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Young Messiah Director Wants People to Talk About Jesus
Young Messiah Director Wants People to Talk About Jesus

Young Messiah Director Wants People to Talk About Jesus

By Jacob Sahms

Cyrus Nowrasteh gained worldwide attention with his film, The Stoning of Soraya M, a film that built on a journalist's exploration of Iran's tradition of stoning women caught in adultery. Seven years later, Nowrasteh is unveiling a singular vision of Jesus' childhood, The Young Messiah. ChristianCinema.com caught up with the screenwriter director to discuss how he arrived at this moment. Nowrasteh proved by thoughtful in his faithful exploration and his understanding of his the film would be received by believers in the audience.

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The film follows the young boy Jesus as his parents, Joseph and Mary, journey back from Egypt to Israel. Along the way, they discover more about Jesus' powers of healing, and discover that not everyone is keen on what Jesus is capable of. One of those nefarious characters is Herod, who sends a centurion (Sean Bean) to eradicate Jesus one way or another. 

A few years ago, Nowrasteh's co-screenwriter (and spouse) read Anne Rice's series about Jesus' early years, including Christ the Lord. "I never imagined I'd end up making the story," he admitted. "But the story ended up in our hands and we did a lot of research. We talked to scholars, pastors, friends and built on the immense amount of research Anne Rice had already done.

When it came time to cast, Nowrasteh was looking for mostly unknowns. "We looked at hundreds of boys and the one we cast was far and away the best. Not everyone was keen on the film because they were afraid of being typecast. But it all revolved around the boy - and Sean Bean's gravitas from his role on things like Game of Thrones certainly helped."

The film certainly rests heavily on the young man's shoulders, as he shows Jesus to be a child who is quite wise, at times uncertain, humble, and powerful - all at the same time. The film shows the way the boy Jesus sought answers to questions about his miraculous powers and a dark, mysterious only he can see. But Jesus' profound impact on adults, even as a child, is certainly of importance to Nowrasteh. Again set in the Middle East, is there any way he could build on what he had done before?

"Soraya M. was a mission movie," Nowrasteh admitted. "It came together faster than we could've expected and really grabbed people's attention."

Did that help him prepare for The Young Messiah, a film that is sure to be received by some and rejected by others? "We set out to make a movie that was true to our faith and the biblical narrative," he shared. "Not everyone was happy with Stoning and not everyone will be happy with the Young Messiah. But we are intent on building their faith."

"We want people to talk about Jesus, to do research, to read their Bibles."

Audiences will be waiting expectantly for the film coming March 11.


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