Recasting The Bible
The red wine had stained my mum’s lips and emboldened her tongue. “Sacrifice!” she yelled again from the TV room, “You want to know about sacrifice! Jane Austen sacrificed her whole life because she couldn’t marry James Mcavoy!”
My sister was in the kitchen with me and she shrugged. I didn’t know where to begin. Firstly I hadn’t even nearly mentioned anything about sacrifice. I think I had innocuously asked my sister what she had for dinner and was obviously misheard. Secondly mum’s statement made absolutely no sense. “Thanks mum,” I think I shouted back, “I won’t mention sacrifice again.” I paused and waited for a response, then the theme tune for The X Factor started and I knew that her interest was elsewhere.
But mums erroneous understanding of history got me thinking, now that half of the world’s history has been replicated in Hollywood, our ideas about historical figures come tainted, warped by our opinions of the actors that played these people on screen. Mum had watched one period drama, Becoming Jane, and essentially came out thinking that Anne Hathaway wrote Pride and Prejudice.
Recasting history is especially poignant for Christianity I thought. With Exodus: Gods and Kings in post production we are soon going to see Christian Bale try his hand at playing the Egyptian prophet and all out BCE badman (not to mention the best selling author of The Torah), Moses. In other words, Batman is gonna go save the Israelites!
Earlier this year I watched Maximus Decimus Meridius, from Gladiator, along with his daughter in law Hermione, build a big ship to save the worlds animals from a great flood. It was most confusing. You see the thing is that when an actor plays a role they not only become that character (we look at Daniel Radcliff and will always see Harry Potter) but the fictional character will forever be visualized as having the face of that actor.
When you read Hazza P now the image in your head is of Daniel Radcliff running around doing spells and shit. The same Daniel Radcliff that you might well have seen shagging horses on stage in the West End! I feel like there is something weird about that, but it’s even weirder when it comes to the Bible. Just picture all those kids in church reading scripture whilst, in their minds eye, picturing Russell Crowe and Christian Bale… Gladiator and motherfucking Batman!
There are only a few of the big roles left for Hollywood actors to snatch up. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2015 we watch Will Smith bring his annoying little kid (Jaden?) up to Mount Moriah where he’ll be asked by a Morgan Freeman God voiceover to sacrifice him as a test of his faith. The Sacrifice of Isaac will probably have cameo appearances from Seth Rogan and James Franco as cherubs and will almost certainly be produced by Mel Gibson, who apparently was the one that God approached in the first place with the grand idea of recasting the entire Bible.