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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

‘Noah’ faces a flood of fatwas in the Middle East

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 11:25 PM PDT

Hollywood's Noah film adaptation starring Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins gets banned in Qatar, Bahrain and UAE ahead of its premiere.

Three Arab countries have banned the Hollywood film Noah on religious grounds before its worldwide premiere and several others are expected to follow suit, a representative of Paramount Pictures told Reuters on Saturday.

Islam frowns upon representing holy figures in art and depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in European and North American media have repeatedly sparked deadly protests in Islamic countries over the last decade, fanning cultural tensions with the West.

"Censors for Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) officially confirmed this week that the film will not release in their countries," a representative of Paramount Pictures, which produced the US$125mil (RM410mil) film starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, told Reuters.

"The official statement they offered in confirming this news is because 'it contradicts the teachings of Islam'," the representative said, adding the studio expected a similar ban in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait.

The film will premiere in the United States on March 28.

Noah, who in the Bible's Book Of Genesis built the ark that saved his family and many pairs of animals from a great flood, is revered by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. An entire chapter in the Quran is devoted to him.

Cairo's Al-Azhar, the highest authority of Sunni Islam and a main centre of Islamic teaching for over a millennium, issued a fatwa, or religious injunction, against the film on Thursday.

"Al-Azhar ... renews its objection to any act depicting the messengers and prophets of God and the companions of the Prophet (Mohammad), peace be upon him," it announced in a statement.

They "provoke the feelings of believers ... and are forbidden in Islam and a clear violation of Islamic law," the fatwa added.

Noah, whose official video trailer depicts a burly Crowe wielding an axe and computer-animated geysers swamping an army of sinners hoping to board his ark, has also stoked religious controversy in the US. 

Jerry A. Johnson, president of a conservative National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) group, said last month he wanted to "make sure everyone who sees this impactful film knows this is an imaginative interpretation of Scripture, and not literal."

Paramount responded by agreeing to issue a disclaimer on advertising for the film.

"While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," the advisory reads. – Reuters

Idris Elba might play 'Jungle Book' tiger

Posted: 09 Mar 2014 07:30 PM PDT

The actor is most likely to voice the menacing tiger in Disney's live-action remake of the classic cartoon.

Move over, Richard Parker! Disney has found the perfect actor to voice the killer tiger Shere Khan in Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book, as Idris Elba is nearing a deal to star in the live-action movie, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.

Disney's Jungle Book movie, which was written by Justin Marks, will be a mix of live-action and VFX. The studio is in a race with Warner Bros to bring Rudyard Kipling's classic tale to the big screen. WB's project suffered a setback when Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu bowed out.

Jungle Book follows Mowgli, a young orphan raised in the jungle by wild animals. Shere Khan is the tiger who stalks the boy and decides to kill him when he becomes a threat.

Elba, who recently played Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, is preparing to star in Cary Fukunaga's Beasts Of No Nation. The news was first reported by Deadline. — Reuters

David Fincher working on Steve Jobs biopic

Posted: 09 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

The filmmaker is going back to the world of tech with a new film. 

Having put Mark Zuckerberg on the big screen in The Social Network, American director David Fincher is getting back into the world of tech and data with a biopic of Steve Jobs.

The film will be based on Walter Isaacson's biography Steve Jobs, first published late 2011 following the death of Apple's Mac and iPhone champion.

A positive decision by the filmmaker would reunite The Social Network trio of Fincher, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and producer Scott Rudin.

Their interpretation of Zuckerberg's rise to Facebook fame and fortune won three Oscars in 2011.

Design genius to some, controversial for others, Jobs has already been given a feature film biography by way of Jobs.

That 2013 picture focused on the Apple impresario's career up to the iPod's debut in 2001. Ashton Kutcher was in the title role, with Joshua Michael Stern directing.

One common criticism related to its portrayal of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The computer engineer had instead decided to consult on Sony's upcoming film; he had previously approved of the portrayal of various Apple personalities in 1999 film Pirates Of Silicon Valley, while autobiography iWoz: From Computer Geek To Cult Icon was published 2006.

Fincher makes his return toward the end of 2014 with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. – AFP Relaxnews

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