• 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


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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Why Christ the Lord Film Failed

    During the first year and a half of running this blog, there was quite a bit of talk about Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" being adapted for the big screen. All that came to an end in August 2007 with the announcement in Christianity Today that the project was not going to "move forward".

    Fast forward to 2009 and a Boston Globe story on producer David Kirkpatrick which includes some more detail about why this project never made it.
    Rice had planned to sell Kirkpatrick the rights to her novel "Christ the Lord", which Good News executives were counting on to show that the new company was a force in movie-making. But Rice angrily withdrew when he didn’t pay her.

    'David, you broke my heart', she wrote in a scathing e-mail, obtained by the Spotlight Team.


    Good News had no way to pay for the $263,420 advertising package - those bills still haven’t been paid. Good News had less chance of finding the $40 million Kirkpatrick estimated that it would cost to film a movie about Christ on location in Israel. But the publicity of the Kirkpatrick-Rice alliance was valuable, boosting the company’s profile as it prepared to raise funds for its own movie studio in Massachusetts.

    Rice withdrew from the Christ the Lord project a few weeks after the ads ran because, she said, Kirkpatrick repeatedly rebuffed her requests for payment and did not seem to be preparing for movie production. She fired off a scorching e-mail after he began writing her letters that, she felt, were an attempt to bully her.

    'As I look back on it now, the entire enterprise on your part looks like a scheme', Rice wrote in an e-mail in May 2007. 'Did you have some idea that you could draw me deeper and deeper into the project and then make a demand on me for funds?’

    Kirkpatrick said that the split with Rice was painful, that he eventually attempted to pay her, but too late. Rice, reached by e-mail, declined to comment...
    Thanks to Peter Chattaway for this one.

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    • At 5:59 pm, November 27, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      So much to comment on here - but suffice to say that there is ALWAYS more to the story.
      Taking the Boston Globe article at face value is mistake #1.

      Taking the Anne Rice letter out of context is mistake #2 (and there is MUCH more context to this).

      And assuming that the movie was a ploy to publicize a movie studio that hadn't even been considered in 2005 (when the Rice deal started to come together) is mistake #3.

      I look forward to the day when we as believers don't necessarily believe every negative thing we hear or read about each other. What was it that the writer of Acts said - 'they will know we are Christians by our love.' Not that we give each other a free pass when we don't deserve it.

      But how about not repeating half-truths about each other until personally verified? Or trying to get statements from those involved?

      Oh and the "advertising package" has been paid down.

    • At 6:27 pm, November 27, 2009, Blogger Matt Page said…

      That's fair comment, and I guess that's why I tried to present the relevant excerpts in as neutral manner as possible.

      Thanks for providing some useful balance though. You are correct that I know very little about the rights and wrongs of this saga.



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