Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

by leavingwt 29 Replies latest social current

  • leavingwt

    Telegraph UK: Charles Darwin Film 'Too Controversial for Religious America'

    A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

    Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

    The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

    However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution., an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.

    The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as "a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying".

    Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.

    "That's what we're up against. In 2009. It's amazing," he said.

    "The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it's because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

    "It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.

    "Charles Darwin is, I suppose, the hero of the film. But we tried to make the film in a very even-handed way. Darwin wasn't saying 'kill all religion', he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people."

    Creation was developed by BBC Films and the UK Film Council, and stars Bettany's real-life wife Jennifer Connelly as Darwin's deeply religious wife, Emma. It is based on the book, Annie's Box, by Darwin's great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes, and portrays the naturalist as a family man tormented by the death in 1851 of Annie, his favourite child. She is played in the film by 10-year-old newcomer Martha West, the daughter of The Wire star Dominic West.

    Early reviews have raved about the film. The Hollywood Reporter said: "It would be a great shame if those with religious convictions spurned the film out of hand as they will find it even-handed and wise."

    Mr Thomas, whose previous films include The Last Emperor and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, said he hoped the reviews would help to secure a distributor. In the UK, special screenings have been set up for Christian groups.

  • OnTheWayOut

    39% OFFICIALLY believe in evolution. If the remainder could be honest, polls would put it over the top.
    But I don't see much interest in a box office showing of this story. Even atheists like their drama a bit more exciting.
    I saw a semi-documentary with Darwin as a character. Even with good acting, it was not exciting.

    Still, I would watch it.

  • BurnTheShips

    Hah! It is the same actor as the ship's doctor in Master and Commander. He actually went to the Galapagos islands in the movie and cataloged species there. He's probably a great Darwin. However, after watching the trailer, I suspect the tension between belief in God and Evolution was less great than what the movie conveys. Asa Gray, the most important botanist of the 19th century had a close and important relationship with Darwin. He provided some of the background info for his book, he helped get his book published in the US, was a defender of him, and he was a devout believer.


  • villabolo

    Just goes to show how pathetic this nation has become. In the 1960's I remember watching Inherit the Wind on television. It was about the famous 1925 Scopes "monkey trial". There's even a 1999 version of it.


  • Deputy Dog
    Deputy Dog

    I wonder if the film depicts him as the racist he was. That may not go over well in America.

  • Satanus

    Racism was the standard, back then, as political correctness is being pushed as a standard, today. Americans unable to take a look into the past says something about them.


  • glenster
  • JWoods

    Probably nobody knows what really goes on in marketing of one of these "science specials", but I would suspect some promotional benefit in publicizing this kind of "America afraid of an evolution science special" nonsense.

    Good grief - it is not as if we have not had all kinds of evolutionary science shows about Darwin before. And decades ago, the famous movie.

    BTW, I was actually amazed to see this Sunday - on the other hand - a practically revisionist Einstein special in which they equated his resistance to the Heisenberg-style Quantum Theory (uncertainty principles) to a practically Jewish belief in "God". They seemed to take great delight in pronouncing Einstein dead wrong (and maybe senile) as a result of stubborn God-fantasies.

    Einstein was not a religious zealot. His references to god were at most scientific euphamisms to the unknown and unknowable aspects of the cosmos.

  • BurnTheShips

    Indeed. If there was one thing Einstein believed, it was in the rational deterministic order of the cosmos. He was a real Spinozan. Quantum theory, with all of it's uncertainties and unknowables, deeply disagreed with his world view.


  • PSacramento

    Its funny how tragedy works, Darwin loses his daughter, blames God/loses faith in God and "discovers" evolution.

    I guess if you go looking for something, you will find it.

    One wonders if Darwin had a different understanding of God's role ( or non-role) in a tragedy like his, if things woudl be different, if we would be having this debate?

    Probably, it was only a matter of time before science questioned creation or at least the biblical view of creation as a literal thing.

    One thing I believe is that life is random, the old adage "bad things happen to good people" is quite correct, though I would rather view it as "bad things happen, period". There is no cosmic manipulation, randomness is just that, random.

    Sure we can increase the chances of something random happening, like getting hit by a car or something like that, but its not a cosmic act of payback or a divine test of faith or Satan doing his works, nope.

    As for evolution, what's these thing about the human eye being a case against evolotion? I heard that in passing last weekend?

Share this