The Jesus Auditions

You can be the next messiah in a satirical web-series based on Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor." Just don a white sheet and burnt-corkboard beard (crown of thorns optional), then send a 60 second clip of your own personal Jesus to by November 11. The "Audition to be Christ" competition claims that "Messiahs have all the fun!" They're adored by millions and hob-nob with celebrities — "their cup runneth over."

This may sound like a crazy or cruel joke, but in an email to Reality Sandwich, director Tony Torn explained the depth and complexity of transporting this beloved tale to an eery post-modern world.

“THE GRAND INQUISITOR is a five part film updating Dostoevsky's mystical fable to a future, Fox network style reality. The second coming has arrived in the form of a radical African-American messiah, and the Network/Church/Government is seen in the teaser looking through auditions for a more acceptable replacement Jesus that they can rush into the marketplace to offset the disruptive influence of the 'false prophet'. In the original story, from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Christ returns at the height of the Inquisition, to great celebration, but when The Grand Inquisitor orders the people to throw Christ into jail, such is the authority of the Inquisitor that the people instantly turn on Jesus. The Inquisitor visits Jesus in the cell and in a nutshell, he tells him he recognizes him as the true Christ, but will nonetheless burn him as a heretic, to protect a Church which has vastly improved his original, flawed message. In response, Jesus kisses the Grand Inquisitor on the lips, and the GI lets him go. ‘The kiss burned in his heart’ writes Dostoevsky, ‘but he held onto his opinion’.

The film begins in and sustains an aggressively satirical mode, but dovetails with the original story until the final episode which follows the source very closely. As director, it's my attempt to claim a personal perspective on Christianity after being confronted by the powerfully presented, yet soul killing version presented by The Passion of The Christ. The danger of our approach is scaring folks away with the viciousness of the initial satire, before they are able to access the deeper allegory we are trying to present. But the piece is finished now after three years of development and fifteen months of editing (it has a very complex visual style), so it is what it is.”

You can view the trailer at the NEWSDATE2011 website or at See the video for the competition here.



Creative Commons Image by ImNotGaryColeman on Flickr.