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Son of God' takes different tack than 'Passion



By RYAN PEARSON

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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
eck360 February 28 2014 at 4:44 PM

I saw "The Passion of the Christ" and didn't think there much grounds for the Anti-Defamation League to denounce the movie. There were good and bad characters from all people groups, just like today.

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Wayne February 28 2014 at 9:12 PM

There is no way hollywood or anyone can show the glory and magnificents of the Son of God, But this is a good thing they did with this show, some people will only know of Jesus from this film. I pray it will make them want to know more.

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3 replies
screamingeagleaz February 28 2014 at 9:11 PM

Christianity has been twisted into something unlike real Christianity. Take a really good Art History class and you will see how they have changed the image of Jesus over the centuries for PR reasons.
To know what Christ's birthday really was, you have to go back to the Jewish calendar. Jesus was a Jew and had the hair, eyes, and skin color of a typical Jew. He did not have long hair and he was clean shaven because he was not married. There was a Jesus and you have to go back to his time to understand what true Christianity was and still is. You have to go back to the root of it.

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1 reply
prohunting247 screamingeagleaz February 28 2014 at 10:35 PM

Yes! The birth of Christ is celebrated at the wrong time! In December the sheep cannot be outside in that region of the globe. Don't even need the jewish calendar.

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1 reply
davidp111 prohunting247 February 28 2014 at 11:05 PM

so what did the sheep do in December? Head to Miami?

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rrtallon February 28 2014 at 2:50 PM

I plan to see it and am hopeful that it is a good one. When it was said that "Passion" cast the Jews in a bad light, it is what it is. When the Gospels refer to "The Jews" it means the Jewish authorities of the time and the entrenched Pharisees and Sadducees. All the "good guys" in that story are Jews also. All the first Christians were Jews, including Jesus, so it is silly to say that Jesus' enemies were Jews in the sense that all Jews were against Him. Similarly, real Christians do not blame Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that He was sacrificed for ALL our sins and to open the way back home for ALL of us. I am as guilty as any of them, so I cannot blame them more than myself. The scripture had to be fulfilled, and it was.

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4 replies
thlaf February 28 2014 at 8:44 PM

Can't wait to see it.

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jamesdw926 February 28 2014 at 3:43 PM

Realy Are we going to do this again.

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psychjet February 28 2014 at 8:32 PM

My Jesus does not have a face - he was a man but then ascended into heaven. It would be more meaningful to show the story through the eyes of Jesus - never show his face - just his voice and what he saw.

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Lee February 28 2014 at 5:20 PM

Some people not going to agree to anything, why waste your breath. I saw the movie and I was very HAPPY TO SEE IT! I'm not going to judge no one about there opinion on here, but for me, IT WAS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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1 reply
Gayla Lee February 28 2014 at 8:22 PM

THANK YOU LEE, FOR YOUR OPINION, GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER.

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James February 28 2014 at 3:37 PM

Regardless what people think of any of these films and their characters. Ask yourself what does God think? He has a mind and a wisdom of what really transpired in those days. He was there through it all. Are these multimillion dollar movies anything at all of what really happened? You see the people of today think they are brilliant and they have a purpose of chasing down artifacts for entertainment. But God doesn't take to lightly what is being said, when its far from the truth. I don't care what all these actors look like, or what their producer is portraying in reference the Jews or whatever. He wasn't there, but God was, in Spirit and in truth. And I'll never watch these trashy Hollywood representations of something that they cannot follow the full truth about. Patronizing the Jews today, to make up for what they did back then. Is even worse. I agree, the Romans did hang Jesus on the tree, but it was the Jews who said hang Him there. Their jealousy and misunderstanding of scripture. Led to The Son of God being condemned and murdered by the Jews....This movie is not a Christian movie, its a secular depiction of what Hollywood thinks of Christ. Not what real Holy Spirit filled believers do. If you are a Christian and you go see this movie. You are patronizing the same devil that hung Christ on the torture stake. Because what you are seeing is not what it is. Its a" light of darkness " in that theater that's betraying you. Do not take the money that God has given you and cast if before swine and the devil that created this film.

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2 replies
bba007 James February 28 2014 at 3:47 PM

God could care less, it is man that thinks he cares. After all man wrote the bible to fit the agenda.

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natalie James February 28 2014 at 3:49 PM

no they are NOY anything like actually happened, and they could have taken all that money and housed homeless, fed the poor and starving, and helped our veterans who are comming back to no jobs and are horribly handicapped, buy them track chairs, help them with disfigurement. i'm not supporting this movine at all....
JAMES I AGREE WITH YOU 100%

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Robertjfoley922 February 28 2014 at 6:08 PM

I think after all the Biblical movies that will be shown in 2014. That it would also be interesting to see movies about other religions. They pray and worship God just like the Christians and Jews do. So why can't we see thier religion and culture also. Like the life of Muhammad and the Islam Religion , Buddish, Latter day Saints.and all thier profets and people who started their religion also. I think it would bring more harmony to the world. Instead of just showing Bible pictures year after year. We all share space on this planet. Shouldn't we also share the knowledge and culture of all of our Religions and Cultures that go with it. Thank You Bob Foley . With a name like Foley you know that Im not pushing for a film of Buddism or Islam because I practice those religions. I would just like to see a movie showing those religions and cultures to make the people who practice those religions proud of who they are. Thank you.

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2 replies
hatpillbill Robertjfoley922 February 28 2014 at 6:13 PM

I would much rather see a movie about atheists

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1 reply
ricksgcoat hatpillbill February 28 2014 at 6:24 PM

Just watch the news

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STEPHAN Robertjfoley922 February 28 2014 at 6:30 PM

GOD,MUHAMMAD,ALLAH,ETC ARE THE SAME PERSON, MYTH, FAIRY TALE, WHO CREATED US HUMANS, SO WE ALL HAVE THE SAME GOD, THAT IS IF YOU EVEN BELIEVE IN A GOD, THERE WAS ALSO SANTA, FROSTY ETC, IM SURE YOU GET MY POINT, OH AND SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THE DEVIL, IS THE DEVIL FROM ONE RELIGION OR DO WE ALL HAVE A DEVIL TOO

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