New Movie About "Chariots of Fire" Runner Will Ignore His Christianity?
A new movie being made about one of the most famous Christians of the 20th century, an Olympic runner Eric Liddell, will reportedly ignore his Christianity.
You might remember Liddell's story because of his refusal to run in the 1924 Olympics on a Sunday because of his Christianity. He didn't run in the 100m on Sunday but instead ran in 400m and won gold. Pretty amazing story, right? Yeah, a movie was made about it called Chariots of Fire which focused on Liddell's Christianity. It won like a gazillion Academy Awards.
But Liddell's story only became more amazing later in life. Instead of becoming a professional athlete or returning to the Olympics, Liddell then went to China as a missionary and was captured by the invading Japanese army. While there, none other than Winston Churchill arranged a prisoner trade for Liddell. But when it came time to make the exchange, Liddell had a pregnant woman go free instead of him. He died in prison shortly after.
A movie, with backing from the Chinese government, will be made but guess which aspect of his life will reportedly be ignored? His Christianity. The producers of the film, which will star Joseph Fiennes of "Shakespeare in Love" fame, already admitted that Liddell's Christianity "will not be emphasized."
The Christian Examiner reports:
Liddell's niece told the Daily Record a film about Eric Liddell, especially in his final years, has to be a film about his faith or he is not accurately portrayed. "Without the Christian element in him, it just doesn't sound like Eric Liddell," Sue Liddell Caton told the newspaper. "I would find it strange if there was no reference to Christianity."
"His whole life was based on the Christian belief – certainly when he went back to China. My grandfather was a missionary in China and a reverend and so was Eric," Caton said. But the writer of the film, shot in parts of Canada, Britain and China, argues that Liddell was not outspoken about his faith.
Michael Parker said Liddell "wasn't evangelical in terms of pushing Christianity on others. He was who he was and, as much as possible, that will be portrayed in the film."
So a movie about a Christian missionary who sacrificed himself for others will not emphasize his Christianity. How does one do that? Don't actors always ask what their motivation is? I guess Joseph Fiennes was told to ignore what motivated Liddell. I guess audiences will be asked to do the same.