Monday, September 14, 2009

Darwin v. Dobson? Really?

If you want to see the excellent Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly in “Creation,” a film about Charles Darwin, you might have to leave the country or wait for the DVD. The film has failed to find a U.S. distributor, says producer Jeremy Thomas, because distributors are afraid of the religious right:
"The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it's because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

That sucks, since I remember seeing previews for the film and it looked really cool.

Thomas believes U.S. distributors are cowed by conservative Christian groups like Focus on the Family and the American Family Assn., and are afraid of controversy. The article points to comments on Christian entertainment websites about the film, notes that “Creation” opened the Toronto Film Festival and received positive reviews from The Hollywood Reporter, and concludes that U.S. film distributors are too chicken shit to take on the religious right.

I dunno, I’m gonna call bullshit on that one. For one thing, Icon Productions is distributing the film in the U.K. and Australia. That’s Mel Gibson’s production company; is he really that scared of James Dobson and Pat Robertson and the rest of the fundiegelicals who think he hung the moon since he smacked Jesus around for three hours in "The Passion Of The Christ"?

More to the point, since when has Hollywood ever cared what conservative Christian groups think--unless they are trying to enlist their support selling something, like the “Narnia” movies? They released Bill Maher’s “Religulous,” didn’t they? Oliver Stone’s “W”? Michael Moore’s films? They release all sorts of controversial stuff to American movie theaters, from sex- and violence-filled fare to more serious treatises on gays, AIDs, religion, you name it.

So I doubt any distributor gives a crap what Donald Wildmon or James Dobson have to say. Controversy is usually good to drum up a little publicity about a film. And maybe that’s what Jeremy Thomas is trying to do here: generate a little controversy to spark some interest in the U.S. media.

I’d definitely like to see the film, though. In the meantime, they have a really cool website. Below is a description of the film and the trailer. Hope U.S. distributors stop messing around and release the film here.

Creation was developed by BBC Films and the UK Film Council, and stars Bettany's real-life wife Jennifer Connelly as Darwin's deeply religious wife, Emma. It is based on the book, Annie's Box, by Darwin's great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes, and portrays the naturalist as a family man tormented by the death in 1851 of Annie, his favourite child. She is played in the film by 10-year-old newcomer Martha West, the daughter of The Wire star Dominic West.