Very good replies so far.
I’ll have a go at my own questions, for the moment.
I’m thinking of making a film that mainly follows the narrative structure of the Gospel of Mark (by the way, Mark has got to be the only Gospel left that as of now does not have a film based solely on it!), but I’m not confining myself there - the structure would be Mark’s, yes, but the details would probably be from all four Gospels. And because it’s Markan, we would begin with John the Baptist before we come to Jesus.
As for the infancy narratives, I’ll probably have put references or flashbacks into it - if there’s any way of effectively putting them.
I’m also thinking of inserting the so-called agrapha - sayings of Jesus that are not found in the canonical Gospels but are included in say, other books of the NT, the writings of the Church Fathers, and some apocryphal gospels. For example, Acts 20:35 contains a saying attributed to Jesus not found in the Gospels: “It is a more blessed thing to give, rather than to receive.” Another example comes from Clement of Alexandria, who often quotes agrapha: “Have you seen your brother? You have seen your God.” (Stromata 1.19)
Aside from the Gospels, other useful sources would probably be Josephus (he’s also a given!), Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger (the three for Roman history), the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the Mishnah and Talmud (how the latter two works accurately reflect 1st century Judaism is still a matter of debate, but they would also probably come in handy) and the Church Fathers.
SalesianSDB makes a good point: since Mel made his film in Aramaic and Latin, it’s as if everyone now feels an obligation to make their film in whatever language the characters originally spoke.
Given that I don’t want to be seen as copying what Mel did, and also due to the fact that the dialects that people spoke in Iudaea Province were long dead (the Aramaic of TPoTC is just a reconstruction actually) which would require us to reconstruct many of them from scratch, I think I’ll have it in English.
This is where the fun part comes. I’m thinking of having the Galilean characters - say, Jesus and His disciples - speak in a dialect/accent (which would of course represent Galilean Aramaic) different from that which the characters from say, Judea or Samaria, use. Which means that everyone would have their own accents, depending on where they hail from. I’m envisioning a sort of thick ‘country accent’ for Jesus, Mary, the Apostles and whatnot (it might seem bemusing and rather funny at first glance - I’m thinking that a certain sector would even denounce this as blasphemous! - but we need to remember that St. Peter was made fun of because of his accent! :p) with a more urbane, closer-to-the-Received-Pronunciation-English for Jerusalemites.
Of course! As a devotee of historical accuracy (the love of which made me a nitpicker :eek:), I’m willing to take into consideration most, if not all, archeological, anthropological, social, and literary findings available. Admittedly, I’m willing to make things historically credible even if that means eschewing traditional, popular iconography (i.e. the way we commonly and stereotypically envision and picture the events of the Bible, usually formed by years of exposure to religious art). I’m willing to take it THAT far to the point that I expect I’m probably going to draw flak from a number of people.
Also unknowns. Pier Paulo Pasolini successfully made a film about Jesus using a cast of non-actors (for example, he cast his own mother in the role of the elderly Mary and had an economics student - now a chess player - in the role of Christ!). And as SalesianSDB pointed out, well-known stars tend to bring a lot of baggage with them (see for example the (in)famous 1965 epic The Greatest Story Ever Told, with John Wayne as the centurion at Calvary! ;)).
Also, I’m thinking of an ironic fact: Jesus was a Jew, but AFAIK no person of Jewish ancestry has ever yet played the role of the Son of God on the silver screen. Granted, white and black people have played Jesus over the years - and there are some who at least come from the right continent or have a quite close enough pedigree, but as of now, we do not have yet a ‘Jewish’ Jesus.
BTW, if I may add another crucial question: how would you portray Jesus?