Of course, inspiration can come from anywhere, but “Napoleon Dynamite” director Jared Hess surely takes the prize for the most unique story about the genesis of a movie, at least in recent memory. “I read about a few former Satanists who found Christianity and would go around giving seminars at churches about when they were possessed,” the director told KUTV earlier this year about “Don Verdean.” “It was all very funny; going around giving seminars about the hidden evils and symbols that you could find. I remember my mom wouldn’t let me watch He-Man because she said a group of scientists had discovered that there were satanic symbols in Skeletor’s lair. She didn’t want me to be exposed to that.”
From that memory, Hess has spun his new movie, which stars Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, Danny McBride, and Will Forte. The story is a religious satire about a biblical archeologist who gets in way over his head when he’s backed by an evangelical preacher. Here’s the official synopsis:
Don Verdean is a man of faith who has devoted his life to biblical archaeology, scouring the globe in search of artifacts that back up the teachings of Jesus Christ. Now, traveling from town to town, he and his devoted assistant, Carol, spread the gospel by peddling books and DVDs out of his shabby RV, while his Holy Land contacts, Boaz and Shem, do the digging from afar. When evangelical preacher Tony Lazarus offers to bankroll Don’s modest roadside operation, the escalating pressure to find increasingly significant relics leads Don and his team down a less-than-righteous path. With more than just the word of God on the line, Don finds himself in the midst of a spiteful feud between two opposing congregations, leaving him to question what is truly important in life.
“Don Verdean” opens on December 11th. Watch the new trailer below.