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.
2. Jennifer Garner will star in Miracles from Heaven, an adaptation of the brand new memoir by Christy Beam that is being produced by Joe Roth, Devon Franklin and Bishop T.D. Jakes — the same people who produced Heaven Is for Real.
The Hollywood Reporter sums the book up thusly:
Beam, who lives in Burleson, Texas, where her family belongs to the Alsbury Baptist Church, wrote the memoir about her daughter, who suffered from a rare digestive disorder that caused her to eat via feeding tubes and carry colostomy bags. The miracles in the title refer to how the youngster fell three stories, visited heaven and later was cured of her seemingly incurable condition.
The film will be directed by Patricia Riggen (the Chilean-miner drama The 33).
Some Christians have begun to express reservations about these so-called “Heaven Tourism” books and the movies based on them — LifeWay Christian Resources says it has stopped selling such books — but the genre shows no signs of abating.
Another such book-film combo is 90 Minutes in Heaven, based on a book by Don Piper, which recently finished shooting in Atlanta with Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth in the lead roles. Here’s a video from behind the scenes:
3. Nazanin Boniadi has finished working on the new version of Ben-Hur, in which she plays the main character’s girlfriend Esther. But before she left, she Instagrammed this shot of her with Haluk Bilginer, who plays Esther’s father Simonides:
You can find a lot of pictures that people have posted from the set of Ben-Hur, incidentally, if you follow all the right hashtags. For example: