Paul Verhoeven Finds Backing And A Writer For Controversial Jesus Christ Movie
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Once the talkies came, though, filmmakers began to shy away from the theme. Depicting Jesus was one thing, but making him talk? Who would play him? Surely an American accent would not be appropriate, and what if he ended up being played by someone from New York? In sand-and-sandals epics like The Robe and Ben-Hur , it became the custom to film Jesus either from behind, from far away or out of camera altogether, leaving Victor Mature and Charlton Heston to register on their awestruck faces their encounters with divinity.
This was the first major Hollywood talkie to show Christ's face, but some critics were not happy with what they saw, arguing that Hunter looked too young to be taken seriously in the role. However, others praised his performance, and Ray ambitiously mounted vast re-enactments of incidents like the Sermon on the Mount.
This was the Gospels writ large, with Christ played by the six-foot-four Swede, Max Von Sydow, supported by a stellar cast.
5 Celebrities Who Brought Jesus to Hollywood
Chuck Heston was John the Baptist; Telly Savalas was Pontius Pilate; and if that wasn't funny enough for you, there was John Wayne dressed as a centurion, staring up at the cross and muttering that immortal line, "Truly he is the son a' gawd". It was risible, and stilted, though Von Sydow made an interesting Christ. Only a year before that, Pier Paolo Pasolini had made a far more serious and accomplished film about Jesus.
In The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Pasolini memorably re-enacted the Passion in the arid landscape of the Italian south, using a cast of amateurs and casting an unknown year-old Spanish student called Enrique Irazoqui as the man himself.
Jesus of Hollywood - acstonypispoe.tk
Pasolini was a known communist, so some were surprised by the reverence of his film, but the director had been impressed by the reforms of Vatican II and commented that he was "an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for belief". In the '70s, it was as though Jesus had turned to his disciples and said 'Hey fellas -- let's put on a show! Dating even less well is the other Jesus musical, Godspell. Filmed in New York and also based on a stage musical, the film starred Victor Garber as a hepcat Jesus preaching in Central Park, complete with a Superman T-shirt and afro hairdo.
It was deeply embarrassing.