Exclusive: Oscar Isaac, Evangeline Lilly, Elliott Gould and Billy Jane will voice the animated movie directed by Gidi Dar. Legends of Destruction.
The UshpizinIts filmmaker’s latest project has been nine years in the making, incorporating a unique visual style with 1,500 original still paintings by David Polonsky and Michael Faust. Waltz with Bashir (Oscar nominee, and Golden Globe winner, 2008) and Congress. Images are edited together to create an innovative cinematic language to create a complete experience of an epic action war film.
The film is set in 66 AD Judea under Roman rule; A virtual powder keg waiting to explode. It has social polarization, and widespread social injustice and corruption. When the Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire, the situation quickly escalated into a brutal civil war, and Roman war beasts descended to quell the rebellion. The film ends with the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD and the beginning of the 2000-year exile of the Jewish people – a pivotal moment for both Jews and Christians.
“This story is at the root of Jewish existence, one of the darkest moments of my people, yet few people know it. I feel compelled to tell it”, said Dar.
Legends of Destruction Told from the perspective of Ben Batich (Isaac), a good-hearted naive youth who becomes a hardened zealot, follower of the charismatic Robin Hood-like rebel leader Bar Zeora (Jane).
“It’s a story that takes a great historical sweep, but it’s very intimate, it’s about a personal relationship between the main character and God,” says Isaac.
Lily voices Queen Berenice, the cunning last Jewish queen, who tries to save the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at all costs.
“This film is sweeping, it’s sad, it’s really brutal and sad, but it’s true,” said the actress.
Elliot Gould, who voices Rabbi Ben Zakkai, one of the greatest sages in Jewish history, said he was “honored to portray this great teacher and moderate man who defended the Jewish faith”.
The film is produced by Aamir Harel of Lama Films (Tel Aviv is on fire), LOD Productions, Yaki Dunietz and Gidi Dar. Isaac, through his production company Mad Jean Media, and Lily is executive producing. WME and UTA are jointly representing the film’s sales.
“I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that it would be told using only still images”, recalls Oscar Isaac, “I started watching it and suddenly within minutes, I was completely transported and transformed into an epic story. …I thought I was watching gladiator”
“Legends of Destruction is Vincent fulfills The Passion of Christ. It is a harrowing historical tale vividly told through vivid and stunning still images. It’s riveting.” adds Lily.
“Movement in cinema is an illusion,” says Dar, with 24 still frames per second. inside Legends of DestructionWe have tried to push the limits of this illusion a few steps.”
Isaac worries that the film is “terribly relevant”.
Jane notes that “this movie is about a polarized society, where everyone has a corner and all the characters are dancing together in hell, unless they find some common ground.”
“We’re all afraid of how divided we are”, agrees Lily, “we’re all afraid of how little we seem to agree on, and yet we don’t see people reaching across the aisle and compromising”.
Legends of Destruction Nominated for 7 Israeli Academy Awards and won 4.