James Frey’s Bronx Jesus Will Ascend to Silver Screen

Christine Vachon’s Killer Films to Produce, Frey to Adapt


Christine Vachon’s Killer Films will produce a film adaptation of James Frey’s The Final Testament of the Holy Bible. In the book, which was released in April, Jesus Christ returns in the form of a bisexual recovering alcoholic named Ben who lives in the Bronx.

In an interview with The Observer, Mr. Frey said that he gave Ms. Vachon a copy of the book six months before it was released, but that they had their first meeting on the project two weeks ago. He will adapt the screenplay himself but declined to suggest who he hopes will direct or star in the movie. When asked to give us an idea of what movies he had in mind, however, he listed a round-up notable for what he calls their “heavy, heavy emotional impact” but which some might refer to as a certain gross-out quality: Lars Von Triers’s Breaking the Waves, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Larry Clark’s Kids (also produced by Ms. Vachon). He also mentioned Todd Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine (Haynes is a longtime Killer Films collaborator) and Derek Cienfrance’s Blue Valentine.

“I like a lot of emotionally impactful smaller films,” said Mr. Frey.

“But bigger in their intent and ambition,” Ms. Vachon hastened to add.

The Final Testament of the Holy Bible attracted as much attention for eschewing a traditional publisher in the United States as it did for its plot, which The Guardian called a “crock of mendacity” that “makes Jesus Christ Superstar sound like Handel’s Messiah.” The book was published through a collaboration with Gagosian Gallery and only 10,000 copies were printed, with covers designed by the artist Gregory Crewdson. Each cost $50, with the exception of 1,000 copies of a special edition bound in black leatherette and signed that went for $150. The book was also available as a $6.99 electronic book.

“It’s not about making 100 million dollars, it’s about making the best thing,” said Mr. Frey.

James Frey’s Bronx Jesus Will Ascend to Silver Screen