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Peter Jackson Announces Epic Trilogy Adapting John 11:35

MASTERTON, NZ—After successfully directing the smash-hit, multi-film epic retellings of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Peter Jackson says he has settled on his next project: a 12-hour cinematic trilogy retelling the story of John 11:35: "Jesus wept."

According to Jackson, the first film will tell of the backstory of Jesus' life leading up to the climactic weeping, including his battle with the Orcs and the disciples' epic confrontation with the three dark wizards from the East. "Yeah, most of that isn't perfectly explicit in the text," the New Zealand filmmaker told Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive interview. "So we're taking a few small liberties, but the gist of the story is in there." Jackson remains tight-lipped about the contents of films two and three, but sources indicate that they will include plenty of skirmishes with the Uruk-Hai and a faithful adaptation of the Scriptural story of Christ's battle with a Balrog in Samaria.

Jackson also confirmed there would be pinecone grenades, to the delight of many.

Film buffs and critics alike were all abuzz around the internet Thursday as the news broke across entertainment sites over the course of the morning. "I just really hope he includes the scene where Jesus and the disciples go tumbling down a river battling goblins and forest spiders," one forum poster wrote. "Yeah, I just hope he doesn't restrain himself to just the material in the book as he did in The Hobbit," another poster replied.

Warner Bros. Pictures says the first movie, tentatively titled The Armies Of Heaven: The Weeping Of The Christ Part I is now in pre-production and is on target for a 2020 theatre premiere.

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