Why the Biblical Story of Samson Is Being Told Again on the Big Screen

LifeZette talked with actor Taylor James about the newest version of the tale, which hits theaters on Friday

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 14 Feb 2018 at 3:42 PM

Some stories will forever be told. They will simply not allow time to erode their relevance.

Many of those particular stories touch on the beginning of man — and the foundation of the human spirit.

Biblical stories, for instance, are interpreted and told in various forms time and time again, especially in film.

A variety of films have recounted the story of Jesus, from 1988’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” to 2004’s “The Passion of the Christ” — and beyond.

The tale of Moses was told in 1956’s “The Ten Commandments” and 1998’s “Prince of Egypt,” and less successfully so in 2014’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”

Now comes a new interpretation of the story of Samson, a legendary Israelite warrior whose tale was first told in the Book of Judges.

The story has drawn the attention of a camera lens before. Legendary director Cecil B. Demille (who directed “The Ten Commandments”) told the tale in 1949’s “Samson and Delilah.”

It was again told in a 1996 movie starring Dennis Hopper and Elizabeth Hurley.

Samson now gets the big-screen treatment once more in “Samson,” a Pure Flix film that hits theaters this Friday.

Samson’s story is one of love, betrayal, revenge and redemption. A man given powers from God, he eventually loses his way and is betrayed by someone he loves. He’s then given an opportunity for revenge against the people who robbed him of his powers.

English actor Taylor James has now jumped into the iconic role of Samson, an opportunity for which he told LifeZette he was "hugely grateful."

Through his time in Sunday school while growing up in Sevenoaks — in Kent, England — James was partly aware of the story of Samson. But he didn't realize the potential of the story until he began his own research and talked to others about what the story meant to them.

"It was when I was doing the research that I just fell in love with the opportunity of how we could tell the story on a cinematic platform. You don't want 'Samson' to be a radio play, let me tell you that. You want 'Samson' to be a film," said James.

The actor felt excited about the prospect of a new Samson film in part because today's technology presented unique opportunities for filmmakers to tell the adventurous story in a way never done before.

"My mind ran away with the absolute potential of how this film needs to be told in this modern age," said James.

He is blessed in "Samson" with a supporting cast many young actors can only dream about, for sure. Playing his parents are "Blade Runner" star Rutger Hauer and "Bionic Woman" legend Lindsay Wagner.

Artists have "refined the way we tell stories," he believes — and the market needs an epic and emotional movie like "Samson."

"You have to step up," James said of his supporting cast. "I didn't want to drop the ball, I'll say that."

But it wasn't just new technology or the cast that excited James about telling Samson's story. He feels artists have "refined the way we tell stories," and the market needs an epic and emotional movie like "Samson."

"This [film] goes into its own genre. There's nothing really out there at the moment like 'Samson.'"

"Samson" hits theaters on Friday; here's more information. You can also follow Taylor James on Instagram.

PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter

(photo credit, homepage and article images: BoomTown Films)

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