Jay-Z, the rapper turned producer, and director Jeymes Samuel have placed their bets on a biblical comedy called “The Book of Clarence” at the start of the year.
“The Book of Clarence” tells the story of a troubled man who seeks to improve his life by pretending to be the Messiah. The narrative unfolds in 29 AD, following the rise of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.
Jay-Z, speaking about the project, explains that his intention was to have fun and release a product he believes in. He aims to represent his culture, which is why they chose to set the story in the Old West and now transition to the New Testament, where they belong.
After directing his first feature film, “The Harder They Fall,” a African-American western featuring Idris Elba and Regina King, Jeymes Samuel finally unveils a cinematic adventure with epic action and his beloved heroes. The preparation for this film took nearly a decade. He notes that although there was always time to tell the story, no one was willing to make it until he took the initiative. He began formulating the concept in the early 2000s, worked on some songs in 2005, and finally wrote the script in 2017. After the release of “The Harder They Fall,” he realized it was the right time to transition from the Old West to the New Testament.
Filming for “The Book of Clarence” commenced in November 2022 in Italy, specifically in Matera. The city provided a perfect backdrop for the film, as it already had an ancient atmosphere. The cast includes LaKeith Stanfield in the lead role of Clarence, along with Anna Diop and Omar Sy.
Omar Sy expressed his excitement about shooting in Matera, Italy, highlighting the city’s preparedness and the unique historical ambiance it provided. Being there for weeks created an intense and special atmosphere for the film.
“The Book of Clarence” had its world premiere at the 67th London Film Festival on October 11. It is set to be released theatrically in the United States on January 12.