There have been a growing number of Christian-centered films making their way into multiplexes. They don’t catch on with the mainstream, and speak more to devout Christians who would pay money to have their faith reinforced in the form of gentle comedy, philosophical debate, or another genre that puts Christianity at the center of a narrative. These films also don’t have much in the way of star power (no offense to Moms’ Night Out’s Sean Astin or Left Behind’s slumming-it Nicolas Cage).
That may change with Apostle Paul, which is based on the story of the Jewish man who converted to Christianity to preach the word of Jesus and wrote 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament. According to Deadline, Hugh Jackman has been tapped to star, and produce alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
Deadline stresses that this is a “faith-based” film, which is an interesting way to describe it. Will this really be a film about preaching the Word, or is this a movie in the vein of Noah or Exodus: Gods and Kings where the Bible is used as source material to provide a mainstream story that takes a great deal of caution when invoking or even mentioning God?
Jackman, Affleck, and Damon have never been champions of Christianity (at least in public), so it seems odd that they would work together to put together a message film, which is at the center of all Christsploitation flicks—they’re an attempt to convert non-believers while ultimately only speaking to the converted. Additionally, they’ve brought in screenwriter Matt Cook, who previously penned the upcoming crime thriller Triple 9, so it’s tough to see where the religious angle enters the story beyond pulling from a religious text.
I’m not campaigning to see more faith-based films, but if I had to guess at what they’re going for, it’s a secular drama revolving around a noteworthy person. Of course, this will all become clearer if and when a director comes on board.