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Jay-Z, Jeymes Samuel premiere biblical epic 'The Book of Clarence'

Jay Z, left, and Jeymes Samuel arrive at the premiere of "The Book of Clarence" on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.   -  
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Richard Shotwell/2024 Invision


Jay-Z and Jeymes Samuel have gone from the Old West with their 2021 movie "The harder they fall" to the New Testament with the "Book of Clarence".

The rapper-turned-producer and the musician-turned-writer-director premiered their latest collaboration on Friday (Jan. 05) in Los Angeles.

"I just want to have fun. I want to put out a product that I believe in. I want to represent my culture, obviously, you know, we put ourselves in the Old West rightfully. And now we're putting ourselves, you know, in the New Testament as we should be, you know, so that's it," Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter said on the red carpet when asked what he wans his legacy to be.

The 2-hour-16-minute film follows Clarence who is captivated by the power of the rising Messiah who seeks to become "sombedy" looks for ways to make profit off of the Messiah's new stardom.

The project been years in the making director and writer Jeymes Samuel, revealed.

"Do you know what? It was always time to tell the story. But no one was going to make it. I had to be in a position where I could get it made. But it was always time."

"I wrote it, I formulated it in like, early 2000s, formulating the idea. Worked on a couple of the songs in 2005. But I wrote it in 2017, and then ‘The Harder They Fall’ came out, and I just knew I had to go to the Old West, and then the New Testament, you know what I mean? So, I suppose it was just time in my life, but really, it's always been time.”

Biblical times

The movie set in 29 AD was shot in Italy and in Jerusalem.

Cast members include Benedict Cumberbatch, LaKeith Stanfield, Omar Sy, Anna Diop.

Dakar-born US actress Anna Diop was delighted to work on a project set in such a historic era.

"I never knew that I would, I hoped, but I didn't know that at some point in my career I'd be able to play a role during this time, because we don't see stories of people like us during this time. And this is entirely original in that way. We haven't seen this."

"... it was amazing because we shot that in Italy in Matera, and the city's already prepared for that. It's a set in itself, you know, and with all the work they did on it was like, just [we] went back to time. It was so cool to be around that for weeks. You know, that was really intense and it gave a special vibe to shoot that,” French actor Omar Sy said.

The movie which blends adventure, comedy and drama will premiere on January 12 in the US. 

Struggling to find a better life, Clarence is captivated by the power of the rising Messiah and soon risks everything to carve a path to a divine existence.

The book of Clarence' original soundtrack features new music from Nigerian artists Yemi Alade and Adekunle Gold.

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