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Copyrighted, New Line Cinema.

Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) (left) as Mary and Hiam Abbass (right) as Anna.

New Line Cinema will release “The Nativity Story” on December 1, 2006 in theaters throughout North America. Production of the drama reportedly began May 1, 2006, with primary location shooting in Italy and Morocco. “The Nativity Story” is currently in post-production. The film’s script writer Mike Rich, a Christian, is known for his writing of Dennis Quaid’s “The Rookie” and Cuba Gooding’s “Radio”. Mr. Rich is the co-winner of two Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards for those movies. His first big script sale was Finding Forrester (starring Sean Connery) which he wrote while News Director and morning news DJ for a popular FM radio station in Portland, Oregon.

Copyrighted, New Line Cinema.

Screenwriter Mike Rich on location of The Nativity Story

Focusing on getting inside the minds and hearts of Mary and Joseph, Rich says he felt compelled both spiritually and emotionally to tackle this subject matter. For me, the scenes that resonated so much for me when I was writing the script were the one-on-one scenes with Mary and Joseph I thought it was just a remarkable journey of faith. Concerned with the difficulty and importance of the project, he requested the prayers of his pastor and church. Given that relatively little detail is provided by the Bible on the events, he reports that the script was sent for comment to as many theologians and historians as possible, to gain accuracy and insight.

“The Nativity Story” includes the visit by the angel to Mary, her visit with cousin Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph’s trip to from Nazareth to Bethlehem, King Herod, the wise men, etc. Playing the role of Mary is Keisha Castle-Hughes (Queen Naboo in “Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith” and Paikea in “Whale Rider”. Oscar Isaac is Joseph, and Elizabeth is played by Shohreh Aghdashloo (the memorable wife of an Arab terrorist in TVs “24,” and Dr. Kavita Rao in “X-Men: The Last Stand”). Director Catherine Hardwicke is best known for her work on Thirteen (2003, writer/director), Lords of Dogtown (2005, director), and as production designer on Tom Cruises Vanilla Sky (2001) and George Clooneys Three Kings (1999).

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