Here’s a question for you: Who would win in a fight, Taylor Lautner or Dwayne “Don’t Call Me The Rock” Johnson?
The answer is part of the reason why those two are being courted to star in Goliath, one of several Bible-based projects currently being developed in Hollywood. Scott Derrickson (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) is set to direct, from a script by newcomers Patrick McKay and John D. Payne.
Twitch says that Johnson is officially in talks to play the titular giant in Goliath, though nothing is set in stone just yet. Lautner has reportedly received an offer to portray David in the film, which would reunite him with Twilight producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey.
In case you’re shaky on your Bible studies, here’s the gist of Derrickson’s Goliath (via Heat Vision):
The story is set in motion when the fierce warrior Goliath is sent to track down a foretold king of the Israelites. A young shepherd David is thrust into an epic chase and adventure fighting for his own life, the lives of his loved ones and eventually the lives of his people. The story climaxes in a battle of literal Biblical proportions between the young man and the giant sent to destroy him.
Goliath will presumably be a cheaper undertaking than similar upcoming Biblical projects likes Alex Proyas’ Paradise Lost or Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, but it’s still expected to go the “epic” route. It’s a filmmaking trend that’s recently come back into vogue, but also one that stems from a historical Hollywood tradition – with Cecil B. DeMille films like The Ten Commandments or Samson & Delilah ranking among the more famous cinematic Bible retellings.
Early word is that McKay and Payne are designing Goliath as more of a modernized adventure that resembles 300 and The Bourne Identity, in terms of tone and (to a degree) style. That Lautner would be interested in headlining a film like that is no surprise, since he’s been positioning himself to become the next big action star, between his role in next month’s Abduction and impending collaboration with Michael Bay – not to mention, the rumors that he could show up in The Expendables 2.
Johnson is sufficiently bulkier and taller (6’5”) than Lautner (5’10”), enough so that it wouldn’t be all that difficult to make the former truly tower over the latter in Goliath – with the assistance of camera angles and other filmmaking tricks, that is. Bit of trivia: the oldest Biblical manuscripts (ex. the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel) actually peg the Philistine warrior as being about 6’9”, which means Johnson is technically a close physical match.
Whether moviegoers are willing to buy Lautner as the future king of Israel – as readily as they are Johnson as a thundering brute – is another matter (though it’s probably safe to say the answer is “no”).
We will keep you posted on the status of Goliath as more information is released.