Sure, there’s a big movie about Noah coming out in 2014 (though production has been delayed a bit, ironically due to flooding), and a massive 10-hour ministeries on The Bible next spring. But while the Bible is big business in Hollywood right now, I haven’t heard anything about a major motion picture based strictly on the Gospels trundling out in the near future. (It seems a few have been done already.)
Clearly, Hollywood is waiting a bit before the inevitable reboot ... but you can't wait too long. Which, naturally, makes now the best time to pick out a cast! At least, that seems as though that’s the idea behind a question asked by VanityFair and 60 Minutes: "If you were directing a new film version of the New Testament, which actor would you cast to play Jesus?"
Denzel Washington was the runaway favorite, apparently. And in my opinion, he’d be a great choice. He made a kick-butt biblical defender in The Book of Eli, for one thing, and you can picture doing pert near everything the New Testament might ask of him—from turning over tables to weeping occasionally to bantering with the woman at the well. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a Christian, either.
But runner-up Daniel Day Lewis would be a pretty awesome choice, too. (I’m reviewing Lincoln next week for my day job. Can’t wait!) Woody Allen and Philip Seymour Hoffman didn’t fare so well in the poll.
It’s a pretty interesting exercise, though, casting the Bible. I wrangled up a would-be dream cast for Genesis a few years back for Beliefnet.com, and it was a hoot. And the entertainment industry already knows that Exodus can make a popular, action-packed movie, too. (In fact, rumor has it that Steven Spielberg is close to signing a deal to direct just such a film. Really.) But let’s face it, once you hit Leviticus, you realize that not every book in the Bible is primed for a major Hollywood production.