September 27, 2023



Trailer for ‘The Book of Clarence’ teases LaKeith Stanfield in a biblical-era role.

Trailer for ‘The Book of Clarence’ teases LaKeith Stanfield in a biblical-era role.

Directed by Jeymes Samuel, the film will also include music by Jay-Z and is set to hit theaters on January 12, 2024.

In the initial trailer for TriStar and Legendary Pictures’ “The Book of Clarence,” LaKeith Stanfield transitions from an ordinary figure in biblical times to a burgeoning messiah. Directed and written by Jeymes Samuel, known for “The Harder They Fall,” and featuring fresh music by Samuel and Jay-Z, the movie chronicles Clarence, played by Stanfield, a street-smart hustler striving to provide for his family while trying to break free from debt.

He discovers the influence and significance of the messiah and his disciples, ultimately aspiring to join their ranks. Stanfield’s character reflects, “I’m not flawless; I’ve simply played the hand I was dealt.”

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Jeymes Samuel, the director, discussed Clarence’s character, stating that Clarence initially lacked belief in anything beyond what he could see and hear. Despite his inner confidence, he has no external faith. Samuel finds Clarence’s perspective intriguing, particularly at a time when discussions about the Messiah are prevalent.

The first two-minute glimpse of the film, set to Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U,” portrays Clarence witnessing the messiah and subsequently devising his own plan, aided by friends, in pursuit of divine adoration. While the trailer includes biblical references, it also pays attention to historical accuracy, such as the currency and hairstyles of the era.

Producer Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z) emphasizes that “The Book of Clarence” is not a “faith-based” film and does not mock biblical stories or their believers. Instead, it explores the narratives of that time and world, with faith serving as a backdrop to the larger story.

Jay-Z expresses concern that some might rush to judge the film without allowing its narrative arc to unfold. He underscores that the story revolves around a young man discovering faith through love and a desire to make a mark in the world, which is a universal human aspiration. Everyone seeks love and aims to leave a positive impact on the world during their time here.

The movie boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Omar Sy, Anna Diop, RJ Cyler, David Oyelowo, Micheal Ward, Alfre Woodard, Teyana Taylor, Caleb McLaughlin, Eric Kofi-Abrefa, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, James McAvoy, and Benedict Cumberbatch. James Lassiter and Tendo Nagenda are among the producers, working alongside Samuel and Carter, with Garrett Grant serving as an executive producer.

“The Book of Clarence” is scheduled for theatrical release on January 12, 2024.

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Ralph Calaway