In searching out Old Testament films made in this decade for yesterday's post I found one I forgotten about - One Night with the King, a soon to be released film about Esther. (Thanks to Tyler Williams for his excellent Old Testament on Film list).
Anyway, I did a bit of information seeking about the film. It's got a very impressive cast list. Although Tiffany Dupont (who plays Esther) is unknown to me, Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole are major stars, albeit of yesteryear, whilst John Rhys Davies (from the Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings trilogies), and John Noble (also from Lord of the Rings) are also established actors. The only worrying name on the cast list is Luke Goss, who's best known to Britons as the drummer from Bros.. Apart from anything he really doesn't look the part of King Xerxes (Goss is blonde).
The official site for the film contains a four minute trailer, stills, a bit on the story, a cast list, and some making of documentaries which I've not had the chance to watch yet. They also seem to be trying to replicate the marketing strategy of The Passion (as did the marketing team for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) by encouraging people to sign up as volunteers to market the film. As this is a film with appeal to Christians and Jews they talk about how they want the film to "inspire a godly world-view through the entertainment medium", which doesn't have quite the same edge as the hard sell The Passion's marketing team were able to give their film.
There are a few other sites of interest. There is a decent unofficial fan site - www.queen-esther-movie.com, and an early article on the film from The Guardian, which reveals a interesting few details (such as the fact that the film cost $16m to make), before focusing in on O'Toole and Shairf. The Guardian claims this film is the first time they have worked together since Lawrence of Arabia (although the IMDB lists three others).
Two further things I'd like to highlight. Firstly, the release date for the film was put back a whole year. Originally set for release around Easter in 2005, it was moved back to September, and then to Christmas, and now it seems the release date will be March 2006 - in time for the Jewish festival of Purim.
Secondly, the source material for the book seems to be Tommy Tenney's novel Hadassah: One Night With The King. This suggests many things. Tenney is a evangelical Christian writer, best known for his book "The God Chasers" - a book I have a number of concerns about (although I admit I have never actually read it). This confirms the impression I got from the official site that this is not only a film aimed at the devout, but made by the devout. Indeed Gener8Xion was also responsible for making Christian Movie The Omega Code.
There's some discussion of this film at Arts and Faith, and blog post from Peter Chattaway.