I didn’t read it so I don’t know but it looks like Christopher Columbus, the guy behind the Home Alone movies and some of the Harry Potter movies is producing Anne Rice’s book “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” for theaters.
Hollywood and Christianity together? What could go wrong?
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this. My initial reaction is why on earth could this possibly be good. And then I thought about making fun of it by wondering if the movie would be a mixture of Home Alone and the book. Maybe focus on the time when Jesus stayed behind in the temple and Mary and Joseph couldn’t find him. But then I got bored with that thought ’cause it’s kind of a cheap shot anyway.
I do seem to remember some good reviews on this book when it came out -before Rice’s very public breakup note with Catholicism. I also seem to remember it was written in the first person by Jesus and that kinda’ freaked me out a bit. I mean, there’s just so many pitfalls to this kind of thing. It’s so easy to get something mind blowingly wrong even with the best of intentions.
I didn’t read it so I don’t know how it is. If you did, please let me know what you think.
But even if the book is good that doesn’t mean the movie will be worth anything.
So I looked up the director Cyrus Nowrasteh and it turns out he directed “The Stoning of Soraya M” with Jim Caviezel which was actually a pretty amazing and terrifying movie. So maybe there’s hope.
What are you guys thinking?
December 6, 2011 at 10:39 pm
If they'd kept Columbus on the Harry Potter films, we would've been spared Alfonso Cabron (uh, Cuaron) and his "never read the book, and I also hate establishing shots" third film.
On the other hand, Anne Rice was an average writer when she wrote the vampire books (I mean relative to other vampire softcore writers); she's simply not good enough for anything headier, even if she wasn't a wackjob.
December 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm
I've read the book. Jesus is just a scared little boy for a majority of the story. If a movie were made it might be good in the sense of the world, but I doubt it would shed any light on why people should look to Christ and believe in him.
December 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm
I read the book shortly after it was published. It is obviously speculative in that it deals with Jesus as a youth and the only canonical mention of this time frame is Him staying behind in the temple. It draws on several stories that are somewhat well known apocrypha. Jesus is portrayed as a boy coming to grips with power that He as a human does not yet understand. It embraces the idea of Jesus possessing a complete human nature in addition to His divine nature and rejects entirely the idea that Jesus was just disguised as a human. He is young, emotional, and certainly not always in charge or even completely in control of His divine ability. That may be disconcerting to some, as it was to me, but there is nothing unorthodox in it. There is certainly nothing disrespectful in the portrayal of Jesus that Rice puts forward and has the feel of something written by someone genuinely and intensely grappling with her understanding of Him. Any time Hollywood thinks of taking on a Jesus centered project I get concerned, but the underlying source material is not outside the realm of orthodoxy and Chris Columbus and his 1492 production company have a good reputation. Read the book.
December 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm
Hollywood + Christianity generally = mindless crap these days. So no interest here.
December 7, 2011 at 12:19 am
I read it when it came out and it wasn't bad. There is, of course, always some danger when writing fiction about God.
On the other hand, I thought that she handled with some interesting sensitivity, Jesus learning about his own Divinity.
Then again – who knows what they could do in the screenplay.
December 7, 2011 at 1:21 am
The book was entertaining reading.
I did not find anything blasphemous about it.
Mrs. Rice is a lost soul that needs much prayer.
Please pray for her and others similarly situated.
December 7, 2011 at 1:25 am
I read the book when it came out, and I thought it was good. I didn't know Rice was Catholic when she wrote it, but I surmised that fact from her very Catholic treatment of the Holy Family. If the movie script follows the book it will be fine.
December 7, 2011 at 2:24 am
If Jesus did not understand His Divinity and His humanity how is it possible for Christ to give informed consent to die for us? "I lay down my life, no one takes it from me." To suggest that Jesus did not know what He was getting into when He became man and took on human nature is wrong.
December 7, 2011 at 3:49 am
I read her book. At that point in her life she seemed to be striving sincerely to return to the Catholic faith, and she made a serious effort to make a well-written and historically accurate account of the childhood of Christ.
I could critique it on many levels, but I think she made a conscious effort to present a portrait of Jesus that is artistically crafted and theologically orthodox. Did she succeed? Well, I found it a little too "sentimental" to be a great work of art, although she is a very competent writer. Theologically, I am not sure she says anything overtly heretical, although she leaves open some ambiguity about Jesus' self-knowledge.
She used a legitimate amount of artistic license and imagination to supply characters and dialogue, which are of her own making, but which are mostly (maybe entirely) within what is historically possible and orthodox. She seems to have done her "homework" in researching many points of history and theology.
But the poor woman never really made it back to the Catholic faith in its entirety, and after writing her novels about Christ, she has very publicly renounced the Church and her faith in it. Her deep antipathy to the Catholic faith will necessarily color and "spin" how the movie will be produced. Hollywood knows this. I do not have great hopes for what Hollywood and an angry, lapsed Catholic will produce.
December 8, 2011 at 1:10 am
though I have many reservations about the outcome of this movie I must say that Anne Rice's treatment of the Holy Family in her 2 "Christ the Lord" series — along with other factors — brought me to Catholicism! I think they are very well done and powerful.
December 9, 2011 at 12:58 am
Frankly, our conception of our own humanity is so warped, that any attempt, by us, to write a "humanized" Jesus is simply going to involve a lot of blasphemous reading of our own failings into his perfection.
Also, the incarnate Logos—the Divine Intellect—would not have the hemming, hawing, and self-doubt that people seem to think constitute "characterization". Most of that nonsense is just a form of "Idiot Plot" even when dealing with normal human characters; it's ridiculous when dealing with Christ.
Remember what a wussified mess those hacks made of Aragorn, when they made the Lord of the Rings movies?
December 9, 2011 at 2:10 am
I understand your concern after films like The Last Temptation (which is great except for the confused, weakling Jesus character stuff from Kazantzakis' book) BUT even the Gospels inform us that Jesus was fully human and had a moment of weakness in the garden. So I think you may be a bit over sensitive here.
I can say with CONFIDENCE that this film will NOT reflect what people refer to as the "Hollywood take" on matters religious. I can't say how I know at this time, but I KNOW this as fact.
December 9, 2011 at 7:16 am
He had a moment of emotional fear, he had no doubts. Too many people nowadays, and since the Renaissance, are Platonists: they assume that failure is due to lack of knowledge. Hence all our stupid claptrap about "finding yourself" and "raising awareness…and none of it does any good, since it's not enough to know the good or the evil, if one lacks the will to do (or avoid/prevent) it.
Christ, who was knowledge itself (John 1:1), had no failure in knowledge of what his mission was; his will faltered. The real world works like Aristotelian ethics, not Platonist.
December 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm
@David: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?" Jesus knew.
December 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm
@Anonymous: "I can say with CONFIDENCE that this film will NOT reflect what people refer to as the "Hollywood take" on matters religious. I can't say how I know at this time, but I KNOW this as fact." If the book is wrong how can Hollywood make it right?