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Monday, November 20, 2006

News of the Nativity Story - Nov. 21st edition

The Nativity Story in the News:

  • WorldNetDaily: "The new movie, "The Nativity Story," to open Dec. 1 in more than 3,000 theaters nationwide, will be a welcome reprieve from the usual holiday fare of action, violence, cornball comedy and even those films that revolve around "the holiday season."
  • Christianity Today: "With the recent announcement of Fox's faith-based film division, and new stories about the Christian movie industry in both Newsweek and TIME, evangelical cinema is receiving more than its share of publicity—and no film is being talked about quite so much as The Nativity Story."
  • United Press International: "A new movie about the birth of Jesus hits U.S. theaters next month backed by a large budget and a crash course in the Bible for the producers."
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Sunday, November 19, 2006

News of the Nativity Story - Nov. 20th edition

The Nativity Story in the News (both good and bad):

  • South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "But mediocre or downright lousy movies don't always announce themselves so clearly. Anyone who reports the following news is bound to be accused of outright sacrilege, but The Nativity Story (Dec. 1) -- which tells the story of the miraculous birth of (to quote Ricky Bobby) the tiny infant Jesus -- is decidedly un-immaculate."
  • Zenit news: "The world premiere of the film "The Nativity Story" is scheduled to take place Nov. 26 in the Vatican."
  • Buffalo News: "The Nativity Story" - Mary (Keisha Castile-Hughes) and Joseph (Oscar Isaac) can't book a hotel on Christmas Eve."
  • "The Nativity Story" makes its debut in local cinemas on December 6. It is expected to be a major attraction this coming Holiday Season."
  • Philadelphia Inquirer: "Amid all the holiday junk food, this film's the real deal. Catherine Hardwicke's human-scaled biblical about Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Joseph (Oscar Isaac) cuts to the quick of ordinary Nazarenes who rise to their extraordinary destiny as the parents of Jesus."
  • The Wichita Eagle: "Director Catherine Hardwicke ("Lords of Dogtown") takes a fresh dramatic approach to the period in the lives of Joseph (Oscar Isaac) and Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) as they struggle to get to Bethlehem in time for the birth of their child, Jesus."
  • Associated Press: "The birth of Christ is told in dramatic fashion in "The Nativity Story," starring Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider") as the Virgin Mary. "It is kind of a contrast to the usually funny holiday fare and the other more violent movies you get around the holidays. Maybe it'll be an antidote to that. It's not a cynical approach. It's really quite pure in a way," said "Nativity Story" director Catherine Hardwicke, whose credits include the acclaimed teen drama "thirteen." "It does eventually seem to take you to a spiritual place, a more sacred place by the end of the movie."

We'll be updating this website drastically in the next few days to prepare for the rush of visitors expected before and during the release of the Nativity Story. So bookmark us and check back soon!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Video: Screenwriter Mike Rich on the set of the Nativity Story movie


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Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Nativity Story Gets Groundbreaking Vatican Premiere" - Cinematical


Nativity Story Gets Groundbreaking Vatican Premiere

The Nativity Story will become the first film ever to premiere at the Vatican, the film's distributor has announced. The film, which is due to be released December 1, will be shown on Sunday, November 26 at the Vatican's Pope Paul VI Hall to an audience of appproximately 7,000 invited guests, including director Catherine Hardwick, actors Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac, producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, and screenwriter Mike Rich. The screening will benefit the construction of a school in Mughar, Israel, 40 miles from Nazareth. Rolf Mittweg, New Line President and COO of Worldwide Distribution and Marketing, said of the film, "We are very proud of The Nativity Story and extremely grateful that the Vatican has embraced the film in this way," says Mittweg. "We believe it is the perfect venue to present the film's universal message of hope and faith, a message we are sure will resonate around the world." [Read more here.]

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The UK's Inspire Magazine highlights The Nativity Story Movie

Inspire Magazine UK:

New Line Cinema will release The Nativity Story in cinemas on 1 December 2006. Production of the drama began in May, with primary location shooting in Italy and Morocco, and the film is currently in post-production.

The film’s script writer Mike Rich, a Christian, is known for his writing of Dennis Quaid’s The Rookie and Cuba Gooding’s Radio. He is the co-winner of two “Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards” for those films. His first big script sale was Finding Forrester (starring Sean Connery) which he wrote while News Director and morning news DJ for a popular FM radio station in Portland, Oregon.

Focusing on getting inside the minds and hearts of Mary and Joseph, Rich says he “felt compelled both spiritually and emotionally to tackle this subject matter. … For me, the scenes that resonated so much for me when I was writing the script were the one-on-one scenes with Mary and Joseph … I thought it was just a remarkable journey of faith.”

Concerned with the difficulty and importance of the project, he requested the prayers of his pastor and church. Given that relatively little detail is provided by the Bible on the events, he reports that the script was sent for comment to as many theologians and historians as possible, to gain accuracy and insight.

The Nativity Story includes the visit by the angel to Mary, her visit with cousin Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph’s trip to from Nazareth to Bethlehem, King Herod, the wise men, etc.

Because the actual locations of Bethlehem and Nazareth have become modernised over the years, the production decided to shoot in the village of Matera, Italy, which has been virtually unchanged for centuries, and was previously used as a location in The Passion of The Christ.

The production also travelled to Ouarzazarte, Morocco, where scenes involving Herod's palace and the Temple of Jerusalem were shot - the same location used in Gladiator and The Kingdom of Heaven.

Playing the role of Mary is Keisha Castle-Hughes (Queen Naboo in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Paikea in Whale Rider. Oscar Isaac is Joseph, and Elizabeth is played by Shohreh Aghdashloo (the memorable wife of an Arab terrorist in TV’s 24, and Dr Kavita Rao in X-Men: The Last Stand).

Director Catherine Hardwicke is best known for her work on Thirteen (2003, writer/director), Lords of Dogtown (2005, director), and as production designer on Tom Cruises’ Vanilla Sky (2001) and George Clooney’s Three Kings (1999).

Friday, August 18, 2006

YouTube video: The Nativity Story trailer

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"Nativity Film Director Frustrated with Film Livestock"

Film-maker CATHERINE HARDWICKE struggled to shoot the birth of JESUS CHRIST for Christmas film THE NATIVITY STORY because a chosen cow was a nervous mother, a donkey had haemorrhoids and sheep were mad. The THIRTEEN director had a four-hour window to capture the Biblical scene one night while filming in Matera, Italy and she learned the hard way just how difficult animal actors can be.

Under the watchful eye of Italy's Humane Society, it took 25 minutes for burly farmers to persuade the scene's cow to lie down and then a skittish donkey had to be replaced when it refused to settle down for shooting. The new ass had to rest on a cushion because it had a painful backside - and then "insane" sheep made every beast in the makeshift Bethlehem stable uneasy. Just as Hardwicke was about to shoot her first footage, the cow stood up and relieved herself all over the floor, prompting the Humane Society watchdog on set to announce filming was over for the night.

Hardwicke recalls, "That night... the first night we tried to do it, the babies went home at midnight before we got to roll any film and we had to use a rubber baby instead. "The next night, we did it all over, and we got the real baby in there." The director admits the Jesus baby's parents were more than a little concerned about their infant being so close to livestock: "They can't believe they agreed to let it come on the set, but it gets to be Baby Jesus, a Catholic fantasy."

"Jesus' mother gains spiritual, iconic import" - The Oregonian

The Oregonian:

Jesus' mother gains spiritual, iconic import


For Hollywood screenwriters, it's all about character. Even when you're writing about the mother of Jesus.

"Character drives the story," says Mike Rich, the Portland screenwriter whose films include "Finding Forrester," "The Rookie" and "Radio."

"All my movies follow ordinary people doing extraordinary things."

His latest, "The Nativity Story," recounts the circumstances of Jesus' birth, mostly through the eyes of his mother, Mary. Played by 16-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes, the radiant heroine of "Whale Rider," Mary is extraordinary enough, according to the New Testament, that God chose her to bear his son. She also is ordinary enough, according to many Christians, that she is the shining example of how to live a life of faith. [full article.]