King Solomon reimagined as a modern country-music star

King Solomon reimagined as a modern country-music star May 24, 2014

“Even the wisest of men was a fool for love.”

So goes the tagline for The Song, an upcoming film that takes the story of the biblical Solomon and reimagines it as a story about a singer-songwriter dealing with fame and temptation in present-day America.

The biblical Solomon isn’t exactly known for his singing and songwriting — not like his father David, at any rate — but the Bible does say that “his songs numbered a thousand and five”. Two of the Psalms are attributed to him, and so, of course, is the Song of Songs. So it seems that this film is taking that as a jumping-off point.

The film will also make use of Ecclesiastes, a book of subversive wisdom that is also commonly attributed to Solomon.

Based on the plot synopses at Wikipedia, Deadline and Variety, it seems The Song will concern a guy named Jed who is trying to get out from under the shadow of his father, a country-music legend, when he accepts a gig at a vineyard harvest festival and falls in love with the vineyard owner’s daughter Rose. Jed writes a song for Rose — called, simply enough, ‘The Song’ — and when it becomes a hit, he has to deal with stardom, temptation, and all the usual things that add stress to a relationship. (And so the song inspired by his marriage becomes the thing that could break it up. Oh, the irony.)

It’s pretty easy to tell where some of the characters’ names are coming from. Jed’s legendary father is named David King (get it? get it?) and his mother is named Bethany, which sounds sort of safely biblical without reminding us of how the biblical Solomon’s parents met. His wife Rose presumably takes her name from the “rose of Sharon” mentioned in the Song of Songs, and the woman who tempts Jed away from his marriage is named Shelby, which sounds a bit like Sheba (as in Queen of…).

I’m not so sure that the story of Solomon can translate to this milieu, though. The key thing to remember about the kings of Israel is that they were kings — which is to say, they had power over their fellow countrymen, and they fought hard to keep it, even to the point of killing relatives who got in their way. (See, for example, how Solomon killed his half-brother Adonijah and his cousin Joab shortly after assuming the throne.) A guy struggling to make a hit record just doesn’t compare to that.

Also, the story of the biblical Solomon ends pretty badly: he is led astray by his many wives and worships their gods, and his abuse of power prompts a rebellion while he is still alive. Finally, when he dies, his son inherits only a fraction of his kingdom, because the rest of the nation makes the leader of the rebellion their king instead.

Is The Song going to end on a similar sort of downbeat note? Will it end with Jed King squandering his success and dying a lonely death? Or, because it is a “faith-based” film, will it be more “inspiring” than that and give Jed a happy ending?

We’ll find out soon enough. Samuel Goldwyn Films has just acquired the distribution rights to the film and plans to release it September 26. (That’s one week before the release of the Left Behind reboot starring Nicolas Cage, for those keeping track of the year’s surprisingly crowded faith-based-movie release schedule.)

The film was produced by Kentucky-based City on a Hill Productions. Here’s a trailer that was posted to YouTube in June 2013, i.e. almost a year ago:

May 25 update: I have revised the third paragraph to take into account a few other passages that refer to Solomon’s songwriting, beyond the Song of Songs.

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