Eddie Murphy is set to star this summer in a big screen adaptation of the New Testament. This has caused controversy, however, as it was revealed that Murphy planned, as has been the case with other recent work, to play every single character in the picture.
The film’s opening scene features Murphy, as the Virgin Mary, giving birth to himself, as Jesus Christ, before he enters the stable as three slightly differently dressed ‘wise brothas’, and gives himself an assortment of gifts, all whilst he looks proudly on at the scene as Joseph of Nazareth.
In defense of his choice to take every role in picture, Murphy has said “the whole point of the bible is that we’re all one, right? I just figured this was the most effective way to put that across.”
Many sections of the film are said to have taken multiple weeks to shoot as Murphy played out entire scenes as each of the 5000 peasants Jesus feeds.
The film is to be written by Oscar winning genius Charlie Kaufman who, Eddie Murphy says, has been "waiting his whole life to work with Eddie Murphy."
However, after focus groups felt the film "only really plays to Christian audiences", the film’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer has decided to attempt to broaden the film’s appeal, claiming this could be the most financially successful film about woodwork of all time.
They have attempted to make the Bible story ‘religiously ambiguous’ by insert scenes in which Murphy as Jesus wears Hindu forehead markings, and later appears to own a miniature statue of Buhha. Similarly, several scenes have been changed: instead of simply walking on water, Murphy’s Jesus is said to surf an enormous wave, set to heat-stopping Hans Zimmer strings, in hopes of enticing fans of modern action flicks. The scene of the last supper features several disciples getting a little too merry on Jesus' wine and going streaking, to play to a younger, Will Ferrell loving audience.
Equally Murphy, worried as he ages about his sex waning appeal, is said to have demanded "at least eleven minutes" of nudity, including a scene in which Murphy’s Jesus heals a leper by rubbing his penis along the leper’s thigh, and a newly inserted love scene between Murphy as Jesus and Murphy as Mary Magdalene, which has between described by Murphy as “ludicrously sexually charged.”
Some have accused the film of being “cynical”. They question the including product placement, as Murphy as Jesus heals a blind man by giving him a pair of Specsavers glasses, and feeds 5000 of himself with a bag of Hovis and two Tesco Luxury Fish pies, as well as dismissing the crucifixion scene, which they say is "played for laughs."
The pope is said to have slammed the changes to the story as “historically inaccurate.”