The Nativity

Mike Rich, a Hollywood screenwriter (Finding Forrester and The Rookie), was more than pleased when he saw that Time and Newsweek both had the birth of Christ in their 2004 covers. An evangelical Christian, Rich felt stirred to write a story about the events surrounding the event.

He intensely researched for eleven months before sitting down to write. It took him a whole month to finish the script. Then, as an executive producer, he worked on crafting a movie for almost a year. With an award-winning line-up (like Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale Rider as Mary and Oscar Isaacs of Syriana as Joseph), the production filmed in Italy and Morocco. It was such an international cast with actors and actresses from twenty-three nations that on the set you can hear seven languages spoken.

The result? The Nativity Story.

Rich creatively focused on recreating the human side of the story, that is, the love story of Mary and Joseph, the shocking news that she is pregnant of wedlock and the reaction of Joseph, her parents, friends and relatives. Rich explains, “The challenge was being willing to take the step of writing a majority of scenes that are completely speculative. I wanted to look inside these two individual characters—Joseph and Mary—and explore the doubts, fear, and faith that drove them on the journey that extends far beyond the end of our movie.” (As quoted by Steve Beard, The Humanity of Christmas, BreakPoint WorldView magazine, December 2006)

According to Beard, “New Line Cinema’s... The Nativity Story is the first Bible-themed film produced by a major Hollywood studio in fifty years”. Before, independent producers finance religious films. But then The Passion of the Christ became a record-breaking US$600 million worldwide box-office hit. Thus, Beard observed, “reluctant Tinseltown studios opened their eyes to the money-making possibilities of faith-friendly films.”

What Hollywood meant for money, God meant for mission. Thus, we encourage you to watch the movie with a seeker. Then, after the movie, you can jump-start a talk on its personal implications.

Brethren, God again gave us an open door to share the Gospel at Hollywood’s expense!

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