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Sunday, 21 December 2014

A renewed interest in Biblical epics

The Guardian has been exploring the current phenomenon of a significant number of Biblical films:

'Boxing Day sees the UK release of [Ridley] Scott’s epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, with Christian Bale as Moses. While the Observer called it a “half triumph”, Variety extolled it as “a work of massive, David Lean-like scale – with battle scenes that rival or eclipse Scott’s Gladiator”.'

Exodus follows Noah to which audiences flocked earlier this year with Darren Aronofsky's film taking $320m worldwide and there are a biblical flood of films inspired by the Old and New Testaments coming. 'We may live in a more secular age, but at least a dozen dramas on the epic scale which the Bible – or perhaps producers – seems to demand are in various stages of development':

'British producer David Heyman is developing a film based on Reza Aslan’s bestselling book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, while Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch director, has been working on an adaptation of his own book, Jesus of Nazareth, for five years.

[Ridley Scott] is now planning another biblical drama – a big-budget film about David’s slaying of Goliath.

Warner Bros is also developing a King David project and a third version has cast Jerry Sokoloski, Canada’s tallest man – at 7ft 8in – as the giant. Director Tim Chey was apparently wary of creating a CGI imitation like The Incredible Hulk.

Other films include a version of the hit stage musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ... Other productions feature some of Britain’s foremost actors. Joseph Fiennes will be seen in Clavius as a centurion ordered by Pontius Pilate to find the missing body of Jesus, and Ben Kingsley will appear as the tyrannical Herod in Mary Mother of Christ, a story of Mary and Joseph as young parents living in precarious times.

Jeffrey Caine, who wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Constant Gardener, was one of four writers on Scott’s Exodus. Asked about the popularity of biblical stories for film-makers, he said: “It’s largely because they’re terrific stories. They’re perennially popular, like the stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood. You know there’s always going to be an audience for them … Plus they make money.”'


Sydney Wayser - Belfast Child.

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