If I were running a production company I’d be thinking about ways of bringing in some of that Christian-right moolah like everyone else, but the more I think about Nativity, Catherine Hardwicke‘s drama about the life of the Virgin Mary with Whale Rider‘s Keisha Castle-Hughes in the title role, the more problematic it seems. I haven’t spoken to anyone and I haven’t read Mike Rich‘s script, but Hardwicke’s turf so far has been hardscrabble So-Cal angst and dysfunction (Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen) and suddenly she’s off to ancient Judea? I know, I know…Martin Scorsese and his New York urban outlook handled Christ’s life in a sublime and wondrous way with The Last Temptation of Christ (’88) so why can’t Hardwicke be given the same benefit of the doubt? Maybe that’s the way to process this, but Nativity isn’t a pure Hardwicke enterprise. It’s supposed to be a Mary story with “a strong female perspective” but Harwicke’s teammates are all guys with what seem to me like urban hot-shot, slick-ass attitudes. One of her Nativity producers is former UTA agent Marty Bowen, whose clients included screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who memorably satirized Bowen in that scene in Adaptation when Nic Cage’s agent, played by Ron Livingston, said during a meeting, “See that girl over there? I fucked her in the ass.” And take a look at Nativity‘s other producer Wyck Godfrey, who is Bowen’s new partner. (Does he look to you like the kind of guy who “gets” the hardcore-Catholic Virgin Mary trip? With that beard and that hustler-on-the-Croisette smile? I’m just asking.) And consider the resumes of Nativity‘s New Line overseers — Cale Boyter, Toby Emmerich, Michael Disco — who’ve worked on nothing but blatantly commercial New Line-y genre pieces. The only half-encouraging element is Rich, whose script of The Rookie had a nice emotional dignity. That aside, this just doesn’t seem like the right kind of crew to be pooling forces on a Biblical-era drama, leaving aside the obvious pandering element of making a Virgin Mary flick to begin with. And “a strong female perspective” means what exactly…a feminist perspective? Joseph was an insensitive pig, ancient Judea was an oppressive patriarchal society but Mary fulfilled her destiny anyway… something like that? The whole thing sounds abundant with the potential for being out-of-whack and flat-out dreadful. Not that I want to see this happen especially…it would be great if it works, and Castle-Hughes has something special.