Hollywood looks to the Bible for screenplay potential

From Mary Mother of Christ

From Mary Mother of Christ

The following comes from an Oct, 23 story on Religious News Service.

Studios and filmmakers are rediscovering a classic text as source material for upcoming mainstream films: the Bible.

Nearly 10 years after the blockbuster success of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which earned $611.9 million worldwide, studios are looking to the Good Book for good material.

Future films include:

  • LD Entertainment is financially backing  Resurrection, a drama set immediately after Jesus’ death and directed by Hatfields & McCoys director Kevin Reynolds.
  • Paramount will release Noah, a $125 million adaptation starring Russell Crowe in 2014.
  •  20th Century Fox is developing Exodus, a Moses film starring Christian Bale.
  • Warner Bros. has another Moses-themed film titled Gods And Kings, which Steven Spielberg flirted with directing.
  • Warner Bros. also is working on a film on Pontius Pilate, rumored to possibly include Brad Pitt.
  • Sony is producing Will Smith’s The Redemption of Cain, on the sibling rivalry of Cain and Abel.
  • Lionsgate has been developing Mary Mother of Christ, described as “a prequel to The Passion of the Christ” and rumored to include Ben Kingsley.

Alongside the string of upcoming Bible-related films, producers from the History channel’s The Bible miniseries just announced that the series’ film adaptation Son of God will be released in theaters nationwide in February with 20th Century Fox.

The couple behind the show, Mark Burnett and Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey, said mixing Hollywood and the Bible can be tricky.

“It’s not just some story,” said Burnett, who produces The Voice and Survivor. “There’s a price to pay for failing to stay on track and failing to get the right advisers.”

When showing it to a group of children, the couple said they were told one thing: “Please don’t make it lame.”

“It’s not enough to have good intentions,” said Downey, who plays Jesus’ mother Mary in the series. “It has to be told in a way that’s relevant to a contemporary audience.”

The couple have been able to reach across traditional religious divides in getting promotions; Downey is Catholic and Burnett considers himself a nondenominational Christian. Their efforts have received endorsements from religious leaders ranging from megachurch pastor Rick Warren to Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl….

To read the entire story, click here.



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  1. Father Karl says:

    In the golden age of Hollywood, wonderful films were made with biblical themes. Look at BEN HUR, QUO VADIS, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and many more. They were inspirational. Recently a film was made, and it portrayed Mary Magdaline at the Last Supper. This is a terrible error. If new films are produced, let us hope they will be like THE PASSION, and not flawed by modern and liberal ideas, which are more fiction than truth..

    • Ann Malley says:

      ‘The Nativity Story,’ that came out a few years ago – the same that many touted as so beautiful – undermines Church teachings about Our Lady with the whole ‘labor pains’ business and ‘sulky rebellious teen’ attitude. These things can be confusing at best. But as it said in the article, the push seems to be the attempt to “MAKE THE BIBLE RELEVANT”. That’s a huge mistake right there as the bible is very relevant as is, without Hollywood’s ‘well intended’ interjections.

      Unfortunately, the old ‘Catholic’ movies I’ve seen aren’t necessarily all that perfect either. ‘The Robe’ tagged Marcellus the Roman with paying the 30 pieces of silver for Christ. This is a huge error. ‘The Ten Commandments,’ despite my campy love of Chuck Heston, portrays Moses in an inappropriate manner both with his answer to God’s call and his supposed relationship with Nefertiri.

      You might want to try watching ‘Moses’ with Ben Kingsley. It’s more biblically sound. And I’d love your opinion of it.

    • You are correct.
      Hollywood cannot be trusted to teach the TRUTH through their movies.

      We should all read the Bible, and
      the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”.

      ” The Church never takes faith for granted, but knows that this gift of God needs to be nourished and reinforced so that it can continue to guide her pilgrim way.”
      ” Read in this light, the prophetic text leads to one conclusion: we need knowledge, we need truth, because without these we cannot stand firm, we cannot move forward. Faith without truth does not save, it does not provide a sure footing.”
      ” These, then, are the four elements which comprise the storehouse of memory which the Church hands down: the profession of faith, the celebration of the sacraments, the path of the ten commandments, and prayer.
      The Church’s catechesis has traditionally been structured around these four elements;
      this includes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is a fundamental aid for that unitary act with which the Church communicates the entire content of her faith: “all that she herself is, and all that she believes”. “ – Pope Francis (Encyclical Letter LUMEN FIDEI, 2013)

  2. Anton L Seidl says:

    I have an instinctive dislike for Hollywood and find it strange that after the steady stream of disgusting filth and bilge coming out of tinsel town the movie moguls should suddenly discover that perhaps “wholesome” films might not only benefit our culture as a whole but also their bottom line. The shabby treatment they accorded Mel Gibson when he made ” The Passion of the Christ” and the blacklisting of Jim Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus, shall forever remain in my memory. They would have to produce a truly authentic and inspiring religious film before I would spend a dime to see it. Their credibility with me is nil.

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