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Banderas's Movie Delayed Under Religious Fears

Banderas's Movie Delayed Under Religious Fears

Antonio Banderas's new movie The Body took 15 years to get to the screen - because film-makers were worried it would offend religious groups. The film sees Banderas star as a Vatican-appointed Jesuit priest alongside British actress Olivia Williams, who plays an Israeli archaeologist. The pair are involved in a search which discovers bones in a Jerusalem tomb - thought to be those of Jesus Christ. The film's director, Jonas McCord is anticipating a backlash from groups of Christians, Jews and Arabs, when the movie is released in Los Angeles and New York on Friday, but insists the film is not intended to offend. He says, "There was a time, nine years ago, that the film was at Universal Pictures. Liam Neeson was ready to sign onto the project, but right before we were going off to do the thing, the then studio chief Sid Sheinberg read the script and said, 'Oh my God, I don't want blood all over Lew Wasserman's door." The studio had just released The Last Temptations Of Christ and were worried about gaining more bad publicity over a religious-themed movie. Years later, with a cast headlined by Banderas and independent financing, McCord finally journeyed to Israel, where principal photography was completed in 1999.