History is full of stories about people who use religion to attain followers and grow their influence. Sometimes this is done for the greater good, and to make the world a better place. But far too often faith is exploited for personal gain: wealth, sex, and power. The Book of Clarence is one such story, and a very different kind of Biblical epic from The Harder They Fall director Jeymes Samuel.
LaKeith Stanfield stars as Clarence, a streetwise guy in 29 AD Jerusalem who is intrigued by the influence of Jesus, and ultimately becomes a Messiah for his own personal gain. But, ultimately, his journey leads him into an unexpected exploration of faith, attracting unwanted attention from those seeking to shut him down.
Stanfield, who reunites with Samuel on the film, is joined in the cast by Omar Sy, RJ Cyler, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, Anna Diop, David Oyelowo, Alfre Woodard, and Teyana Taylor. Jay-Z is aboard as one of the film’s producers and provides new music, just as he did for The Harder They Fall.
Here’s the official synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Jeymes Samuel, The Book of Clarence is a bold new take on the timeless Hollywood era Biblical epic. Streetwise but struggling, Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield) is trying to find a better life for himself and his family, make himself worthy to the woman he loves, and prove that he’s not a nobody. Captivated by the power and glory of the rising Messiah and His apostles, he risks everything to carve his own path to a divine life, a journey through which he finds redemption and faith, power and knowledge. The Book of Clarence Official Soundtrack features new music by Jeymes Samuel, JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi and more.
The Book of Clarence premiered last month at BFI London to glowing reviews. It hits theaters on January 12th 2024.