After going three years without a new directorial effort, 65 year-old blockbuster maestro Steven Spielberg has suddenly become as busy (if not more so) than he was before. He just recently wrapped up production on this year's already-buzzed-about historical biopic, Lincoln, will begin shooting the sci-fi thriller Robopocalypse before the end of 2012 - and is on the verge of officially signing on to helm a new grand-scale Biblical epic, titled Gods and Kings.
Word about Warner Bros. wanting Spielberg to helm the studio's expensive Moses retelling leaked out back in September 2011, but the director has been so busy executive producing seemingly every other new or upcoming TV show (Terra Nova, Smash, The River, etc.) AND actually directing films, that the studio has only now managed to get him to commit.
Similar to previous cinematic versions of the Moses story - including Cecil B. Demille's 1923 silent version and his famous 1956 remake of The Ten Commandments - Gods and Kings dramatizes the life of the iconic Jewish prophet, beginning with him as a infant being rescued from the Nile, and moving on through to his revelation of the ten basic ethical principles decreed by God.
However, according to Deadline, Gods and Kings is a far cry from Demille's The Ten Commandments, with regards to tone. The project is instead being fashioned as "a 'Braveheart'-ish version of the Moses Story" that will be visually realized in the unvarnished style of Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. In other words, this is yet another Hollywood flick being trumped up as 'dark and gritty,' by design.
If all goes according to plan, Spielberg will be mostly done with post-production work on Robopocalypse by the time he begins principal photography on Gods and Kings during the early portion of Spring 2013.
Dan Lin (the Sherlock Holmes movies) is also onboard to produce Gods and Kings. The flick is being scripted by BAFTA nominee Stuart Hazeldine (who is also a co-writer on the upcoming Paradise Lost adaptation) and Michael Green, a onetime co-showrunner for Everwood and Heroes, who owns screen story credit on Green Lantern.
That screenwriting duo reads as being somewhat mixed, but everyone involved in the creative process on Gods and Kings is well-versed in the art of massive blockbuster entertainment - and none more so than Spielberg. So, if nothing else, expect this flick to be an grandiose big-screen presentation of Moses' plight that realizes the story's iconic moments (such as the parting of the Red Sea) with impressive cinematic panache.
Therein lies the rub of having Spielberg direct Gods and Kings, unfortunately. His three most recent directorial projects (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Adventures of Tintin, and War Horse) were all very sleek and glossy productions, as is also expected to be the case with Lincoln and Robopocalypse. Hence, Spielberg might be a little rusty when it comes to making films in the truly gritty and cinéma vérité style of Saving Private Ryan - which, as mentioned before, is the plan for Gods and Kings.
Minor quibbles like that aside - this IS still Spielberg we're talking about here. If anyone is truly qualified to oversee a properly epic treatment of the Moses story, it's (arguably) him. So, take all that as you will.
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of Gods and Kings as the story develops.