• 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


    Friday, December 07, 2007

    More on BBC/HBO's Passion

    See all posts on this film
    (I know I'm using the same photo two posts running, but it's the only one there is so far, and, well, I really like it).

    Mark Goodacre, who has acted as the historical consultant for HBO/BBC's The Passion has posted a few comments on Tuesday's press release. The first of his recent posts includes the following:
    A couple of minor comments. First, this story is widely reported today with the error that it is five episodes. It is actually six. Second, when the press release above says "Easter Week", it should read "Holy Week". I assume that it will run from Monday-Good Friday + Easter Sunday.

    More substantively, I am happy to report that I have seen rough edits of the first two episodes and they are really excellent. I am very excited about this, having been involved with this project as a consultant for just over two years. In due course, I would like to tell the story of the project from the sidelines of my small contribution. At this stage, though, I should not be revealing any of its secrets, so my story will have to wait
    Then on Wednesday he added
    don't think it's quite right to say that it "rehabilitates Pilate" though it is the case that all the characters in the drama are well-drawn, three-dimensional characters. I would also doubt that the depiction of the resurrection will "anger Christian groups" in the US, though you can never predict these things. I have not yet seen the episode, but what I can say on the basis of the scripts and the extensive discussions about them is that it is depicted in a very interesting and fresh way, quite unlike anything in previous Jesus films.
    He's also linked to articles in the press featuring in The Sun, The Times, This is London, Inspire Magazine, Variety, World Screen, Hollywood Reporter, The Stage and The Guardian.

    There are a few interesting bits of commentary in amongst the usual re-hashing of the press release. Incidentally, on Tuesday I omitted to mention that there are a few additional comments on the BBC's winter / spring schedule which was released the same day.I also wanted to add a few comments by Nigel Stafford-Clark (pictured above) on casting. I've alluded to this previously, but wanted to use it for a print article I was writing on the story. It's a snippet taken from his interview at the MP3 of the 2007 Churches Media Conference. Asked about the casting of Jesus, and whether there will be any star names he replies:
    The general idea is that the people who are the authority figures, the people who would have been known names to the world in which we're moving, will be played by well known actors. Jesus and the disciples will be mainly played by actors who are not so well known...it's important that when they arrive at the beginning of the week that they are, to some extent, unknown quantities, as they were when they arrived at the beginning of that week.
    One further point on all of this, someone called notes that
    It sounds rather similar to Channel 4's 1992 drama An Incident in Judea which was an adaption of the Pilate section from The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. An Incident in Judea is probably the best drama I have seen on tv so I hope this is as good. (C4 please repeat Incident at Easter)
    I vaguely remember this programme happening, but I don't think I actually saw it (I was only 17 at the time). It does sound interesting, although I think that Jesus didn't appear on screen.

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    • At 12:38 pm, December 07, 2007, Blogger Mark Goodacre said…

      Thanks for those comments, Matt. I may have been wrong about the six episodes, however. I received a "locked" version of Ep. 1 yesterday and it was a full 55 minutes, so it may be that they are now planning to go with an hour opener + 4 eps. of 30 minutes each. I haven't heard yet if this is the case; it's just speculation.

    • At 2:38 pm, July 13, 2009, Blogger Paul Bryers said…

      I was looking for an image from 'Incident in Judea' to use in some publicity material and came across these comments. I was the director of the film, having adapted the script from the novel 'The Master and Margarita' by Mikhael Bulgakov, and it did feature Jesus, or Yeshua, who was played by Mark Rylance. John Woodvine played Pilate.


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