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Variety reported last week that Jack Huston is currently starring in a movie called I salute you mariewhich the trade journal described as “a modern biblical fantasy that upends the mythology of Mary and Joseph” and as “a retelling of the story of Mary and Joseph, which promises to alter ‘everything you thought you believed in’.”
The film has something to do with a miraculously pregnant immigrant from Belize named Maria (Natalia del Riego) who tries to enter the United States through a tunnel under the Rio Grande that a carpenter named Jose (Benny Emmanuel) built for her. Mexican cartels. I don’t know if this is just a retelling of the Nativity story in a modern setting – to the Jean-Luc Godard I salute you marie (1985), which was set in Switzerland – or if it’s something more than that, as the official plot synopsis says something about this birth as a prelude to “the second coming”.
(Is it another movie, like the 2000s bless the child, who supposes that the second coming of Christ will be like the first, with a virgin birth and everything? If so, it reflects a deep misunderstanding of Orthodox Christianity, which holds that Jesus is always incarnates as a resurrected human being and therefore does not need reincarnation.)
Jack Huston, who previously starred in the 2016 remake of Ben Hur (and made an appearance in the adjacent Bible film Hello, Caesar!), plays a “devil’s right-hand man” named Baal who pursues Maria, while Angela Sarafyan, who plays one of the robot sex workers in HBO’s Westworld, plays “Archangel Gabrielle”. (Side note: Sarafyan’s Westworld co-star Rodrigo Santoro played Jesus opposite Huston’s Judah Ben-Hur in the Ben Hur remake. Everything is connected, I tell you. Everything is connected.)
Surprisingly, Houston’s Ben Hur was the only major theatrical version of this story that made do not have a Nativity sequence. (The 1925 and 1959 versions both had them.) So it’s kind of funny to see him, now, in a movie that riffs on the Nativity story in some way.
The film’s director, Rosemary Rodriguez, has a long list of TV credits but has only directed two previous feature films, namely the 2001 one. acts of worship and 2016 silver sky. The film’s screenplay is written by Knate Lee, whose previous credits include The New Mutantsthe last two Donkey movies and the most recent version of Stephen King The stall.
The film is currently shooting in Mexico. No release date has yet been set. Stay tuned.