One of the advantages of having the Bible as the source of your movie is that you don't have to pay for the film rights – John the Baptist doesn't have a literary agent playing one studio off against another. So as Hollywood worries that conventional blockbusters are failing, and with memories of how lucrative Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was still strong, the Biblical epic is making an unexpected comeback. Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler) is currently in post-production on Noah (pictured), where Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson are going to need a bigger boat, and now Ridley Scott is preparing Exodus, a retelling of the Moses story.
The director of Alien and Gladiator is preparing to bring to life the Jewish prophet and leader who eventually led his people out of slavery in Egypt and towards the Promised Land. Charlton Heston, with the assistance of Cecil B. DeMille, parted the Red Sea as Moses in 1956's The Ten Commandments, while Scott has cast Christian Bale, the former Dark Knight star who will next be seen in David O. Russell's American Hustle and a bunch of Terrence Malick movies that will appear at some unknown point in the future. Scott is now deciding on his Rameses, the headstrong Egyptian pharaoh who goes from kin to rival of Moses, and his preference is Australian Joel Edgerton, fresh from The Great Gatsby and Zero Dark Thirty.
Baumbach stays young
Noah Baumbach's terrific Frances Ha has only just arrived in Australian cinemas, but the New York filmmaker's next movie is already cast and underway. In While We're Young, a 20something Brooklyn couple (Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver) help an older couple (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) to rediscover their passion for life. The eclectic supporting cast will include the eternally deadpan Charles Grodin (Midnight Run) as the father of Watts' character, and Beastie Boy (and long ago actor) Adam Horovitz as a married friend of the older pair, and hopefully the life-affirming optimism that prevailed in Frances Ha will feature once more.
Dictator in disguise
Expatriate Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf's next film will be The President, the story of a dictator in a fictional Caucasus country whose regime is brought down in an Arab Spring-like uprising, forcing him to travel across the land he once ruled with his young grandson, disguised as a street musician and interacting with the people who overthrew him. The director of Kandahar and The Man Who Came with the Snow, who is based in London and holds a French passport, hasn't lived in Iran since 2005, and is part of a filmmaking community either in self-imposed exile (Abbas Kiarostami) or forced to live (but not work) under repressive state control (Jafar Panahi).