Biblical epics are seemingly coming back into vogue and Warner Bros. wants Gods and Kings - a project that retells Moses' life story, as chronicled in the Book of Exodus and other parts of the Old Testament - to bear the all-too-lucrative label that is "A Steven Spielberg film."
Gods and Kings is being co-scripted by Stuart Hazeldine, who also worked on the screenplay for director Alex Proyas' Paradise Lost adaptation. The cast for that latter film has been rapidly expanding of late, so that it will be ready to begin principal photography by January 2012.
There's little reason to doubt that God and Kings won't eventually be made - though, whether Spielberg will helm the production is another matter (more on that later). Paradise Lost, as mentioned before, will soon begin filming and should reach theaters by 2013, possibly even in the summer.
Gods and Kings
Some moviegoers will surely feel that Gods and Kings sounds like (essentially) an unofficial remake of Cecile B. DeMille's 1956 version of The Ten Commandments - which, similarly, dealt with the major events in Moses' life (freeing the Hebrew slaves, parting the Red Sea, collecting the aforementioned commandments from God, etc.).
However, Gods and Kings will not only literally encompass the entirety of Moses' life, it will presumably play up the "epic" factor of his story even more. Whether it will also be a more brutally gritty Bible-based tale like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ - or remain more loyal to the often-graphic nature of its source material, similar to what Darren Aronofsky has in mind with Noah - remains to be seen.
Deadline is reporting that Spielberg has read the Gods and Kings script - which was penned by Hazeldine and Michael Green (Green Lantern) - but that meetings between the box office powerhouse and Warner Bros. officials have yet to take place. If the filmmaking legend does sign on, then look for Gods and Kings to feel all the more like a modern-day version of The Ten Commandments, from a technical standpoint - since it will definitely boast an all-star cast and grand production values.
Spielberg has a pretty busy schedule right now - he starts shooting Lincoln within a month's time and will set to work on Robopocalypse soon thereafter - so don't count on him signing up for Gods and Kings just yet.
Variety is reporting that the latest addition to the Paradise Lost cast is Callan McAuliffe, a teen actor who generally left a good impression on those who saw him in Rob Reiner's Flipped - and was arguably one of the highlights of the (underwhelming) I Am Number Four movie, earlier this year. McAuliffe will also play a young Jay Gatsby (via flashbacks) in Baz Luhrmann's currently-filming Great Gatsby adaptation.
McAuliffe has been set to portray the archangel Uriel - who becomes the second in command to Michael (Benjamin Walker) when Lucifer (Bradley Cooper) declares war on God - in Proyas' Paradise Lost. Additional cast members include Djimon Hounsou as the angel of death, Abdiel, Casey Affleck as the messenger angel, Gabriel - and possibly Camilla Belle and Diego Boneta as Eve and Adam, respectively.
Paradise Lost will be an effects-driven action blockbuster that features Lord of the Rings-style battle sequences and (probably) stylish 3D effects galore. While the casting, writing, and directing talent attached to the project is solid so far, there's still the concern this film will perhaps go overboard with the "blockbuster" aspect. Hopefully, though, that won't prove to be the case.
We will keep you posted on the status of both Gods and Kings and Paradise Lost as more information is released.
Source: Deadline, Variety