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The Book of Clarence: Everything You Need to Know About the Biblical Everyman Tale

9/7/2023 • 4 min read

(Updated 12/18/2023)The Book of Clarence | Cinemark

Most people would like to think that, if they encountered the Messiah, they would be instantly converted, perhaps even a protector to shield them from persecution. But maybe there were a few people who saw a figure like Jesus Christ as an opportunity to get some power for themselves.

THE BOOK OF CLARENCE is a satire that explores the lure of power; it just happens that the powerful figure here is Jesus Christ. Lowly Clarence is inspired by the Messiah, but not in the way you'd expect. Clarence sees an easy path to success rather than salvation — even if walking that path means pretending to be a miracle worker. Check out the first look at THE BOOK OF CLARENCE and learn about who's in the movie, and who made it.

When Does The Book of Clarence Come Out?

Sony will release THE BOOK OF CLARENCE in movie theatres on January 12, 2024.

Watch the New Trailer for The Book of Clarence

The Biblical epic is a cornerstone of cinema, and there are echoes of more than a few classic movies in this trailer. BEN HUR is an obvious touchstone, for example, as are THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. But this footage also clearly shows that THE BOOK OF CLARENCE is taking a different approach when it comes to exploring the early days of Christianity.

What's The Book of Clarence Trailer Song?

We probably don't have to ID this one, but the song in the first BOOK OF CLARENCE trailer is "I Would Die 4 U" by Prince and the Revolution. It's one of Prince's catchiest songs, and first appeared on the album "Purple Rain."

The new, longer trailer embedded above features "Hallelujah" by Jeymes Samuel, the film's director, featuring Lil Wayne, Buju Banton, and Shabba Ranks. The song was written for the film.

The Cast of The Book of Clarence

The cast of THE BOOK OF CLARENCE features three actors from the director's previous film, THE HARDER THEY FALL. LaKeith Stanfield, notably, plays Clarence, the title character who creates some big problems for himself. RJ Cycler and Chase Dillon also appear from THE HARDER THEY FALL. (In fact, that movie features Cycler's character mentioning the fictional "Book of Clarence,"

Additionally, Jacobi Howard, Omar Sy, Anna Diop, Teyana Taylor, James McAvoy, and David Oyelowo all play roles, many of which are teased in the first trailer above. Finally, Benedict Cumberbatch, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Alfre Woodard have parts, too.

The Filmmakers Behind The Book of Clarence

Musician and filmmaker Jaymes Samuel is the architect of THE BOOK OF CLARENCE. He wrote the film, produced it (with Jay-Z, who will also provide some new music) and directed. It's the follow-up to Samuel's revisionist Western, THE HARDER THEY FALL, which hit Netflix in 2021.

"I wanted to tell a Bible story about an everyman," Samuel told Vanity Fair. "I always wanted to explore the Bible stories, but from the angle of the person that sells Jesus his sandals, the woman or man that owns the hair salon."

And when he says "always," he seems to mean it. Jay-Z, who also produced THE HARDER THEY FALL, told Ebony that "these things have been in the works—well, it must have been with Jeymes maybe his whole life. But for me, close to 10 years. We’ve been talking about the Western and The Book of Clarence as well as the next films since the beginning."

The Life of Brian Influence on The Book of Clarence

We've talked about the influence of big Hollywood Biblical epics on THE BOOK OF CLARENCE, but there's a scrappy indie that plays into its lineage as well. That would be the Monty Python movie, THE LIFE OF BRIAN, which is also a satirical look at faith, power, and the cult of personality that centers on a not-exactly-holy man who becomes an unlikely celebrity.

Ultimately, the aspect of satire and taking an "everyman" story angle on the familiar era are probably the most prominent common aspects of the two movies. But there is one other connective factor: Both movies are produced by prominent musicians, as former Beatle George Harrison financed THE LIFE OF BRYAN.


THE BOOK OF CLARENCE opens on January 12.


All images courtesy of Sony Pictures.

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