A new British film about Charles Darwin has failed to land a distribution deal in the States because his theories on human evolution are too controversial for religious American audiences, according to the film’s producer. Creation follows the British naturalist’s ‘struggle between faith and reason’ as he wrote his 1859 book, On The Origin Of The Species. The film, directed by Jon Amielm was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has now been sold to almost every territory in the world.
But US distributors have turned down the film that could cause uproar in a country that, on the whole, dismisses scientific theories of the way we evolved. Christian film review website Movieguide.org described Darwin as ‘a racist, a bigot and a 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder.’ The site also stated that his ‘half-baked theory’ influenced Adolf Hitler and led to ‘atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and generic engineering.’ Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published. ‘That’s what we’re up against. In 2009. It’s amazing,’ he said.
'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. 'It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There’s still a great belief that He made the world in six days. 'It’s quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.
‘Charles Darwin is, I suppose, the hero of the film. But we tried to make the film in a very even-handed way. Darwin wasn’t saying “kill all religion”, he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people.’ Earlier this week it was revealed how the daughter of The Wire star Dominic West will have her own taste of stardom thanks to the film. Martha West, 10, will join co-stars Paul Bettany and his wife Jennifer Connelly at the British premiere of Creation, a film about Charles Darwin.
Making her film debut, Martha plays Darwin’s daughter Annie, whose death pushed him towards writing about natural selection in The Origin Of Species. She won the role after attending open auditions at the suggestion of her father’s agent - despite the British actor’s initial misgivings. West, who plays Detective Jimmy McNulty in the cult American crime series, said: 'It’s not something I’d instantly want my children to do, but she’s always wanted to act. ‘I took her to the audition so she could see what a nightmare it is and she blew the doors off.’
The film’s director, Jon Amiel, said: 'I only found out after I cast her that she was Dominic West’s daughter. ‘It tends to indicate that talent for acting could possibly be genetic - something I’m sure Mr Darwin would have something to say about.’ Martha is West’s child with his former partner, Polly Astor. They split when she was a toddler but will both accompany her to the West End premiere at the Curzon Mayfair.