On February 12, The Film Music Reporter discusses the music (and provides a trailer) for the upcoming beautiful movie, “The Young Messiah.” Lakeshore Records will release a soundtrack album for this unique biblical drama with original music composed by Academy and Emmy Award honoree, John Debney (“The Passion of the Christ,” “Iron Man 2,” “The Jungle Book”).
On February 12, in an exclusive interview with AXS/Austin Movie Examiner, Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer and director of “The Young Messiah” describes composer John Debney as an “angel of a man” and “faith- driven man.” Debney has beautifully and artistically composed the captivating, suspenseful, Eastern-sounding music for “The Young Messiah” as he “was moved by the story” of seven-year-old Jesus Christ who begins to understand the truth about his life when he returns to Nazareth from Egypt.
Cyrus Nowrasteh and his wife and writing partner, Betsy, have provided wonderful interviews; but the interview today with AXS/Austin Movie Examiner focused on the unique and universal appeal of “The Young Messiah,” which will be released in theaters nationwide on March 11 by Focus Features for the Easter Season.
Cyrus says that “The Young Messiah” will universally appeal to older children and families worldwide from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. He describes this movie as presenting the Holy Family as real people in the Jewish and Roman backgrounds of the time. Nowrasteh tells how one pastor stood up at a test screening of the movie to say that it is the best Jesus movie he has seen because the characters are relatable.
Having screened this movie with Bestsy Nowrasteh this past weekend, Austin Film Examiner reports that Adam Greaves-Neal performs beautifully the balance of Jesus’ humanity and divinity. He performs delicately with a subtle, natural, British dialect with universal appeal and suitability for a classic character. Nowrasteh, tells how as the director, he worked to match and unify the dialects of the other characters with Adam’s. The clarity of the dialogue and the unified dialects give the dialogue a beautiful, artistic, and classic quality that is understandable throughout.
Nowrasteh shares how each of the characters are relatable. Young Mary and Joseph are compelling and captivating in their humanity combined with strength of character. They, like Jesus, are realistic, relatable role models. This movie will be especially inspiring to older children and to young families. Cyrus tells how one man at a screening after seeing Joseph in this movie wanted to be a better father.
Nowrasteh tells how this movie has had broad and cross appeal to people of different faith backgrounds. Rabbis who have screened the film have responded enthusiastically to the movie that authentically depicts a Jewish family “in a chaotic world” that needs a Messiah. Cyrus tells how Jewish traditions are honored and how authentic, realistic, and cinematographic locations are used.
Cyrus describes the building of the conflict in the movie as a delicate balance that is directed to look natural, realistic, and authentic. The movie is captivating and builds in intensity and with a sense of jeopardy with the carefully crafted antagonists. However, while there is a constant sense of danger, there is also a sense of God’s presence, guidance, and protection in the life of the young Jesus. Against the background of evil darkness, the movie is a “journey into the light.”
This movie is an imagined story of what is must have been like in Jesus’ early years because very little is in the Bible about His early life. However, the writers of the screenplay have paid great attention to the history, cultures of the time, and to Biblical scholarship. The movie is based on Anne Rice’s novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” that she wrote after she had a spiritual awakening and converted to Catholicism. In the interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Cyrus Nowrasteh explained that some of the imagined extra-Biblical material for the novel and movie came from 2000-year-old stories that came out of Egypt, especially Alexandria, after the Holy Family was there.
Cyrus wishes other redemptive and faith-based movies well, as one movie builds on the growing momentum of earlier movies. He believes the movie “The Passion of the Christ” has started a “wild fire” of faith-based movies, made possible with the “divine creation” of the camera and ever-improving cinematography. He says that the faith-based movies in theaters are all connected, linked. Each one builds on the earlier ones with an ever-growing revealing of God’s nature, work, and relationships with men in our world.
Dr. Ted Baehr of Movieguide.org, who has served as a consultant for this movie, has written, “There are many movies about Jesus since the 1890s. Only one has been word for word. All the others create story elements not found in the Bible. So, THE JESUS FILM, which has been seen by a billion people, is 70 percent the Gospel of Luke. The rest was added to make the movie dramatic…I had long conversations with the filmmaker, John Heyman, about how to dramatize the Gospel while keeping the orthodox, biblical theology….Even if a movie is word for word, like THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, the casting, the set direction, the locations, are all products of the filmmaker’s imagination…”
Cyrus Nowrasteh tells that “The Young Messiah” is intended as reverential but relatable and authentic for families. He says that even skeptics connect with the characters and story on an emotional level. He hopes that viewers will fall in love with the characters and that “their skepticism will be dismissed and go out the window.” Nowrasteh has watched a lot of Biblical movies, but directed “The Young Messiah” from his heart, wanting a fresh look at the life of Christ.