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‘How Far Would You Go To Prove You’re Not a Nobody?’–‘The Book of Clarence’ Film Set in Bible Times

book of clarence
Screengrab via YouTube / Sony Pictures Entertainment

Filmmaker Jeymes Samuel (“The Harder They Fall”) is continuing his work on the big screen with “The Book of Clarence,” a comedy set in Bible times. Starring LaKeith Stanfield, “The Book of Clarence” tells the tale of a struggling young man who sets out to make a better life for himself and his family. He just goes about it in all the wrong ways.

“How far would you go to prove you’re not a nobody?” the trailer asks.

‘The Book of Clarence’ Will Be in Theaters Jan. 12

“The Book of Clarence is a bold new take on the timeless Hollywood era Biblical epic,” said Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Streetwise but struggling, Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield) is trying to find a better life for himself and his family, make himself worthy to the woman he loves, and prove that he’s not a nobody.”

Clarence sets out to learn the ways of Jesus Christ—only to scam crowds with fabricated miracles. He and his friends seek to profit from the acts. After being captured by the Roman government, Clarence faces a soul-deepening decision.

Samuel wrote and directed the film. “I want to tell the tales that we’ve never had before,” Samuel said to Deadline. “We’ve never had Black people in the Bible days of cinema. There’s not even a template for us to go, ’Well, like that movie?'”

“Even when Andrew Lloyd Webber made something as nuanced as Jesus Christ Superstar, there’s no Black people in it, except Judas,” Samuel added. “Judas was the Black guy.”

“I always wanted to explore the Bible stories, but from the angle of the person that sells Jesus his sandals, the woman or man that owns the hair salon,” Samuel explained to Vanity Fair. “Clarence is a person that doesn’t believe in anything outside of what’s in front of him, what he can see and hear.”

“Captivated by the power and glory of the rising Messiah and His apostles, he risks everything to carve his own path to a divine life, a journey through which he finds redemption and faith, power and knowledge,” Sony said.

Clarence Devises a Plan

“I’m Clarence. Where I’m from, you fight to survive,” the trailer begins. “I’m not a bad person, just playing the cards I was dealt.”

Throughout the movie, Clarence interacts with his own family, especially his mother. “Mom, one day I’m going to get you out of here,” he tells her. “I have a plan.”

As Clarence carries out his devious plan, he takes his friends to a nearby town to watch the work of the Messiah. “What are we doing here?” one of his friends asks. Clarence answers, “Jesus lives here.”

Clarence and his friends observe Jesus with a crowd, and a friend utters, “I want to be like that in 10 years.” Clarence says, “I want to be like that now.”

“I need to figure out what inspires him. I can just replicate what he does,” Clarence continues. “Imagine the money people will give us.”