The Nativity Story

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Overview

Based on the major motion picture, The Nativity Story is the very human, very dramatic, and uniquely inspiring saga of a journey of faith. Best-selling author Angie Hunt, who most recently wrote Magdalene, a historical fiction novel of the story of Mary Magdalene that was tied to The Da Vinci Code movie, now focuses on Mary, the mother of Jesus. She has adapted the screenplay for The Nativity Story into a powerful, historical novel. Her moving novelization of this film tells the extraordinary tale of two common ...
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Overview

Based on the major motion picture, The Nativity Story is the very human, very dramatic, and uniquely inspiring saga of a journey of faith. Best-selling author Angie Hunt, who most recently wrote Magdalene, a historical fiction novel of the story of Mary Magdalene that was tied to The Da Vinci Code movie, now focuses on Mary, the mother of Jesus. She has adapted the screenplay for The Nativity Story into a powerful, historical novel. Her moving novelization of this film tells the extraordinary tale of two common people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, an arduous journey, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. Brought to life with an unprecedented attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy, Hunt tells how from humble beginnings, great things can come.

After Cleopatra and Antony are defeated at Actium, a ruthless king rises in Judea, determined to do anything to safeguard his power.

A few years later, in the quiet of an eastern palace, a group of magi study the heavens and realize that several ancient prophecies are about to be fulfilled.

In the Holy Place of the Jerusalem Temple, an aged priest is shocked into silence by an unearthly visitor.

And in the simple town of Nazareth, an angelic messenger appears before a teenage girl . . . who finds the courage to believe.

In The Nativity Story, developed from the screenplay by Mike Rich, Angela Hunt fleshes out the characters and histories of the people who lived through the miracles and mysteries surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. This well-researched story is based on the scriptural account. Journey back through time as you relive what they experienced and celebrate the wonder of Immanuel, God with us.

Includes exclusive photographs from the production of the film.

* Mp3 CD Format *. Based on the major motion picture, "The Nativity Story" is the very human, very dramatic, and uniquely inspiring saga of a journey of faith. Best-selling author Angie Hunt, who most recently wrote "Magdalene," a historical fiction novel of the story of Mary Magdalene that was tied to "The Da Vinci Code" movie, now focuses on Mary, the mother of Jesus. She has adapted the screenplay for "The Nativity Story" into a powerful, historical novel. Her moving novelization of this film tells the extraordinary tale of two common people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, an arduous journey, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. Brought to life with an unprecedented attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy, Hunt tells how from humble beginnings, great things can come.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It's a difficult task to retell the biblical nativity story in a fresh way-after all, it has been novelized, brought to stage and screen, and is the stuff of endless children's Christmas pageants. Yet this companion novel to the New Line Cinema feature film (which will hit theaters December 1) should find a place on the bookshelf as a fresh and viable retelling. Hunt, the author of more than 70 books and working from Mike Rich's screenplay, refrains from oversanitizing the story, although Mary and Joseph are fairly one-dimensional (there aren't a lot of character flaws here). She depicts their gritty, hardscrabble existence as balanced by the love of family. As a thoughtful reader would expect, the census trip to Bethlehem is no picnic, but some readers may be surprised that the shepherds and wise men show up at the stable together, unlike in the gospel account. The good-natured joshing among the three wise men provides a lighter note to the chapters where Herod's cruelty is well portrayed. Hunt balances the necessary violence with a sensitivity that will expand her readership. Her rich prose and cultural details utilize the five senses to recreate the familiar story, which spans many points of view and includes a fine subplot about Elizabeth, Zechariah and John. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Raudman's rendition of this familiar story is fresh and dynamic." —-AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400133390
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Angela Hunt is an author and researcher.

Renée Raudman is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator and actor. A multiple Audie Award nominee, she has earned a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards, and her narration of Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper was selected by Library Journal as one of the best audiobooks of 2009.

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Interviews & Essays

A Message from Screenwriter Mike RichWhy this story? Why tell this particular story, which is held with such reverence by millions of people, instead of looking for something closer in tone to my previous screenplays: Finding Forrester, The Rookie, or Radio? The answer might come as a surprise. You see, I've always found myself drawn to stories that share a common theme; the theme of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It was the driving theme in all of my previous writings and it's once again front and center in The Nativity Story. Granted, this story takes the whole "ordinary people/extraordinary thing" to a slightly higher level, but it's there nonetheless.The first time I was struck with the notion of writing The Nativity Story was in December 2004. December 13th, to be exact. That was the date Newsweek and Time arrived in the mailbox, and both magazines carried cover stories exploring the mysteries and so-called "secrets" of the Nativity. As anyone who has placed the tiny clay figures of Mary, Joseph, and the Infant Jesus on their fireplace mantel knows, the story is almost always told from a standpoint of "event" rather than character. This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened. Rarely is it told from the viewpoint of what the characters (of Mary, Joseph, King Herod, the Magi and shepherds) were no doubt feeling leading up to this momentous event. The figurines on the fireplace represent the end of the road (as it pertains to this specific chapter of biblical history), but we almost never take a close look at the road itself? After 11 months of extensive research -- talking with Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish theologians and historians -- I started writing the screenplay for The Nativity Story in late 2005. The figurines took a break from the fireplace for a year and assumed temporary residence near my Apple Powerbook. Screenplays -- at least the first drafts -- typically take 12 weeks or more to write, but The Nativity Story came together in only five weeks. Once finished, I sent the initial draft to Marty Bowen, one of the producers on the film (along with Wyck Godfrey, both of whom I've been friends with for several years), and we quickly agreed to see how much interest the project might attract among the Hollywood studios. Not only were we surprised to learn that there was interest, but we were stunned to learn that it was exceptionally strong interest. New Line Cinema -- the studio that became the stuff of legend with its Lord of the Rings trilogy -- not only wanted to develop the screenplay, but it wanted to do so in time for a December 2006 release. Bear in mind that the average time from completion of script to eventual release in theaters is roughly two years. With The Nativity Story, we were now looking at half that amount of time. It was January and we needed to have a finished product on 8,000 screens within ten months. May 2nd (the date we would need to begin filming) was looming on the calendar. The first order of business would be to find a director. Not only would this be the initial order of business, it would be among the most critical. And while I've always felt that I have a knack for writing strong characters regardless of their gender, I (as well as the producers) felt it was imperative to have a woman direct the film. Regardless of one's faith, we tend to view Mary in iconic terms, rarely exploring the reality that before we had Mary the icon, there was Mary the woman and -- even before that -- Mary the young woman. A woman's perspective on the story would be vital. Enter Catherine Hardwicke. Catherine is widely viewed (and it's a distinction she's earned) as a talented director who brings out the best in her actors, especially young actresses. When writing the screenplay, it was my intent to make sure we didn't present Mary as a woman in her late 20s, as she so often is portrayed, but rather for what historians agree she actually was: a young woman who was probably no older than 15. While I was finishing -- in short order -- the second and third and fourth drafts (etc., etc.) of the screenplay, it was Catherine who came up with the astute suggestion of considering Keisha Castle-Hughes for the role of Mary. Keisha, so impressive in The Whale Rider, holds the distinction of being the youngest woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. Now, just three years after that performance, she was brought onboard to bear the mantle of Mary. There was strong consensus among the filmmakers to make certain the makeup of the cast had a definite international feel to it. The last thing we wanted was a team from just one country telling a story that reaches to every corner of the world. But with the calendar about ready to flip to March, we needed to quickly come up with a plan that would give us the cast the story demanded. Within weeks, not months. So instead of working with casting companies in only one city, The Nativity Story auditioned hundreds of actors in multiple locations. Los Angeles. New York. London. Rome. Israel. Paris. Each morning, during my infrequent writing breaks, I'd sit in front of the computer (the figurines of Mary and Joseph nearby) and watch the auditions online. It was during one of those audition sessions that we came across a true moment of providence: the discovery of Oscar Isaac. Months of research had, unfortunately, told me little about the character of Joseph. Talk to a dozen theologians about Joseph, and you'll likely get a dozen different stories. But while there is precious little source material about the man who would help raise Jesus, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke leave intriguing clues. Matthew describes Joseph as a "righteous" man; a man who, when confronted with the pregnancy of Mary (who was betrothed to him), refused to publicly accuse her of adultery; an accusation that could have resulted in her death. The biblical accounts also offer passages that are frequently quite literal in nature. Take, for example, the sentence that says Joseph took Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It's a simple sentence in tone, agreed, but a look at a map tells us that the journey between those two villages is more than 100 miles. Would a righteous man walk every step of that journey to help care for his pregnant wife? Without question. And so, what risked starting out as a rather one-dimensional character took on a new level of depth and courage. And those qualities were taken to even greater heights with the discovery of the aforementioned Oscar Isaac. A young actor working in New York, Oscar brought an enormous level of gravity and intensity to the project. As a writer, one can only hope to see the words you've put down on paper elevated through the talents of quality actors. Oscar quickly became the perfect Joseph, at the same time that Keisha was becoming the quintessential Mary. The Nativity Story would be filmed in two locations: the tiny ancient town of Matera, Italy (where much of Passion of the Christ was filmed), and the open deserts of Morocco. While the production design team had the task of building an exact replica of long-ago Nazareth (in only three weeks), Catherine and I were putting the script into the hands of as many biblical scholars as we could find, asking for help in making the story as accurate and genuine as possible.May 2nd arrived and, just like that, the words of my screenplay had become actual dialogue. The descriptions of Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem had become actual locations, complete with hundreds of actors, costumes and animals. It is a visual treat and a privilege -- seeing the transition of words to cinema -- that never fails to take my breath away.I'm often asked if I was nervous writing this story; this enormous story that so many describe as "the greatest story ever told." Sure I was. If you're not nervous telling this particular chapter of the Bible, you're probably the wrong writer. But never have I had a writing experience that compared to The Nativity Story. I lost my father early last year, and the emotion of his loss grew as we neared the Christmas season, because the holiday (along with the feeling of peace and family) meant so very much to him. Writing this screenplay kept me in a good place -- in the best place -- as the holiday approached.It's difficult to put into words what this year's Christmas season will mean for my family and me. But it's my sincerest hope The Nativity Story offers you the same opportunity to reflect on the things most important to you during this most joyous time of year.
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