8 Biblically-based epics to be excited about

Every now and then, a new trend will surface in Hollywood.  Whether the trend is zombies or remakes or antiheroes, these trends quickly spread to every corner of our culture.  This can often be for better or worse.  One example of how this could potentially be a good thing is an emerging trend of biblically-based movies and TV shows.  In the wake of the History Channel’s Bible miniseries, numerous studios and filmmakers are getting on board with projects inspired by stories from Scripture.

We’ve compiled a list of eight examples that are currently in the works.  While they all might be inspired by stories from the Bible, how closely they stick to those stories is an entirely different matter.  Either way, they will all undoubtedly fuel some interesting discussion in both Christian and secular circles alike.

Let us know in the comments which of these you’re most interested in seeing!

1. Noah

With a cast including the likes of Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Logan Lerman (to name a few), Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is shaping up to be pretty spectacular.  Don’t expect this to be the Noah you learned about in Sunday school, however—this one has been described as a “Mad Max-style warrior” who will face off again eleven-foot-tall, six-armed Nephilim.  Whether or not you’re on board with this direction, it sounds highly intriguing nonetheless.

The film is set to release March 28, 2014.

2. Son of God

Remember earlier this year when The Bible miniseries was making waves in the media?  Well producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have adapted five episodes of the series dealing with the life of Christ into a full-length feature film, titled Son of God.  The movie will see a wide theatrical release and will feature bonus footage not seen in the miniseries.  In addition, the two are producing a follow-up to the miniseries for NBC, called AD: Beyond the Bible.  No details have surfaced yet as far as when the show will premiere.

Expect Son of God to release February 28, 2014.

3. Pontius Pilate

While very little is known about this project at the moment, it is rumored that Brad Pitt will be cast to play the titular role in Warner Bros’ Pontius Pilate.  According to Deadline, “Rather than a straight ahead Biblical film, Blasi’s script reads almost like a Biblical era Twilight Zone episode in which a proud, capable Roman soldier gets in way over his head. His arrogance and inability to grasp the devoutness of the citizenry and its hatred for the Roman occupiers and their pagan gods leads him to make catastrophic decisions . . . Along the way, such Roman emperors including Caligula and Tiberius and New Testament figures like John the Baptist, Salome and Mary Magdalene are seen in a tale that culminates with Pilate’s fateful decision to allow Jesus Christ to be crucified.”

4. The Redemption of Cain

If you thought Noah sounded weird, brace yourself for this one.  Will Smith is set to make his directorial debut with The Redemption of Cain, a movie about the lives of Cain and Abel . . . only with vampires.  That’s all we know at this point, but whether or not vampires are your thing, there’s no denying Smith has our attention.

5. Gods and Kings

After having his name attached to the film since 2011, Steven Spielberg recently decided to drop Gods and Kings, a gritty take along the lines of Saving Private Ryan or Braveheart” about the life of Moses.  Instead, it’s rumored that Life of Pi director Ang Lee may take the reins.  There’s not much to tell besides that, but be on the lookout for more details to come.

6. Exodus

Wonder what Ridley Scott’s next film will be after The Counselor?  Turns out it’ll be another Moses epic by the title of Exodus.  So far the film has cast Christian Bale in the lead role, Aaron Paul as Joshua, Joel Edgerton as Ramses, Sigourney Weaver as the mother of Ramses, John Turturro as the father of Ramses and Ben Kingsley as a yet-unnamed Hebrew scholar.  From the sounds of it, things are shaping up to be pretty awesome.

Exodus is slated to release just in time for Christmas 2014.

7. Ben Hur: A Tale of The Christ

MGM is set to reboot the Charlton Heston classic Ben Hur.  According to Deadline, early reports of the script claim the parallel story of Jesus Christ will be given a greater emphasis in this adaptation.  Interestingly, director Timur Bekmambetov (who also directed Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) is currently in talks to helm the film.  It’s still in the early stages of development, so it might be a while before we see anything actually happen with this one.

8. Untitled David TV Series

It was only a matter of time before someone realized the story of King David’s life was perfect for a TV drama.  A show based on his life is currently shopping for a network, with Wolfgang Petersen set to direct and produce the show.  Petersen, who has directed movies such as Troy, The Perfect Storm and Air Force One, recently said in a statement for Variety, “I’m thrilled to be able to bring one of the oldest, greatest epic stories to life in television, where the story can truly breathe.  Many people think of David’s legacy in terms of ‘David & Goliath’, but that’s only the very beginning of his journey. From there, David emerges as one of the most complex, ambitious, conflicted and deeply human figures in world history, as well as one of its greatest icons.”