King Solomon’s life was rough, tough and not exactly filled with song
The biblical King Solomon had a difficult childhood, a tough reign and many serious flaws. So, how do you make a country music movie about him?
"The biblical Solomon isn’t exactly known for his singing and songwriting," observes Peter T. Chattaway for Patheos, "not like his father David, at any rate — but the Bible does say that “his songs numbered a thousand and five”. Two of the Psalms are attributed to him, and so, of course, is the Song of Songs. So it seems that this film is taking that as a jumping-off point."
THE SONG, scheduled for release September 26, reimagines King Solomon as a country-music star dealing with fame and temptation in present-day America.
"The film will also make use of Ecclesiastes, a book of subversive wisdom that is also commonly attributed to Solomon," writes Chattaway. The plot "will concern a guy named Jed who is trying to get out from under the shadow of his father, a country-music legend, when he accepts a gig at a vineyard harvest festival and falls in love with the vineyard owner’s daughter Rose. Jed writes a song for Rose — called, simply enough, ‘The Song’ — and when it becomes a hit, he has to deal with stardom, temptation, and all the usual things that add stress to a relationship.
"And so the song inspired by his marriage becomes the thing that could break it up. Oh, the irony."
"It’s pretty easy to tell where some of the characters’ names are coming from," says Chattaway, who hasn't seen the film yet. "Jed’s legendary father is named David King (get it? get it?) and his mother is named Bethany, which sounds sort of safely biblical without reminding us of how the biblical Solomon’s parents met. His wife Rose presumably takes her name from the 'rose of Sharon' mentioned in the Song of Songs, and the woman who tempts Jed away from his marriage is named Shelby, which sounds a bit like Sheba (as in Queen of…)."
So, how are the folks at City on a Hill Studio and Samuel Goldwyn Films going to turn this into a movie? Chattaway at Patheos is skeptical -- particularly since he's only seen the trailer on YouTube. "I’m not so sure that the story of Solomon can translate to this milieu," he writes. "The key thing to remember about the kings of Israel is that they were kings — which is to say, they had power over their fellow countrymen, and they fought hard to keep it."
But, puzzles Chattaway, can a movie about "a guy struggling to make a hit record" compare to Solomon's travails?
Frankly, the Patheos writer is not so sure -- remember, he's only read press releases and watched that YouTube preview. "The story of the biblical Solomon ends pretty badly: he is led astray by his many wives and worships their gods, and his abuse of power prompts a rebellion while he is still alive. Finally, when he dies, his son inherits only a fraction of his kingdom, because the rest of the nation makes the leader of the rebellion their king instead.
"Is THE SONG going to end on a similar sort of downbeat note? Will it end with Jed King squandering his success and dying a lonely death? Or, because it is a 'faith-based' film, will it be more 'inspiring' than that and give Jed a happy ending?"
Obviously, the answer is to go see the movie. It hits theaters nationwide on September 26.
Here's that YouTube sneak peek that so intrigued Chattaway: