The epic story of Jesus will be quickly followed by another blockbuster starring Russell Crowe as Noah and Anthony Hopkins as his grandfather, Methuselah. At a cost exceeding $130 million, the producers have spared little expense to recreate the dramatic events of Noah’s day. The film’s producer Scott Franklin told Entertainment Weekly, “I think we stayed very true to the story and didn’t deviate from the Bible.”
After pondering our survival of near extinction through the flood, audiences will have to wait until December for the next Biblical epic when Christian Bale portrays Moses in a re-make of The Exodus. Sigourney Weaver will play Pharaoh’s wife who raised Moses in Pharaoh’s court. 20th Century Fox promises a new take on the classic story. How accurate it may be to the Biblical account remains to be seen.
At the end of the year Hollywood will release, “Mary, Mother of Christ.” A movie that has been described as a prequel to Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” The movie will focus on Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph’s struggle between his love for Mary and social pressure to abandon her, the birth at Bethlehem, Herod’s vicious efforts to kill the child, their visit to Jerusalem, flight to Egypt and return to Nazareth.
Ben Kingsley will play Herod and Peter O’Toole, will play Simeon, the Jerusalem prophet who recognized the Christ child and predicted his future. O’Toole came out of retirement to make the cameo appearance shortly before he died. In an interview with the New York Times, O’Toole, who left organized religion years ago, said, “No one can take Jesus away from me.”
We would be naïve to conclude that Hollywood has experienced a deep religious conversion. As always, Hollywood is motivated by profit at the box office. Apparently Hollywood recognizes, sometimes more than churches, that people have an insatiable hunger for historic stories that help us understand human nature and God’s character. Like the Apostle Paul, those of us who believe can say, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18).