Update on the preacher in black

The folks at CT have an interesting feature online that addresses many issues related to the role of faith in the Walk the Line biopic of June and Johnny Cash.

witherspoon phoenixThe story includes some commentary from director James Mangold, actor Joaquin Phoenix and self-proclaimed church lady (sort of) Reese Witherspoon. Here’s an interesting, to say the least, detail from a post-dinner encounter with the Cashes in their home, beginning with the Johnny and June singing a duet:

The song was “The Far Side Banks of Jordan,” and Phoenix says he was amazed by the “profound sense of love” he witnessed between the Cashes. “And then, moments later, he quoted to me my most sadistic dialogue from Gladiator, saying it was his favorite part of the movie.” (The line: “Your son squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. And your wife moaned like a whore when they ravaged her again and again.”)

Phoenix says the experience encapsulated the two separate forces that lived within Cash: “It really is night and day. You wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it. And he seemed to relish that dialogue as much as he relished looking into June’s eyes and singing this song.”

The key, again, seems to be the movie’s timeline. It stops precisely at the moment Cash’s faith revived so strongly. However, it does seem to downplay the tensions about faith, sex, marriage, divorce, fidelity and everything else that so shaped the courtship of June and Johnny.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.dailycontentions.com Lucas Sayre

    Tmatt, I have become a fan of Johnny Cash’s music over the last couple years, and the more I learn about a person’s life, the more I can appreciate his or her music. I thank you for your great posts on his faith. I find it interesting and informative.

    Too bad the movie misses the ball.

  • Tom R

    Uh, shouldn’t that be “… when they * ravished * her again and again”?


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