How does one make a film about Christ for non-Christians? This question presented special challenges for Brad Mirman and Keith Giglio, the screenwriters for Joshua. The film is based on the novel Joshua: A Parable for Today by retired Catholic priest Joseph Girzone. It places Joshua, a Christ figure, among the residents of tiny, semirural Auburn.
Joshua opened in selected theaters on April 19. A soundtrack, compiled by Michael W. Smith, features several original songs by artists such as Jaci Velasquez, Brooks & Dunn, Nicole C. Mullen and Mark Schultz, and Point of Grace.
Joshua is the first release of Epiphany Films, a specialty label of Crusader Entertainment, LLC, which was formed in February. Epiphany, backed by investor Phillip Anschutz of Denver, says it will produce films with wholesome content—sometimes explicitly Christian, sometimes not.
Joshua features performances by F. Murray Abraham as the antagonistic Father Tardone and Giancarlo Giannini as the pope. Tony Goldwyn, whose other major roles include the villains in Ghost and The Pelican Brief, plays Joshua.
Goldwyn's Joshua is not the gaunt, bearded, starry-eyed Savior of other films that have depicted Jesus. This wiry, good-natured carpenter and artisan gives cooking pointers to a weary woman in a troubled marriage, sings with Gen-Xers at an outdoor worship service, and invites a nosy mailman into his home for a meal.
A Jesus for Seekers
The unconventional depiction is part of the producers' goal to tell a spiritual story to a secular audience. "I feel that the more recent attempts in the spiritual genre have been almost designed to entertain Christians," coproducer Bob Beltz tells CT. "We wanted something that we thought would have more of a mainstream impact, that ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more