Jesus Comes to Lionsgate Via ‘Zealot’ Deal

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Aslan's book published in July

Lionsgate has acquired the feature film rights to Reza Aslan’s book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.”

“Zealot” challenges long-held assumptions about Jesus by examining him through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived. Random House Publishing Group published the work in July.

Lionsgate has not set up the project with a producer. Aslan’s first book was “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.”

Production president Erik Feig, Gillian Bohrer and James Myers are overseeing the project for the studio.

“Reza Aslan has written a remarkable book that manages to bring the ancient world into contemporary relief and to make a timeless story very timely,” Feig said. ” We are excited to create this uniquely cinematic and immersive world for moviegoers to experience.”

Aslan said Lionsgate’s vision for “Zealot” is aligned with his objective in writing the book: “to illuminate the life of Jesus in a humanistic, as opposed to religious, context.”

Aslan was represented in the deal by UTA working in association with Elyse Cheney of Cheney Literary in New York and attorney Michael Schenkman of Bloom Hergott et al. Robert Melnik and Philip Strina negotiated the deal for Lionsgate.

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