×

Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi Shine Light on Faith at ‘The Star’ Premiere

With the holidays just around the corner, Sony Pictures Animation turned Westwood into a winter wonderland as it rolled out its snow white carpet for the premiere of “The Star” on Sunday.

Yes, the nativity story has been retold many times on screen. “The Star,” however, is the first film to show the first Christmas from the animals’ point of view.

“The Bible doesn’t tell us what the animals were thinking, so that’s a sandbox that we basically had free rein to be creative in,” director Timothy Reckart said.

Additionally, “The Star” is one of the few faith-based animated features to have a wide theatrical release — after DreamWorks’ “The Prince of Egypt” in 1998. Still, producer DeVon Franklin (“Miracles From Heaven”) explained to Variety why the new family film’s plot isn’t the only part of the project that can be considered “unchartered territory.”

“This is the first CGI-animated film from a major studio, based on a Bible story, ever in the history of Hollywood,” Franklin shared.

Although the film follows the birth of Jesus Christ, Walden Media CEO Frank Smith and Naia Cucukov, senior VP of development and production, agreed that faith-based films can have universal themes for everyone to enjoy.

“Even though it’s going to be fun and have music in it and have jokes, it’s got to have the true message,” Smith said.

“It’s [about] believing in yourself,” Cucukov added.

Gina Rodriguez, who plays Mary in the film, told Variety that her faith and the film’s good nature drew her to the project. “It’s typecasting,” she joked, in reference to her characters in the film and in The CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”

“If you go back to the Bible, he didn’t say much,” co-star Zachary Levi said about his character, Joseph. “[But] the writers did a great job of bringing a lot of that to life.”

With a star-studded cast, including Oprah Winfrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Mariah Carey, Steven Yeun, Keegan-Michael Key, Tyler Perry, and Anthony Anderson, the soundtrack has its own star power, featuring Carey, Kirk Franklin, Jessie James Decker, and Fifth Harmony — who were also on hand for the Los Angeles screening.

“The Star” bows Nov. 17.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • The Old Beverly Hills Post Office'Wallis

    The Wallis Cancels April and May Programming in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

    The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has cancelled its upcoming programming for the months of April and May in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The performing arts center located in Beverly Hills had already wiped its calendar and closed its premises from public access for the remainder of March, but the center made [...]

  • Watch Rosie O'Donnell and Elton John

    Watch Rosie O'Donnell, Elton John Accept Their GLAAD Media Awards

    The GLAAD Media Awards were supposed to happen Thursday night in New York City, but the LGBTQ media watchdog group canceled the 31st annual festivities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, GLAAD doesn’t want the day to go unnoticed, so the organization has released exclusive video to Variety of Elton John accepting the [...]

  • Tyra Banks Postpones ModelLand Theme Park

    Tyra Banks Postpones ModelLand Theme Park Opening

    Tyra Banks has put smizing on hold. The “America’s Next Top Model” host is postponing the opening of ModelLand, a theme park opening in Santa Monica, Calif. A new launch date has not been announced. “In light of the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and California Governor Gavin Newsom, we have decided to postpone the [...]

  • AIDS/LifeCycle Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    AIDS/LifeCycle Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    This year’s AIDS/LifeCycle has been canceled. The annual bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles is considered the largest single HIV/AIDS fundraising event in the world and benefits the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF). Last year’s ride raised more than $16 million. Past participants have included Rep. Adam [...]

  • Variety's Power of Women gift bag

    Variety's Power of Women Event Postponed

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Variety, the iconic entertainment business news media company, will postpone its high-profile Variety Power of Women: New York from April 3 to July 9. The accompanying magazine that includes the New York Women’s Impact Report will publish on July 7. Variety’s Power of Women events in Los Angeles and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content