As Erik reported a few weeks ago, New Line recently bought the rights to a spec script titled Nativity, which explores the life of Mary prior to Jesus' birth. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the screenplay "follows Mary and Joseph's life...as their love, faith and beliefs are tested." Over the course of their travels form Nazareth to Bethlehem, the couple interact with a slew of biblical figures, including John the Baptist and King Herod.

Having bought the script, New Line immediately turned to finding a director for the project, and they've settled on a rather surprising choice: Catherine Hardwicke. Hardwicke, whose two films to this point have been the raw, controversial Thirteen (which she also wrote), and Lords of Dogtown, a movie about the skateboarding and surfing culture in 1970s Venice, California, is not exactly someone who leaps to mind when you think of the best person to make a movie about the mother of Jesus Christ. According to New Line, though, they want Hardwicke to direct the film because they think she has the ability to give it a "strong female perspective." Good for them - this movie is actually starting to sound really interesting. It's a traditional story, obviously, but it's going to be helmed by a very untraditional director, and the studio seems to be quite willing to defy expectations about how Biblical stories are supposed to be told.