Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker join animated Jesus movie

Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker join animated Jesus movie May 21, 2024

Jesus washes Peter’s feet in The King of Kings.
The voice cast for The King of Kings, the animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ The Life of Our Lord, keeps growing.

The Hollywood Reporter says Oscar Isaac and Forest Whitaker are providing the voices of Jesus and Peter, respectively, in the film, which is currently being produced by the South Korean studio Mofac Animation.

Isaac and Whitaker are the first actors to be announced for biblical roles in the film. The studio previously revealed that Kenneth Branagh, Uma Thurman, and Roman Griffin Davis are playing Dickens, his wife, and their son, in a story that dramatizes not just the life of Jesus but the way Dickens told the story to his children.

Interestingly, Isaac and Whitaker both already have a bit of Bible-movie experience; more specifically, they both have Nativity-movie experience.

Isaac played Joseph in 2006’s The Nativity Story (you can read my interview with him about that film here), and Whitaker played Reverend Cobbs in 2013’s Black Nativity, a loose adaptation of Langston Hughes’ musical version of the Christmas story.

Both actors have also been in Star Wars movies (Isaac in the sequel trilogy, Whitaker in Rogue One), so they also both appear in my round-up of Star Wars actors who have been in Bible movies. Looks like I might need to update that post soon!

The casting of these two actors ties into a few other patterns in Bible films:

Granted, the age and ethnicity of the actors is less relevant in animation, where the characters look however the animators want them to look. But still.

Incidentally, I recently learned that this film has a website with lots of pictures, etc. This is how the longer version of the film’s synopsis begins, there:

Charles Dickens was a master storyteller whose words have touched the world for many years. Prolific talent such as his comes at a price however, and while Dickens was a loving father, his work often kept him distant from his family. In particular he struggled to connect with his youngest son Walter, a five-year-old dreamer. Inseparable from his best friend Willa the cat, Walter lives in his own imagination and sees the world in a unique way.

One day, Dickens’ reading performance at a London theatre is ruined by Walter’s mischievous behavior. Dickens pleads to his son to try and enjoy the reading but Walter is not interested. Walter being completely obsessed with King Arthur, Catherine urges Dickens to tell his son the story of the true king.

He will create a story not for the world but just for his family, especially Walter. He will tell the story that means everything to him, the story of Jesus Christ, the greatest story ever told. . . .

Finally, here is a bit of footage from the film that was posted to the studio’s YouTube channel back in April:

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