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Newsbites: The historical and biblical edition!

1. Columbia Pictures has released a new trailer for the quasi-biblical comedy Year One, which opens June 19. (Slight warning: the trailer has just a wee touch of innuendo.) – ComingSoon.net

2. The first episode of Kings, the quasi-modernized version of the story of Saul and David, turned out to have even lower ratings than expected when it aired last Sunday, even after NBC moved it from its originally-intended Thursday-night slot. The rest of the first season has already been shot, so the network might as well air the remaining episodes, but it is open to question whether the show will be renewed for a second season. – Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Nikki Finke

3. Rome star Ray Stevenson says the prospect of a big-screen follow-up to that TV series is "no longer a smoke and mirrors rumor. . . . From what I have heard, they are nearing the end of script development. We shall see." When series creator Bruno Heller discussed the possibility of a big-screen spin-off in November, he mentioned that the show would have dealt with "the rise of the messiah in Palestine" if it had not been cancelled, though he did not say whether the movie would go in that direction. – MovieWeb

4. The Robe (1953) was one of a number of films that were shot in two versions in the early days of widescreen filmmaking: one version was made in widescreen CinemaScope, and the other version was shot in the regular narrow aspect ratio, using "radically different camera angles and blocking, as well as showing subtle differences in the actors' performances." A bonus feature on the "special edition" of the film that came out on Blu-Ray this week allows the viewer to watch both versions simultaneously. Fox is also working on a high-def release of John Huston's The Bible: In the Beginning (1966). – New York Post (x2), Parallax View

5. Alan Doyle, recently cast as Allen a-Dale in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood movie, says there will be "a lot of singing" in the film: "A lot of it by different people in different parts of the film. I don't know quite yet if Russell and I will be singing together. But there will be lots of music in the film." Meanwhile, scholar Julian Luxford has found evidence that medieval monks did not regard Robin Hood in a particularly positive light, Friar Tuck notwithstanding. – MTV Movies Blog, Associated Press

6. Chow Yun-Fat will play the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius in a biopic being produced by the Chinese government to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. – Variety

7. Ronald Harwood will write a movie about the final days of Russian Czar Nicholas II and his family, based on Robert Alexander's fictionalized account The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar. – Variety

8. Tristan Wilds has been cast in Red Tails, the George Lucas-produced movie about "an elite all-black unit of escort pilots" that existed during World War II. – Hollywood Reporter

9. Race to Witch Mountain co-writer Mark Bomback is writing Agent Zigzag, a spy drama based on Ben Macintyre's book about Edward Arnold Chapman, a habitual criminal turned British-German double agent during World War II. – Variety

10. Defiance, based on the true story of four Jewish brothers who led a resistance movement against the Nazis in Poland, "has tanked at the Warsaw box office after months of criticism over what many Poles see as Hollywood rewriting history." – Variety

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