Book of Tobit Movie

Book of TOBIT Movie

Written by Alan Nafzger

Movie Adapted from the Book of Tobit

Book of Tobit Movie – Catholic and Orthodox Christian Bibles

Dramatically, there isn’t much more potential. ==> Eight weddings, seven demonic murders, a good man who has lost his vision, two families whose futures are on the brink. ALL OF THIS, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.

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Copyright, 2018

THE BOOK OF TOBIT

Adaptation by Alan Nafzger

HISTORICAL TOBIT

Many Bibles contain the Book of Tobit, which tells the story of Tobit and his family, who are living as exiles from Israel after the Assyrian conquest. It was set in 8th century BC, but was probably first written down about 200 B.C.  An Aramaic version was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but prior to that it was known from Greek and Latin manuscripts. It is included in the Bible via the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament.

FILM ADAPTATION OF TOBIT

Book of Tobit Movie
Book of Tobit

I have set my adaptation in 1930s Amsterdam. Tobit is a pious Jew and the film culminates with the NAZI invasion. The audience will of course know Tobit will die at the end; they’ve read the bible. However, the question will be will he die before the Nazi invasion or will he be carted off to Auschwitz.

It is a Jewish story. If the producers don’t want to title the film Tobit, then Eight Jewish Weddings and a Funeral might work as well.  Tobit however will gain the largest possible box office.

Through a series of events, Tobit goes blind and sends his son on a journey accompanied by the angel Raphael disguised as a human.

However, primarily Tobit’s story is that of Sarah, daughter of Tobit’s closest relative. Sarah’s seven successive husbands are each killed by a demon on their wedding night. The marriages are not consummated. When Tobit and Sarah pray to God for deliverance, God sends the angel Raphael to act as intercessor. God sends Raphael to heal Tobit’s blindness and also to deal with Sarah’s demon.

Dramatically, there isn’t much more potential. Eight weddings, seven demonic murders, a good man who has lost his vision, two families whose futures are on the brink, an epic fight between an angel and a demon. AND ALL OF THIS, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.

CHARACTERS IN TOBIT

Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit

Sarah – the bride

Tobias – the groom

Tobit – the father of the groom

Anna – the mother of the groom

Raguel – the father of the bride

Edan – the mother of the bride

Gabael – the banker

Raphael – Angel

Asmodius – Demon

Ahikar – Government official.

MEL GIBSON AS TOBIT

I recently did a survey of 102 Los Angeles casting directors and found 22 who were Catholic and familiar with the story and asking them to list their top five choices for the role. And a whopping 18 of them listed Mel Gibson as their first choice. Two listed Mel Gibson as their second choice. Janet Dailey at Daily Casting Research in Beverly Hills told me, “Mel Gibson is Catholic and certainly a good actor, but he’s an exceptional director and an extraordinary producer. When you hire Mel Gibson, this movie is a lock.”

BOOK OF TOBIT AND DEMOGRAPHICS

Worldwide there are about 900 million Catholics (including Mel Gibson) and 280 million Orthodox Christians who’ve grown up with the Old Testament story and are familiar with it.  They will buy tickets or stream Tobit. Even Protestants, I believe, will attend the film if it is properly marketed as a faith-based film.

PIETY AND MORALITY – TOBIT

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The Book of Tobit, named after its principal character, combines Jewish piety and morality with folklore in a fascinating story that has enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles. Prayers, psalms, and words of wisdom, as well as the skillfully constructed story itself, provide valuable insights into the faith and the religious milieu of its unknown author. The book was probably written early in the second century B.C.; it is not known where.”

Alan Nafzger (alan.nafzger@gmail.com)

214 875-1305

Blacklist Evaluation #1

Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit

Overall
7
Premise
8
Plot
6
Character
8
Dialogue
6
Setting
7

Era:1930s
Locations: Amsterdam
Budget: Low
Genre: Drama, Faith-Based Drama, Family Drama, Period Drama, Family, Family Adventure
Logline: Struck by blindness and watched over by an angel, a devout Jewish gunsmith
resists the Nazis in 1930s Amsterdam.
Pages: 105

Strengths

Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit

“Tobit” is an immersive and powerful faith-based drama with a rich cast of characters. Taking one of
the lesser known Bible stories and transporting it to 1930s Europe is a unique and inspired idea, and
the script makes it work without ever seeming like a gimmick. The basics of the story may be ancient,
but the values of faith and family are universal and timeless. While sometimes the dialogue sounds a
bit awkward and affected in this modern context, the characters translate nicely, especially Tobit
himself. We see a righteous and loving man, merciful to those less fortunate and upright in his ways.
The scenes of Tobit with the dogs are gentle and touching. He stands out as a virtuous man, and we
want to see him get what’s coming to him. The scene where Raphael tells Tobit how God has been
watching over him is cathartic and moving. Tobiah and Sarah’s love story is also stirring. After
everything Sarah has suffered through, we’re happy to see her find something that lasts.

Weaknesses

Sometimes the script reads more like a book than a screenplay, in that there are certain elements
described in the action or scene descriptions that wouldn’t necessarily read on screen. At the horse
auction, of the Danish Girl who seduces the Trainer, we’re told, “Of course Raguel has hired the young
woman, probably a high-end Copenhagen prostitute.” The audience would see her distracting the
Trainer but they wouldn’t necessarily know all this, so perhaps there should be some scene between
her and Raquel to make it clearer. Asmodeus is an underdeveloped villain. Even though this is clearly
a very religious script right from the beginning, the introduction of a demon is jarring and could use
more context. He has little dialogue and seems more like a device than a character. Tobiah says that
the demon is infatuated with Sarah himself, but it’s not really evident.

Prospects

Tobit has the unconventional and ultimately inspired idea of adapting a lesser known Bible story to
1930s Amsterdam. It’s a fascinating high concept, and the execution is faithful and inspiring. This
should appeal both to religious audiences as well as newcomers.

 

Blacklist Evaluation #2

Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit

Overall
7
Premise
7
Plot
7
Character
7
Dialogue
6
Setting
8

Era – 1930s – WWII
Locations – Europe, Amsterdam, England
Budget – Medium
Genre – Drama, Adventure Drama ,Faith-Based Drama ,Family Drama ,Period Drama ,War
Drama ,Romance, Romantic Drama
Logline – An aging and very religious Jewish man, living in Amsterdam during the brink of
WWII, prays for his life to end, only to have an Angel help facilitate a marriage
between his son and a troubled woman in England.
Pages – 105

Strengths

This is a compelling story about an aging and deeply religious man. The twist with Raphael is a well
thought out turning point in this script. Seeing him get off the plane makes for one of the most
impactful moments in the story, and watching his plan come together int he second half of act two,
and act three, is entertaining to track. Tobit’s early story about acquiring the dog has some very strong
moments in it. We really get to see how big his heart is, as he saves the dog, buries the bodies, helps
the homeless man, etc. This comes back around in a powerful way when we hear that Raphael says
God has realized all of these things have happened. The premise around Sarah losing these husbands
is captivating. Each of the deaths are shown in clever and well written ways. This creates some major
suspense when we see Tobit’s son (Tobiah) propose and go on to marry her. One of the most
memorable scenes in the script happens when Tobit is showing the puppy to the mother police dog,
and getting her to trust him. Topit’s aging is tracked very vividly in this script. The project jumps
through the various time periods seamlessly, and reminds us of the stakes surrounding the Nazis in
very efficient ways (like the execution, for example).

Weaknesses

Although this has a solid plot and premise, there’s room to be done on the execution of the dialogue,
some of the character development, and quite a bit of the action writing. The action tends to be far too
overwritten. Although it could work well in a novel, it slips into a place where there’s far too much
commentary for a screenplay. Here are a few examples: The long winded action on page two,
specifically things like the line, “He knows she worries.”, the action on 23, including, “The young
man’s original question was how he lost his gun store.”, “on 34, “So, Tobit asked God to take his life in
Amsterdam. And the very same day, in England, the daughter of Raguel, SARAH, had been listening
to the reproaches of her parent’s MAID. She too will pray to die.” Consider adding a narrator, if this
type of thing needs to be pointed out. That being said, this was already clear in the context of these
scenes, so it’s definitely not necessary. The dialogue also feels too one noted and on the nose. A lot of
these characters’ voices are sounding quite similar, but it’s mostly because they speak with quite a bit
of tedious exposition. Examples for where the dialogue struggles: that argument with Anna and Tobit
at 32-33, Trainer/Raguel/Asmodeus/Groom Six on 49-50, Raphael/Tobit/Tobiah on 63-66.

Prospects

As far as the dialogue goes, just try to add more organic voices and personalities to the various roles in
this script. On 69, we have this exchange: “You’ve heard of her? You should marry her.” “Marry her?
Why would I bring trouble on myself in that way?” This is too on the nose, and beyond this, the voices
are both sounding the same. Raphael is a compelling character, but his rivalry with Asmodeus could
be given even more development. Watching them fight is exciting, but it feels too rushed. Even
Asmodeus has room to be bolstered up in the plot (and dialogue). Tobiah could be tracked more in
the first half of this story. He becomes such an important role in this script, but we don’t get much out
of him until he comes and tells Tobit about the homeless man. The praying is an important part of the
premise, but it’s an area that also feels somewhat long winded and overdone at times. For 105 pages,
this script is actually somewhat slow in pace (due to the dialogue and action writing needing to be
more efficient) All in all, this tells a very unique story surrounding WWII, and the faith based
elements are captivating. The finale is suspenseful and action packed. Despite the time period, this
could be made for a fairly low budget.

Book of Tobit Movie

Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit

Many Bibles contain the Book of Tobit, which tells the story of Tobit (Mel Gibson)  and his family, who are living as exiles from Israel after the Assyrian conquest. Through a series of events, Tobit goes blind and sends his son on a journey accompanied by the angel Raphael disguised as a human. Mel Gibson, a great actor, would do a wonderful job with this part. Jim Osborne from the APA in Hollywood could be listening.

Jim Osborne should be aware of Alan Nafzger’s film adaptation, Tobit is a pious Jew living in Amsterdam in the 1930s, and the film culminates with the NAZI invasion.

I did a survey of 102 Los Angeles casting directors who are familiar with the story and asking them to list their top five choices for the role. And a whopping 78 of them listed Mel Gibson as their first choice. Eighteen listed Mel Gibson as their second choice.

Janet Dailey at Daily Casting Research in Beverly Hills said, “Mel Gibson is catholic and certainly a good actor, but he’s a exceptional director and an extraordinary producer. When you hire Mel Gibson, its a lock.”

Primarily, Tobit’s story is that of Sarah, daughter of Tobit’s closest relative, whose seven successive husbands were each killed by a demon on their wedding night. The marriages are not consummated. When Tobit and Sarah pray to God for deliverance, God sends the angel Raphael to act as intercessor.

Jim Osborne wisely focuses on the economics and knows that worldwide there are about 900 million Catholics (including Mel Gibson) and 250 million Orthodox Christians who’ve grown up with the Old Testament story and are familiar with it.  This will buy tickets or streaming of Tobit, staring Mel Gibson.

Dramatically, there isn’t much more potential. ==> Eight weddings, seven demonic murders, a good man who has lost his vision, two families whose futures are on the brink. ALL OF THIS, on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.

Jim Osborne, director of the APA movie group, has profound influence over Mel Gibson’s career and the films he makes. Many believe there isn’t a role better suited for Mel Gibson’s talents. If you agree with this vision for Mel Gibson, please help by signing this petition.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The Book of Tobit, named after its principal character, combines Jewish piety and morality with folklore in a fascinating story that has enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles. Prayers, psalms, and words of wisdom, as well as the skillfully constructed story itself, provide valuable insights into the faith and the religious milieu of its unknown author. The book was probably written early in the second century B.C.; it is not known where.”

The Book of Tobit – Analysis

The Book of Tobit (/ˈtoʊbɪt/)[a], also known as the Book of Tobias or the Book of Tobi, is a 3rd or early 2nd century BC Jewish work describing how God tests the faithful, responds to prayers, and protects the covenant community (i.e., the Israelites). It tells the story of two Israelite families, that of the blind Tobit in Nineveh and of the abandoned Sarah in Ecbatana. Tobit’s son Tobias is sent to retrieve ten silver talents that Tobit once left in Rages, a town in Media; guided and aided by the angel Raphael he arrives in Ecbatana, where he meets Sarah. A demon named Asmodeus has fallen in love with her and kills anyone she intends to marry, but with the aid of Raphael the demon is exorcised and Tobias and Sarah marry,  after which they return to Nineveh where Tobit is cured of his blindness.

The book is included in the Catholic and Orthodox canons but not in the Jewish; the Protestant tradition places it in the Apocrypha, with Anabaptists, Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists recognising it as part of the Bible and useful for purposes of edification and liturgy, albeit non-canonical in status. The vast majority of scholars recognize it as a work of fiction with some historical references.

Structure and summary – Book of Tobit

Tobias Saying Good-Bye to his Father, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1860)
The book has 14 chapters, forming three major narrative sections framed by a prologue and epilogue:[8]

The prologue tells the reader that this is the story of Tobit of the tribe of Naphtali, deported from Tishbe in Galilee to Nineveh by the Assyrians. He has always kept the laws of Moses, and brought offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem before the catastrophe of the Assyrian conquest. The narrative highlights his marriage to Anna, and they have a son named Tobias.

Tobit, a pious man, buries dead Israelites, but one evening while he sleeps he is blinded by a bird which defecates in his eyes. He becomes dependent on his wife, but accuses her of stealing and prays for death. Meanwhile, his relative Sarah, living in far-off Ecbatana, also prays for death, for the demon Asmodeus has killed her suitors on their wedding nights and she is accused of having caused their deaths.

God hears their prayers and the archangel Raphael is sent to help them. Tobias is sent to recover money from a relative, and Raphael, in human disguise, offers to accompany him. On the way they catch a fish in the Tigris, and Raphael tells Tobias that the burnt heart and liver can drive out demons and the gall can cure blindness. They arrive in Ecbatana and meet Sarah, and as Raphael has predicted the demon is driven out.

Tobias and Sarah are married, Tobias grows wealthy, and they return to Nineveh (Assyria) where Tobit and Anna await them. Tobit’s blindness is cured, and Raphael departs after admonishing Tobit and Tobias to bless God and declare his deeds to the people (the Israelites), to pray and fast, and to give alms. Tobit praises God, who has punished his people with exile but will show them mercy and rebuild the Temple if they turn to him.

In the epilogue Tobit tells Tobias that Nineveh will be destroyed as an example of wickedness; likewise Israel will be rendered desolate and the Temple will be destroyed, but Israel and the Temple will be restored; therefore Tobias should leave Nineveh, and he and his children should live in righteousness.

Significance – Book of Tobit

The Book of Tobit is considered a work of fiction with only some historical references, combining prayers, ethical exhortation, humour and adventure with elements drawn from folklore, wisdom tale, travel story, romance and comedy. It offered the diaspora (the Jews in exile) guidance on how to retain Jewish identity, and its message was that God tests his people’s faith, hears their prayers, and redeems the covenant community (i.e., the Jews).

Readings from the book are used in the Latin Rite. Because of the book’s praise for the purity of marriage, it is often read during weddings in many rites. Doctrinally, the book is cited for its teaching on the intercession of angels, filial piety, tithing and almsgiving, and reverence for the dead. Tobit is also made reference to in chapter 5 of 1 Meqabyan, a book considered canonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Composition and manuscripts – Book of Tobit

Leaf from a vellum manuscript, c. 1240.
The story in the Book of Tobit is set in the 8th century BC, but the book itself dates from between 225 and 175 BC.[14] No scholarly consensus exists on the place of composition (“almost every region of the ancient world seems to be a candidate”); a Mesopotamian origin seems logical given that the story takes place in Assyria and Persia and it mentions the Persian demon “aeshma daeva”, rendered “Asmodeus”, but it contains significant errors in geographical detail (such as the distance from Ecbatana to Rhages and their topography), and arguments against and in favor of Judean or Egyptian composition also exist.

Tobit exists in two Greek versions, one (Sinaiticus) longer than the other (Vaticanus and Alexandrinus). Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of Tobit (four Aramaic, one Hebrew – it is not clear which was the original language) found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran tend to align more closely with the longer or Sinaiticus version, which has formed the basis of most English translations in recent times.

The Vulgate places Tobit, Judith and Esther after the historical books (after Nehemiah). Some manuscripts of the Greek version place them after the wisdom writings.

Canonical status

Those Jewish books found in the Septuagint but not in the standard Masoretic canon of the Jewish Bible are called the deuterocanon, meaning “second canon”. As Protestants follow the Masoretic canon, they therefore do not include Tobit in their standard canon, but do recognise it in the category of deuterocanonical books called the apocrypha.

The Book of Tobit is listed as a canonical book by the Council of Rome (A.D. 382),[19] the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393),[20] the Council of Carthage (397)[21] and (A.D. 419), the Council of Florence (1442)[23] and finally the Council of Trent (1546),[24] and is part of the canon of both the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Catholics refer to it as deuterocanonical.

Augustine (c. A.D. 397) and Pope Innocent I (A.D. 405) affirmed Tobit as part of the Old Testament Canon. Athanasius (A.D. 367) mentioned that certain other books, including the book of Tobit, while not being part of the Canon, “were appointed by the Fathers to be read”.

According to Rufinus of Aquileia (c. A.D. 400) the book of Tobit and other deuterocanonical books were not called Canonical but Ecclesiastical books.

Protestant traditions place the book of Tobit in an intertestamental section called Apocrypha. In Anabaptism, the book of Tobit is quoted liturgically during Amish weddings, with “the book of Tobit as the basis for the wedding sermon.” The Luther Bible holds Tobit as part of the “Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful to read”. Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England lists it as a book of the “Apocrypha”. The first Methodist liturgical book, The Sunday Service of the Methodists, employs verses from Tobit in the Eucharistic liturgy. Scripture readings from the Apocrypha are included in the lectionaries of the Lutheran Churches and the Anglican Churches, among other denominations using the Revised Common Lectionary, though alternate Old Testament readings are provided. Liturgically, the Catholic, Methodist and Anglican churches have a scripture reading from the Book of Tobit in services of Holy Matrimony.

Tobit contains some interesting evidence of the early evolution of the Jewish canon, referring to two rather than three divisions, the Law of Moses (i.e. the torah) and the prophets. For unknown reasons it is not included in the Hebrew Bible; proposed explanations have included its age (this is now considered unlikely), literary quality, a supposed Samaritan origin, or an infringement of ritual law, in that it depicts the marriage contract between Tobias and his bride as written by her father rather than her groom. It is, however, found in the Greek Jewish writings (the Septuagint), from which it was adopted into the Christian canon by the end of the 4th century.

Influence – Tobit’s place in the Christian Story

Tobit’s place in the Christian canon allowed it to influence theology, art and culture in Europe. It was often dealt with by the early Church fathers, and the motif of Tobias and the fish (the fish being a symbol of Christ) was extremely popular in both art and theology. Particularly noteworthy in this connection are the works of Rembrandt, who, despite belonging to the Dutch Reformed Church, was responsible for a series of paintings and drawings illustrating episodes from the book.

Scholarship on folkloristics (for instance, Stith Thompson, Dov Noy, Heda Jason and Gédeon Huet) recognizes the Book of Tobit as containing an early incarnation of the story of The Grateful Dead, albeit with an angel as the hero’s helper, instead of the spirit of a dead man.