Thursday, August 23, 2012

And now . . . A Film About Pontius Pilate

As I have noted on this blog in the past, Hollywood seems to be ready to repeat the 1950's with a series of films based on Bible stories and characters. At the moment a film on Noah featuring Russell Crowe is under way and Will Smith is said to be in negotiations to act in a film about Cain.

Now Warner Brothers is announcing a film about Pontius Pilate. Here is a bit of what the press release has to say.

Penned by Tortilla Soup scribe Vera Blasi, the script tells the story of Pilate’s rise through the military ranks, his promising political career and ultimately his thankless appointment to the religious hotbed of Judea. 
Blasi told Deadline she estimates about eighty percent of the story arc was pulled from either The Bible or historical records, while the other twenty percent was made up to fill in the gaps

The last line is the clue as to what kind of film this will be and I suspect that it will be based  20% on history and 80% made up as they go along . The fact is, we have very little information about Pilate. Most of our written information comes from Philo of Alexandria, Josephus, the New Testament and Pliny the Younger. In addition we have some information from coins and archaeology. I will be especially interested to see how they end the story since Pilate disappears suddenly from the historical records after running afoul of his superiors in Rome. For a good and serious examination of Pilate I recommend Helen Bond's Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation.

For a more lighthearted depiction of Pilate I recommend the following scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian. This scene does come from the New Testament when Pilate asks the crowd if they want Jesus or Barabbass.


  1. Love "Life of Brian" And this scene (with Biggus Dikkus, no less) is hilarious. Hollywood should really just stop with the "Bible-based" films. Remember "King David" starring Richard Gere? Sigh...

    1. What was wrong with Gere's David?