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Son of God' takes different tack than 'Passion


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ten years after "The Passion of the Christ," Jesus is returning to movie theatres with a gentler, more inclusive approach.

"Son of God," spun out of the hugely successful "The Bible" miniseries, plays up the political maneuvering that led to the crucifixion. It won an endorsement from the Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman, one of the Jewish leaders who denounced Mel Gibson's 2004 blockbuster "Passion."

"Clearly we were aware of the controversy that had been created around that film," actress and executive producer Roma Downey said in a recent interview. "If everything begins with intention, our heart on 'Son of God' was to find the places that we could bring people together."

Gibson famously self-financed and distributed his ultra-violent "Passion" in 2004. It became a box office hit but was criticized by some reviewers and religious leaders for its depiction of Jews.

Downey's husband, "The Voice" and "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett, said the Christian filmmaking team reached out specifically to other faiths to tell the story of the life of Jesus - played with an air of bemused dignity by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado - without causing offense.

"It just took a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of listening over a number of years to see everybody's point of view and how to not take the teeth out of the story - the dynamic drama from the story - but be sensitive across groups," Burnett said. "Because there's very different interpretations across the Catholic faith and the Protestant faith and the Jewish faith."

Using footage shot during production of History Channel's ten-part miniseries "The Bible," the film being released Friday spends much of its final half examining maneuvering by Jerusalem's military governor, Pontius Pilate, and Judean high priest Caiaphas.

"It's like 'House of Cards' in many ways," Burnett said. "They're all humans living their lives ... Pilate is scared of Caesar and what Rome might do. Caiaphas is scared of Pilate and losing the whole temple and their faith. It's a real political thriller with tension which explodes at Passover in Jerusalem."

Burnett credits his miniseries, which garnered strong ratings and broke DVD and Blu-ray sales records last year, with this year's flurry of biblical films from major Hollywood studios.

"You've got to believe that the enormity of 'The Bible' series had other biblical productions speed up," he said.

Darren Aronofsky's take on "Noah," starring Russell Crowe, is coming next month, and Ridley Scott's "Exodus," with Christian Bale, is due out in December.

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antlerpaul February 28 2014 at 2:47 PM

Recycling TV mini-series footage into Movie? Slicker than the money changers in the temple!!!

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ajafullmn February 28 2014 at 6:58 PM

won't see the movie, but I always wonder why they never use a Jewish actor who actually might look ethnically similar to Jesus. Blonde, blue eyed Jew. I doubt it. But they ALWAYS show Joseph with the correct ethnic look.

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3 replies
ltcolrdfusmc February 28 2014 at 6:52 PM

If you say, “But there is no proof God is real. Or it's hard to believe.” It is NOT hard to believe at all, it makes total sense! Evolution does NOT! Ok, let’s think about that statement for a minute. If you want “proof of God,” look in the mirror! You are created in his image! Are you are so delusional that you actually believe you are just a fluke? An absolute accident of nature? How is it possible that you came into existence without a master designer? It takes intelligence to create something as simple as an arrowhead, why does it not take so much more to create something as complex as a human being or any other animal? If you, like all evolutionists/atheists think that something as complex as the human brain or nerve system or an eye can come into existence and work together without intelligent design then you are an absolute retard! How did the very first eye come into existence when before it none existed? Who “designed” it? A single cell has no brain! Evolutionists believe we all evolved from pond scum over 100 million years ago. So I ask you again how does a cell without a brain, without the intelligent ability to design or create blue prints ever become something other than what it is? Here is a question you will like how did nature create the very first penis when none existed before? Or how about the first vagina? Why did “mother nature” make reproduction possible only by procreation requiring 1 male and 1 female? The answer is in the very first sentence of the Bible, “In the beginning God!

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2 replies
rzick ltcolrdfusmc February 28 2014 at 6:56 PM

What a load of non-critical thinking.

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2 replies
ltcolrdfusmc rzick February 28 2014 at 7:04 PM

Atheists, how does it make you feel, knowing that we are “one nation under God?
Don’t atheists rely on faith, because they can’t prove God doesn’t exist? Atheists say God does not exist, so the burden of proof is on them. Atheists will often argue that "Atheism isn't belief. Atheism is the lack of belief." This is nothing more than a play on words. "Lack of belief" is a pretty subjective phrase.
If you say that atheism is supported by the lack of evidence for God, then it is only your opinion that there is no evidence. You cannot know all evidence for or against God; therefore you cannot say there is no evidence for God. If you lack belief in God, then why do you go around attacking the idea of God? On what basis do you believe there is no God?

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ltcolrdfusmc rzick February 28 2014 at 7:07 PM

Can you describe one natural process that creates information? What evidence is there that information, such as that in DNA, could ever assemble itself? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tells the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It's made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!If astronomers received an intelligent signal from some distant galaxy, most people would conclude that it came from an intelligent source. Why then doesn’t the vast information sequence in the DNA molecule of just a bacterium also imply an intelligent source?

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dws51564 ltcolrdfusmc February 28 2014 at 7:01 PM

I think you should look up what proof is Skippy.

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1 reply
ltcolrdfusmc dws51564 February 28 2014 at 7:10 PM

The atheist can't find God for the same reason that a thief can't find a policeman.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

Some people complain because God puts thorns on roses, while others praise God for putting roses among thorns.
If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.

God exist whether or not men choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God. Still, even the most admirable of atheists is nothing more than a moral parasite, living his life based on borrowed ethics. This is why, when pressed, the atheist will often attempt to hide his lack of conviction in his own beliefs behind some poorly formulated utilitarianism, or argue that he acts out of altruistic self-interest. But this is only post-facto rationalization, not reason or rational behavior.

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steve February 28 2014 at 3:15 PM

I was disappointed once again with these ALL white looking Jesus and all the white character in the movie. OH! there was two black men in the movie. And why wasn't there 4 or five Wise men visiting baby Jesus. The people in these "Jesus" movie should look like the native of the countries. Son of God was made in Morocco, I was there for six months and the people were NOT blonde and blue eyed.

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7 replies
geochef64 February 28 2014 at 3:16 PM

Christians will continue to fall short in their quest to worship God until they free themselves from prejudice and are able to worship the true image of the Son of God. A man who would have looked more like Bin Ladin than the image hanging on the cross in 90% of churches.

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1 reply
Benmgb geochef64 February 28 2014 at 3:26 PM

No kidding... ask the gays in Arizona...

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1 reply
Floymin Benmgb February 28 2014 at 3:46 PM

That's implying that gays are the only intelligent, open-minded culture in America. Kinda harsh.

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mariposa halleo February 28 2014 at 6:27 PM

Hi, hope they make a movie aout EASTER too. Or lives of SAINTS, like MARIA GORRETTI; they would be the role models we and even the children need

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privas99 February 28 2014 at 6:20 PM

I cnnnot wait to see it....This actor will go places, he is perfect for Jesus, and (please block the stupid assinine money scam ads! ! ! ! SICK of them.) The movie will perhaps make believers of the non believers.....The clips are nothing short of beautiful, WE NEED MORE OF THIS and less of the convoluted Hollywood violence, mayhem and merciless assaults on whatever sanity is left in this country. Cheers for Roma Downey & her husband for producing such an EPIC, WE NEED THIS ! ! ! !

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Your Grace February 28 2014 at 3:20 PM

"It just took a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of listening over a number of years to see everybody's point of view and how to not take the teeth out of the story - the dynamic drama from the story - but be sensitive across groups," Burnett said. "Because there's very different interpretations across the Catholic faith and the Protestant faith and the Jewish faith."

Naturally, the Eastern Orthodox Church was once again ignored and not consulted as to their "interpretation."

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meemeepit February 28 2014 at 3:21 PM

and no comment here because I am so wondering and asking MYSELF why oh why are you even reading this ????!!!!!

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boots February 28 2014 at 6:18 PM

I loved the "Bible," mini-series, althought i thought it didn't take enough time to thouroughly take a look at the differt stories-If the movie has enough new stuff and goes more in depth-with a little more money for special effect (after all, God didn't hold back on His spending) ,, then I'll go see it-if not, I'll just replay the series. Good job though.

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