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Jay-Z, Jeymes Samuel Debut Biblical Epic ‘The Book of Clarence’ with Black Jesus Narrative

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The Book of Clarence: Renowned figures Jay-Z and Jeymes Samuel have transitioned from the Old West, featured in their 2021 movie “The Harder They Fall,” to explore the New Testament in their latest collaboration, “The Book of Clarence.”

The rapper-turned-producer, Jay-Z, and the musician-turned-writer-director, Jeymes Samuel, premiered their two-hour-sixteen-minute film in Los Angeles on Friday (Jan. 05). On the red carpet, Jay-Z expressed his desire for the project, stating, “I just want to have fun. I want to put out a product that I believe in. I want to represent my culture.”

The Book of Clarence

“The Book of Clarence” revolves around Clarence, captivated by the rising Messiah’s power, who seeks ways to profit from the Messiah’s newfound stardom. The movie, set in 29 AD, was shot in Italy and Jerusalem, providing a unique take on biblical times.

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Director and writer Jeymes Samuel revealed the project’s extended timeline: “I wrote it, I formulated it in the early 2000s, worked on a couple of songs in 2005. But I wrote it in 2017, and then ‘The Harder They Fall’ came out, and I just knew I had to go to the Old West and then the New Testament.”

Jay-Z, Jeymes Samuel Debut Biblical Epic 'The Book of Clarence' with Black Jesus Narrative

The star-studded cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, LaKeith Stanfield, Omar Sy, and Anna Diop, among others. Dakar-born US actress Anna Diop expressed her delight at being part of a project set in such a historic era: “It was amazing because we shot that in Italy in Matera, and the city’s already prepared for that. It’s a set in itself, you know, and with all the work they did on it was like, just [we] went back to time. It was so cool to be around that for weeks.”

“The Book of Clarence” promises a unique blend of adventure, comedy, and drama and is set to premiere in the US on January 12. The movie’s original soundtrack features new music from Nigerian artists Yemi Alade and Adekunle Gold, adding a diverse and captivating element to this cinematic venture.

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