Movies Review

The Book of Clarence: Meet your new messiah in the trailer for Jeymes Samuel’s biblical epic

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The outrageous mind of Jeymes Samuel, who last brought us Netflix’s The Harder They Fall, is tackling blasphemous themes in his new biblical satire from TriStar Pictures and Legendary. The Book of Clarence sees LaKeith Stanfield doing the unthinkable — posing as humanity’s next lord and savior. Stanfield is joined by an all-star cast that features the acting talents of Omar Sy, RJ Cyler, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, Anna Diop, Teyana Taylor, David Oyelowo, Alfre Woodard, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Additionally, the cast also includes Caleb McLaughlin, Babs Olusanmokun, Eric Kofi-Abrefa, Nicholas Pinnock, Micheal Ward, Chase Dillon, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.

The synopsis reads, “Inspired by classic Hollywood epics set in biblical times, Legendary’s The Book of Clarence tells the tale of Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield), a down-on-his-luck denizen of Jerusalem embarking on a misguided attempt to capitalize on the rise of celebrity and influence of the Messiah for his own personal gain. It’s a journey that leads him on an exploration of the idea of faith and to an unexpected path of his own.”

As satirical as the premise is, the trailer does not give off a Mel Brooks-type of tone as it is being played straight and feels more solemn, with Prince’s I Would Die 4 U serving as the soundtrack for the trailer. The trailer also promotes that the movie will be featuring new original music from Samuel and rapper Jay-Z. Samuel will be producing the film along with James Lassiter, Tendo Nagenda, and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Garrett Grant is on board as an executive producer.

The film will be distributed by Sony Pictures, who enjoyed the humble success of their last adult-oriented drama, The Woman King, last year. That film would open with an opening weekend of $19 million and grossed over $150 million globally. Samuel’s The Harder They Fall was a Netflix original and had won him the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Director. Samuel is also a British singer/songwriter whose stage name is The Bullitts and has worked with another eccentric filmmaker, Elvis‘ Baz Luhrmann, as an executive music consultant for The Great Gatsby. Prior to The Harder They Fall, he had made a short western titled, They Die by Dawn, which starred Rosario Dawson, Michael K. Williams, Erykah Badu, and Jesse Williams.

The Book of Clarence starts its service on January 12, 2024.

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