"Jay-Z and Jeymes Samuel Unveil Biblical Epic 'The Book of Clarence'"

In 2021, the BFI London Film Festival made a bold and star-studded opening with the Netflix film The Harder They Fall, a Western featuring an ensemble cast including Regina King, Idris Elba, LaKeith Stanfield, Jonathan Majors, Delroy Lindo, and Zazie Beetz. The film’s premiere at London’s Royal Festival Hall drew attention, especially with the presence of producer Jay-Z and Beyonce, resulting in a lively atmosphere.

Another film generating buzz is The Book of Clarence, a biblical story written and directed by Jeymes Samuel, who also helmed The Harder They Fall. Boasting a cast led by LaKeith Stanfield and with Jay-Z as a producer, this cinematic epic offers a unique perspective on a timeless biblical narrative from an everyday person’s viewpoint.

“I always wanted to explore Bible stories from the perspective of characters like the person who sold sandals to Jesus or the owner of the local hair salon,” explained Samuel in an interview with Vanity Fair. The film follows Clarence, a Jerusalemite who transforms into a Messiah not out of deep religious devotion but for personal gain. However, as his journey unfolds, Clarence begins to experience a profound spiritual awakening.

“I’m Clarence, not without my flaws,” declares Stanfield, who portrays the titular character, in the film’s two-minute trailer. “I played the hand I was dealt.” The movie also features Omar Sy, RJ Cyler, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, Anna Diop, David Oyelowo, Alfre Woodard, and Teyana Taylor in supporting roles.

The Book of Clarence is scheduled to premiere in theaters on January 12, 2024.

Piers Potter


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