The Kike's Beliefnet named Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt its 2005 Book of the Year on the basis of its "creativity, its unique spin on one of the world's most important religious figures, and for its impact on Christians and other readers".

Boy Jesus, Big Screen: Anne Rice's 'Christ the Lord' to be Made into a Movie

The author's 'Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt' is back on track, slated for 2013.

Mark Storer and Mark Moring, Christianity Today, May 23, 2012

We've all wondered what Jesus was like as a boy. All we know is that he "grew up healthy and strong" and was "filled with wisdom, and God's favor was on him" (Luke 2:40).

Novelist Anne Rice has wondered about it too, so she did a lot of research and wrote Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (2005), imagining Jesus at the ages of 7-8. The story has "movie" written all over it, and after a number of fits and starts, it's finally coming to fruition, slated for release sometime in 2013. Rice originally had a movie deal with Good News Holdings, but that fell apart in 2009, and the project was shelved indefinitely. But after watching The Stoning of Soraya M, Rice felt like she'd found the right person to bring her story to the silver screen: American writer-director Cyrus Nowrasteh.

Rice, who has had other books (most notably 1994's Interview with a Vampire) turned into films, told CT that she thought Soraya M was "beautifully written and directed. The film was restrained and eloquent and simple. It had a profound impact." She had just written a review at when her agent called to say that Nowrasteh was interested in Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Says Rice, "I thought, Here is a fine director and someone who knows the Middle Eastern milieu. I was immediately interested."

Nowrasteh, who will direct, partnered with his wife, Betsy, on the script. Casting has not yet begun—Nowrasteh says finding a young boy for the lead role "is not as easy as it might seem"—and filming will likely begin later this year. The movie will be produced by 1492 Pictures, founded by Chris Columbus and the studio behind three Harry Potter films, The Help, and many more.

Of Rice's novel, Nowrasteh says, "I love the book. It's written with real passion and heart and belief. It's one of the most original fresh conceits at the heart of the story of Jesus. We tried to be faithful to it in the script." He adds that Rice's book is perfect for a film adaptation. "We're immersed both in a gritty ancient world and yet transported into the dreamy imaginings of a child filled with wonder, beauty and miracles," he says. "It's a beautiful and faith-affirming story."

Rice agrees about her novel's natural fit for the big screen: "I think the book is very visual and will make a very entertaining and gripping movie. I tend to write cinematically, telling the story through scenes both great and small, and moving from one dramatic encounter to another."

An American born of Iranian parents, Nowrasteh jokes that he is "Muslim by birth, Christian by marriage, and Jewish by inclination. I absolutely feel connected to Anne's book. I'm right there with her in the story." Rice says she "loved their script because they were true to the spirit of the book, true to the historical accuracy of the book, true to the all-important theological belief that Jesus is both God and Man. At the same time, they added elements to the script which will make this a very fast-paced and suspenseful film, and they added those elements without sacrificing the integrity of the material. They 'got' the Jewish background of the first century. They 'got' the dialogue of the family. They 'got' the idea that this is a fictional story about Jesus, but it is biblically and historically accurate."

Of course, any film about Jesus is bound to come with some controversy. But Rice and Nowrasteh have been through it before. On July 29, 2010, Rice famously denounced Christianity on her Facebook page, writing, "Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else." She later clarified that "my faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following his followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become." She later discussed her decision with CT.

We asked Rice if she thought her comments about Christianity might affect the film's marketability to a Christian audience. "I do not think it will affect the marketability of the film in any negative way for two reasons," she said. "First, there are many believers in Jesus who feel as I do. Most of the mail I received after my comments was positive, and from fellow believers who had walked away from organized religion, or who found themselves uncomfortable with it for various reasons. They understood my dilemma, my struggle, and my quest.

"Second, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the book is painstakingly researched and biblically and theologically accurate. That was the nature of the endeavor: to create a realistic and moving novel about Jesus, the Son of God, as he appears in Scripture, and as he appeared in history—to make him a living, breathing character for people, without ever betraying biblical and historical accuracy. The film, being true to this, is what many people want to see. In other words, I don't think the Christian audience will care about me personally or my journey. What they will care about is whether this film is really about the Jesus of faith. And once they realize that it is, they will be interested."


Despite the potential controversy, Rice thinks Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt will have wide appeal.

"It will please Christians and others because it will be entertaining and fresh," she says. "What this film offers is an opportunity to see an entirely new story about Jesus and his family that contains fictional incidents and fictional characters, yet this new story is entirely biblically correct. It's the story of Christmas told in an entirely new and fresh way. I think it will be immensely satisfying to Christians and yet completely surprising and arresting.

"Of course, some people will avoid any film that has to do with Jesus or the Bible. But perhaps this film will win over even those hardcore avoiders, when they hear that it offers scenes never before offered in such a film."

Rice sees a specific faith-based audience catching on: "I hope Jewish viewers will be interested, because we have made every effort to present the Jews of the first century in a positive light. Jesus was a Jew growing up in a Jewish family; all his neighbors and friends and later apostles were Jews, and I spent a great deal of time researching the Jewish customs and village life of the time. Jewish and Christian readers and viewers came together for Ben Hur, both the book and the film, because it presented Jewish life in the first century respectfully and accurately. We don't have the spectacle of Ben Hur, but our intent is to make a film that Jewish viewers will enjoy, just as this was a book that Jewish readers enjoyed."


kris morgan Jun 6, 2012

Nowrasteh:" Muslim by birth, Christian by marriage, and Jewish by inclination" is a nonsensical statement. Both Rice and Nowrasteh are confused as to what being "Christian" is- one is born again by trusting Christ- and that's IT. Believing the Gospel is what is required, one does not become "Christian" through marriage, inclination- oh this is so bizARRo! I do believe these two are conspiring to discredit Christianity- how many souls are hell bound by hearing this nonsense?? The new heaven and new earth will be quite bare, so few souls will actually make it. How many so called "Christians" are actually saved? 100k? 10 thousand? How many souls check the box for "Christian", yet have no idea who Christ is- nor trust Him? SHAME on these two.

Carolyn Altman May 30, 2012

I read the first page of her book Christ the Lord and found 6 biblical errrors. This shows that she may be a Christian but not a Bible reader. I was in the library at the time so I put the book down and went to the car and cried. I emailed her and she was defensive, would not admit the mistakes and ended sarcasticly

james . May 23, 2012

What does Rice mean by "I quit being a Christian, but I remain being committed to Christ." Sounds like she neither knows what it means to be a Christian, nor what it means to be committed to Christ. Just words that trips off her mouth in an attempt to generate interest in controversy and sell a product. Here is another statement: "entirely new story about Jesus and his family that contains fictional incidents and fictional characters, yet this new story is entirely biblically correct. " Yes, the Jesus of faith apart from historical roots - Where you dont have to say what you mean , nor mean what you say.

Cannes: ‘Christ The Lord’ Gets Green Light

By Mike Fleming Jr, Deadline Hollywood, May 16, 2014

Ocean Blue Entertainment, in conjunction with CJ Entertainment, Echo Lake and Ingenious Media, have set the financing for Christ The Lord, a feature adaptation of the Anne Rice bestselling novel Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt. A September 15 start date has been set in Italy. Focus Features, which obtained U.S. distribution rights from the movie’s original domestic distributor FilmDistrict when Peter Schlessel took over the former, is planning a wide U.S. release and Hyde Park International is handling the sale of foreign rights. 1492 Pictures will produce with Ocean Blue, CJ Entertainment, Hyde Park and Ingenious.

Cyrus Nowrasteh, who helmed The Stoning Of Soraya M., will direct the script he wrote with his wife Betsy. This fictional story follows young Jesus as he comes to discover his real identity and the truth surrounding his birth. Enzo Sisti (Passion Of The Christ) is executive producing. Shooting will take place at Cinecittà Studios in Rome, and on location in Matera, Italy. Given the heightened interest in faith-based fare, a film about the formative years of Jesus Christ should fare quite nicely.

Anne Rice's 'Christ the Lord' Book to Be Released as Film for Easter 2016

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter, July 25, 2014

Anne Rice, author of Interview With the Vampire, testifies about her return to Christ.

A movie adaptation of author Anne Rice's novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, which follows Jesus' life as a young boy, is set for theater release a week before 2016's Easter Sunday.

"I know I'm one very controversial author, but my novel Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt has a special place in my heart. And I'm profoundly grateful for the large audience of Catholics, Protestants and others – that has embraced the book over the years," Rice wrote on her Facebook profile.

The Hollywood Reporter announced on Thursday that Focus Features will release the movie, based on the 2005 best-selling book, the Wednesday before Easter Sunday. The plot depicts the life of a 7-years-old Jesus and his struggle with being the son of God.

Focus Features chief [KIKE] Peter Schlessel, who acquired the U.S. rights to Christ the Lord while running FilmDistrict, arrived at Focus earlier this year, bringing the distribution rights with him.

A film based on Christ the Lord had previously been envisioned for a 2015 release, before it got pushed back.

In a 2013 interview, Rice told The Christian Post that the directors "have shown great sensitivity and concern for biblical and theological accuracy in their screenplay."

"Frankly, I think that Christians are going to be thrilled with this movie," Rice told CP. "They will see the Jesus of faith portrayed in fictional situations that are all entirely realistic for the times. This is new, I think, presenting the Lord accurately theologically but in new fictional situations. I think it's going to be wonderful," she added.

Rice, most famous for her Vampire Chronicles series, has written two fictionalized books on the life of Christ, including the sequel to Out of Egypt, titled The Road to Cana.

The author wrote the books after she rejoined the Roman Catholic Church in 1998.

She disagreed with some of the church's doctrine, however, including the rejection of same-sex relationships, and has since left organized religion.

"In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism.
I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life," Rice says in a 2012 video explaining her decision.

She has further said that she continues to believe in a 'Higher Power," but wonders about its nature:

"Is it a personal higher power with emotions that cares about us personally? I hope so. But do I know that that's what's out there? No I don't. Do I pray to this Higher Power? Yes, I pray every day. I pray at morning, I pray at night, I pray all during the day."

After a decade-long break, Rice announced the next book in her Vampire Chronicles series, titled Prince Lestat, which is slated for an October release.

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