After weeks of being unable to find an American distribution company, the creators of a forthcoming biopic on the life and work of Charles Darwin hit pay dirt and announced that -- yes -- the film will be shown in the U.S.
Indie movie distributor Newmarket announced today that it has closed a deal to handle Jon Amiel's film which has already generated controversy over its sensitive material, namely, the theory of evolution.
"Creation," which stars Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin, and Jennifer Connelly as his wife, explores the personal agony of the famous naturalist who struggles with doubt and grief following the death of his daughter. Darwin's magisterial opus, "On the Origin of Species," provided a scientific account of how life developed on earth, and served to undermine traditional accounts of human origins as depicted in the bible. While some religious believers reconciled scripture and evolution, others -- including modern-day creationists -- defend the notion that a deity fashioned all life including human beings.
The debate over evolution has continued since Darwin's classic appeared 150 years ago, although earlier writings by other scientists and philosophers suggested a similar scenario for how life and the universe originated. Darwin's methodical work, however, proved a lighting rod for those who embraced biblical literalism. Today, only about 40% of Americans accept the broad outlines of evolutionary science. Creationism is a thriving movement, and throughout the country a battle rages over whether it should be taught in science classes as an "alternative" to Darwin's findings. A similar movement embraces "Intelligent Design" or ID, and states that scientific evidence reveals a universe deliberately fashioned to allow the emergence of life.
Courts have ruled that both creationism and ID are religious, and do not belong in public school science classes.
All of this, along with efforts to promote the 150th anniversary of "On The Origin of Species," has fueled controversy over the forthcoming film which opens tomorrow in European markets. According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. audiences will have to wait until December to see "Creation." Interestingly, Newmarket -- which has a solid reputation for promoting independent films including "The Usual Suspects," "Deadman," and "Donnie Darko" -- also distributed Mel Gibson's bloody "Passion of the Christ."
Chris Ball of Newmarket released a statement saying:
"We at Newmarket pride ourselves in getting behind important films that help open the door for discussion and conversation, as is the case with 'Creation.' While Darwin's name has come to symbolize one side in a debate between the scientific and the theological, 'Creation' personifies the debate, with both sides contending, sometimes violently, within the man. In that sense, we believe that the film will appeal to both people of faith and people of science."
Read more on OpposingViews.com: Charles Darwin Film Too Controversial for U.S. Theaters?