the fitful attempts made by the studios to cash in on the success of The Passion of the Christ since it came out a decade ago, it looks at the three Bible movies coming out this year — Son of God, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings — and it looks at what might be next if Noah and Exodus are big-enough hits. It also includes soundbites from publicist Jonathan Bock, director Darren Aronofsky (Noah) and screenwriters Stuart Hazeldine (Paradise Lost, Gods and Kings) and Barbara Nicolosi (Mary).
First Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director that many people thought Steven Spielberg would get last month; now there are rumours that Lee might direct the life-of-Moses movie that Spielberg has been attached to for over a year.
Deadline reports that Spielberg has decided not to direct Gods and Kings, the “epic-sized” Moses movie that Warner Brothers has been developing since at least 2010. Spielberg — who already alluded to the Moses story in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) before proposing that the first DreamWorks cartoon be The Prince of Egypt (1998) — was said to be “near commitment” to the project in January 2012, but apparently the deal was never finalized, and now never will be.
If you’ve seen any of the trailers, then you’ll probably have a good idea what to expect from the first hour or so of Knowing, the latest mind-bending bit of speculative fiction from Alex Proyas (Dark City, I Robot). But even that first hour has its surprises, and after that, the film veers in directions that go far beyond anything you might have expected — directions that will be all the more awe-inspiring the less you know going into the theater.