Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week. The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks and Cyril Richard may be viewed here, here, here, here here , here, here, here and here.
Stephen Moyer portrays Pilate in the upcoming National Geographic TV Killing Jesus, which is being shown on Palm Sunday at 7:00 PM Central Time. Based on the book Killing Jesus, by Bill O’Reilly, who improbably has reaped a fortune from Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Patton and now Killing Jesus, I will watch this and attempt to rid my mind against my settled conviction that O’Reilly is a buffoon and a blowhard of the first order. To be fair I have watched both of the television movies based on Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy and enjoyed both of them.
Stephen Moyer is the first screen portrayal of Pilate in the Screen Pilates series whose performance has not yet been released to the public. I am bringing it to the attention of the blog now, in order for blog readers to watch the film and give their opinions regarding the performance in the combox after the movie. Moyer has described himself as a lapsed atheist so that might add an interesting touch to his portrayal.
From the film clip it appears as if Moyer might be portraying Pilate as a harried politician, but no assessment of the performance will be made by me until after the film when I will update this post.
Well that was disappointing. Moyer played Pilate as a weak man. Throughout the film Caiaphas is putting pressure on him to have Jesus executed. After Jesus is scourged, Pilate says that scourging is enough, and that He may not survive the scourging anyway, since many do not. Caiaphas repeats the demand, Pilate nods weakly, and Jesus is crucified. No second trial before Pilate. No Ecce Homo, no Barabbas and no washing of hands. It was like watching Hamlet in a version where the “To Be or Not to Be” speech is cut. A waste of three hours.