• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Nativity News vol.14

    Queen Spoo is doing a bang up job of keeping on top of all the various interviews and articles that are being written on The Nativity Story. I guess it will be pretty crazy on this front between now and the middle of December.

    Leading the charge is Christianity Today Magazine, who have an impressively large online film section. They have another interview with writer Mike Rich (Holy Family Man)and a look at the Music and Marketing for "Nativity" which reveals that the score for the film will be available on Dec. 5. There's also an interview with producer Wyck Godfrey called For Unto us a Film is Born. I'm not quite sure what to make of this part of the interview with Godfrey

    CT: That sounds like one of a number of "God things" you could point to along the way.
    Godfrey: Yes. The probability of being able to pull this off in such a short amount of time is so small that you just start to say, "It's ordained. There's a power behind getting this thing done. And it's not ours."
    At first I was really cynical about this answer, when someone making a film targeted at a Christian audience starts making claims like this I get a bit nervous. I remembered having similar misgivings about some of Mel Gibson's claims in the run up to The Passion of the Christ like his claim that "the Holy Ghost was working through me on this film".1 If film-makers claim that God is behind their film it makes it difficult for anyone to criticise it, particularly those within the church. But then I realised that Godfrey is really only responding to a very leading question from CT, almost as if they desperately want to hear that God is behind the film (Please see the edited note regarding this comment). In that context, Godfrey's answer actually plays things down a little. CT are specific about who is doing what in the film. Godfrey isn't placing any bets.

    There's also a piece on Shohreh Aghdashloo called Getting Biblical: Shohreh Aghdashloo's New Epic Drama in Payvand (a free press Iranian news site). It does make me wonder though at how few interviews etc. there seem to be with the actors in this film. Queen Spoo posted one with Alexander Siddig (Gabriel) 6 weeks ago, but other than this short piece with Keisha Castle-Hughes which was part of a larger piece by Christianity Today (again!) there's been very little. Obviously Castle-Hughes is pregnant now, and presumably is still trying to do her best at school, but it seems strange that, say, Oscar Isaac who plays Joseph hasn't been interviewed, he's hardly a major name, but then who had heard of Mike Rich a year ago?

    There are also a few other overviews of this film. The New York Times gives it a fairly detailed write up in a piece called They Have Seen the Light, and it is Green which includes interviews with Hardwicke, Rich, and producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen. CNN also mentions as part of a preview of forthcoming Christmas movies Claus. Santa Claus. (And other holiday film stars). There are a few more articles in the Christian press as well. Oscar Isaac is on the front page of Catholic Digest, and there's a brief overview in Christian Post Reporter called "Nativity Story" to hit the big holiday screen.

    There are a couple of marketing developments as well. The poster for the movie has now been released, which is surprisingly different from the promotional images that have been used thus far. The iconic silhouette of Mary, Joseph and donkey up against the skyline is part of the image, but the poster manages to draw attention to various aspects of it without over-emphasising one. Queen Spoo also has a
    link to the German trailer and a few more pictures from the film.

    You can read all my posts on this film from my Nativity Story Central Page.

    EDIT: Having written this post on Thursday I began to regret this part of this post, in particular the phrase "they desperately want to hear that God is behind the film". My regret was solidified when Mark Moring who conducted this interview emailed me to clarify the actual situation as below
      "this is an edited interview, a 10,000-word, 90-minute interview knocked down to about 20% of that. Wyck Godfrey had been discussing a number of "God things" along the way; he had initiated the talk about seeing how God had worked through a number of things."
    For me, that puts the phrase in a very different context, and given that this is a conversation between two Christians, primarily for a Christian publication it's certainly a fair question. So apologies to Mark, and Christianity Today for my hasty appraisal. I usually try to be measured and balanced, and I missed the mark on this occasion.

    1 - Kamon Simpson; The Gazette (Colorado Springs); Jun 27, 2003; pg. A.1

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    • At 5:19 am, November 10, 2006, Blogger RC said…

      i get excited when i see info on this movie just because I think aghadashloo is a great actress and i'm excited to see her in this role.

      --RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

    • At 11:53 am, November 13, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      I've only really seen her in House of Sand and Fog, which, coincidentally, I saw the same afternoon that I first saw The Passion of the Christ (in the same cinema). But I've only heard good things abot her. The cast, generally, looks pretty solid.


    • At 10:43 pm, November 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      I've been reading this blog all along and it seems like you're going a good job! So thanks.
      I also think the lack of promotion is a little fishy. I have yet to see a trailer on TV or any of the actors / catherine promoting the film. And I know Keisha is filming a new movie soooo who knows?
      Anyway, keep up the good work.


    • At 9:09 am, November 23, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks for your thoughts Megan. FWIW, CT have now published an interview with Oscar Isaac.


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