The question of Jesus' relationship to James is quite a contentious one among Bible scholars. Is James Jesus' biological brother, or merely one of his bros? And if he is Jesus' literal brother, is he the older brother of Jesus from Joseph's former marriage, or the younger son of Mary and Joseph? We are quite content that Anne Rice has chosen to portray James as J's older brother, as it allows us to cast the rather beautiful Brit, Sebastian de Souza.
The character Salome is described by Rice as Jesus' favorite cousin; an almost-"sister" to Jesus (indeed, Salome is sometimes interpreted as one of Jesus' younger siblings.) We chose the adorable Morgan Lily as our Salome, even though the five-year-old in us is a little bitter that she would have totally beaten us for the part of Mary had she been at our elementary school.
Khalid Abdalla won us over as the sensitive shop clerk in Vita Hewison's film, Predella. We nominate this Egyptian-Brit to play Joseph, Mary's ever-faithful husband.
According to Rice's novel, it is Mary's brother, Cleopas, who informs the seven-year-old Jesus of his divine inception. We like rising actor and rapper, Riz Ahmed, for Cleopas.
Playing Jesus is a rather alarming prospect for any actor, let alone a child actor. We sort of hope that Chris Columbus can find an unknown Palestinian boy to take on the part, but for the meantime we will cast American actor Diego Miro, of the upcoming Bless Me, Ultima, as our mini-J.
The Virgin Mary is undoubtedly the most sought-after part in elementary school adaptations of the nativity play. Who wants to play a lousy shepherd with one line about a silly star when you can play the starring role in a pretty blue dress (while the Nativity might be Jesus' story, he's always just a plastic doll)? The Angel Gabriel is cool too, but when your halo is made of tinsel, it gets pretty itchy pretty quickly. We chose to vicariously fulfill our thwarted childhood dream via beauty, Aiysha Hart.