'Creation' Producer Blames American Evolution Flap for Film's U.S. Flop
The producer of a new film that tells the "true story" of 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin believes a distributor in the United States has not yet been found because of the divide that exists in America over the theory of evolution.
"It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the U.S., and it's because of what the film is about," Jeremy Thomas told the London-based Telegraph ahead of the European premiere of "Creation."
"People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the U.S. has picked it up," he added. "It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America."
"Creation," which opened the Toronto Film Festival last week and made its European premiere this past Sunday, tells the story of Darwin and how the world-renowned scientist's landmark work, "The Origin of Species," came to light.
Though Darwin's theory of evolution plays a big role in the movie, actor Benedict Cumberbatch said the story presented in "Creation" is "a very universal story."
The movie, which stars Paul Bettany in the leading role, reveals Darwin as a dedicated family man struggling to accept his daughter's death and torn between his love for his deeply religious wife and his own "growing belief in a world where God has no place," according to the film's synopsis.
"You've got a film that is a very intimate biographical portrait of a man and that's a rich and beautiful and informing celebration of his life," said Cumberbatch, who stars in the movie as Joseph Dalton Hooker, one of the founders of geographical botany and Darwin's closest friend.
While Darwin is "the hero of the film," producer Thomas said he and his crew "tried to make the film in a very even-handed way."
"Darwin wasn't saying 'kill all religion', he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people," the Oscar winner told the Telegraph.
Still, with only 39 percent of Americans claiming to believe in the theory of evolution, finding a distributor in the United States proved to be a difficult task for the "Creation" team.
"It's quite difficult for we in the U.K. to imagine religion in America," Thomas stated. "We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the U.S., outside of New York and LA, religion rules."
Notably, however, while the Gallup organization had only found 39 percent of Americans saying they believe in the theory of evolution, only 25 percent said they do not believe in the theory. The remaining 36 percent of respondents in Gallup's February 2009 poll said they had no opinion either way.
Also worth noting is Gallup's finding that only 55 percent of Americans were able to correctly associate Darwin with the theory of evolution and/or natural selection. Ten percent, meanwhile, gave an incorrect response and 34 percent said they were unsure or didn't know.