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A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Exactly a month before Noah and his ark arrive, another Bible-based movie is hitting the big screen, and this one already has earned the stamp of approval from religious leaders.
Son of God (Feb. 28, Fox) features a mix of new and used footage from History’s hit miniseries The Bible — which averaged 11.4 million viewers during its five-week run and became the top-selling miniseries on DVD of all time — to tell the story of Jesus Christ. Husband-and-wife producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey involved key Christian figures in the production, including evangelical pastor Rick Warren and Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the Hispanic Evangelical Alliance.
STORY: Rough Seas on ‘Noah, ‘Darren Aronofsky Opens Up on the Biblical Battle to Woo Christians
“We took this very seriously, so we involved all of these advisers from the very, very beginning,” says Burnett of the film, which stars Diogo Morgado as Christ. Son of God already is being added to the curriculums of at least three Christian and Catholic programs in the U.S. And Burnett, the reality TV mogul behind Survivor and The Apprentice, appeared with Downey at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 6 to preview 30 minutes of footage and pass out posters.
Fox has another Bible-based movie coming Dec. 12. Exodus, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses, follows the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt. Details are scarce on the Chernin Entertainment and Scott Free Productions-produced project, but sources tell THR that Scott, an avowed agnostic, has chosen an unconventional depiction of God in the film. If so, it faces the same challenge in wooing religious audiences as Noah does.
“From what we know of the film, the creative decisions made will be satisfying to Aronofsky fans,” says Mark Joseph, who has marketed faith-based movies. “The open question is whether they’ll be satisfying to fans of Noah and the Bible.”
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