Rice will trace faith

Good News Holdings picks up Christian bestseller

Anne Rice’s “Lestat” closed after a short Broadway run, but she still has faith.

Good News Holdings, formed last fall to produce faith-based content in multimedia formats, has made its first significant movie deal by acquiring Rice bestseller “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.”

Rice, who adapted her gothic novel “Interview With the Vampire,” is penning the “Christ” script. No studio is attached yet, but the goal is a Christmas 2007 release.

L.A.-based Good News Holdings is run by George Barna, a bestselling author and researcher of Christian trends.

Also part of Good News is former Paramount Motion Picture Group president David Kirkpatrick; former Microsoft branding consultant Christopher Chisholm; ex-“Today” show producer Martha Cotton; former Barna Group business partner Thom Black; and Rich Christopher, the former CEO of Silicon Valley chipmaker Equator.

Other ventures include delivering Christian content through mobile phones via cellular division FaithMobile.

Rice, who stopped writing gothic novels shortly after she returned to the Christian faith following a 38-year estrangement, has made researching and chronicling the life of Christ her singular mission since 2002. “Out of Egypt” was the first of what she expects will be a four-book series.

The first installment began when Christ turned 7 years old and started to realize his destiny. The book covers the move of Christ and his Jewish family from Egypt to Nazareth.

Rice was very vocal when “Interview With the Vampire” was made into a movie, initially disparaging the casting of Tom Cruise before changing her mind.

“Any agony or joy I suffered on ‘Interview,’ multiply it by 100 because it is just so crucial to me that this story get done right,” Rice said. As for the current crop of faith-based Hollywood projects, Rice loved “The Passion of the Christ” but not “The Da Vinci Code.”

“I thought ‘Passion’ was magnificent,” she said. ” ‘Da Vinci Code’ I found to be profoundly offensive and tragically disconnected from the world of those who believe in Christ. The idea of people running around, willing to kill one another over whether Jesus was married, that was ridiculous and appalling. This was old fashion gothic horror having a field day with the Church.”

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