Despite the challenges of reconciling Scripture with story, casting actors to play icons, constructing a Christ-era Nazareth in the Italian countryside, wrangling donkeys and camels, and figuring out how to market the first major-studio Bible epic since the genre’s peak in the 1950s and ’60s with films like The Ten Commandments, The Nativity Story will arrive in theaters on Dec. 1, just about a year to the day after Rich started his first draft.
“The first major-studio Bible epic” since the ’60s? Uh, no.
“I could kiss Mel on both cheeks for showing Hollywood the size of this market,” says Matt Crouch, son of televangelists Paul and Jean Crouch and producer of One Night with the King, the story of Esther. The movie opened in 900 theaters on Oct. 13 and has grossed $10 million so far, with lush costumes and sets, newcomer Tiffany Dupont in the title role and cameos by Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole, their first screen pairing since Lawrence of Arabia.
“Their first screen pairing” since Lawrence of Arabia? Uh, no.
The rest of the story is interesting enough, though.