Several insider websites including comingsoon.net, themovieinsider.com, and cinematical.com are reporting that A.J. Jacobs’ book “The Year of Living Biblically” is being made into a movie.
And, for some real fun, they’ve signed Marlon Wayans to play the lead role. This sounds interesting in so many ways.
First, Biblical literacy is on the decline in our country and anything that calls attention to what it says sounds good to me. Second, there are those who’ll see a Wayans movie who may not have been interested in Jacobs’ book. Third, perhaps the movie will be really well done and the media will ignite a discussion about the Bible’s relevance in our culture.
As a theology major, I cringe at the loose and garish interpretations of scripture that were acted out in the book, and I’m sure they’ll get even more irreverent as played by Mr. Wayans. It’s not that the things he did weren’t in the Bible–but they certainly weren’t recreated in context. Even so, I’ll be okay with that as long as it’s in the spirit of satire and not disrespect.
A.J. Jacobs’ training to be the editor-at-large of “Esquire” magazine probably didn’t include hermeneutics or biblical interpretation. Who knows, perhaps Wayans, star of such movies as “Scary Movie” and “White Chicks,” may even include some biblical advisors on his team and really break some ground, explaining to our culture the context of why Sunday was intended as the Sabbath or why bathroom instructions made it into the Bible!
The history of having fun at the Bible’s expense is certainly part of our culture, from Monty Python to Mel Brooks. But it also used to be part of our culture to make the serious Bible movies as well, going way back to “The Ten Commandments” and “King of Kings” and certainly including Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” If Wayans’ new project draws people into a greater awareness of the Bible, that’s wonderful. I’ll keep hoping, though, that someone else (besides Mel) will take up the project of telling the story correctly.