Contributed to The Yorker's Christmas Advent Calendar by the Arts Section.
Christmas is coming, and the arts team have put their creative minds together to come up with a somewhat alternative cast for a Nativity production...
The Virgin Mary - Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver may seem a little old for the part of the teenage Virgin Mary, but as the ultimate mother figure she's the perfect choice. The star of the Aliens franchise is renowned for her tough femininity, and with the many ordeals Jesus is set to go through he's gonna need a strong motherly presence. – Stephen Puddicombe
Joseph – Chris Hemsworth
Having observed the high percentage of film-goers that went to see Thor purely for the extended periods where the lead is topless, Chris Hemsworth is cast as Joseph for The Nativity. In order to fully represent the character as a wholesome hand hard-working carpenter, a 20-minute montage where Joseph builds a manger from start to finish after a freak accident where all his shirts have spontaneously combusted. Film critics have accused the director of being pandering, but no official statement from the production company has been issued. - Nathan Blades
Baby Jesus – Justin Bieber
As for the man himself, who better that the baby-faced Biebs? Upon birth he’d launch into a chorus of ‘baby, baby, baby oooooh’... – Lucie Vincer
Gabriel – Samuel L. Jackson
In a ham-fisted way to show power and reverence, the role of Gabriel is cast as Samuel L. Jackson. On first announcement of him gaining the role, there was a small stir among Christian groups in response to a teaser trailer ending with a 6-winged Samuel descending from the sky, looking straight at the camera and saying "The angel has arrived, motherf**kers". – Nathan Blades
Matthew McConaughey can bring his impressive “looking pretty” and “leaning on things” skills to the table, while Alan Rickman will lend gravitas, heft and some serious comic timing to the project. And as for Katie McGrath, well, we thought we'd do her a solid and allow her to show some range after two series of playing Evil Morgana in Merlin. And, since she looks pretty angelic, that's all the bases covered here. – Lois Cameron
See Alan Rickman in Angel mode in this scene from Dogma (warning: strong language).
Martin Freeman’s superb dressing gown-wearing skills are already tried and tested (anyone disputing the fact that shepherds wear dressing gowns, four words: primary school Christmas play), and Milton Jones would bring that much needed air of utter bewilderment. At everything. – Lucie Vincer
Three Wise Men
When they finally arrive, the Three Wise Men make for an odd looking bunch. There’s Professor Brian Cox, who’s insisted on setting up his telescope to observe the “vahst” beauty of the star, rather than actually follow it, while The Doctor is behind, ready to bestow the gift of a bow-tie upon the newborn baby. Morgan Freeman, wisest of all, brings up the rear and, yes, he’s carrying a bunch of pet insurance flyers, just in case the innkeeper’s interested. – Catherine Munn
King Herrod – Mark Strong
Sherlock Holmes. Robin Hood. The Young Victoria. Stardust, even. What do all these films have in common? That's right, the wonderful Mark Strong playing a baddy. He may do it often, but he does it so well that I really don't care. For the evil King Herrod, he really is the only possible choice. - Lois Cameron
Good Innkeeper - Lauren Graham/ Bad Innkeeper - John Cleese
Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem wide eyed and full of pluck, only to be told there were no rooms at the plush Flowery Twats hotel by bizarre innkeeper John Cleese, who intimated that young couples weren't allowed due to his own sexual inadequacy and neurosis. Thankfully, they found comfort next door at the hands of the always lovely hotel manager Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls’ Lorelai) and her surly French concierge. A Christmas miracle! – James Hodgson
The Donkey - Eddie Murphy
And how did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem, I hear you ask? Why, on their trusted and fast-talking sidekick, who would have had a film spin-off of his own instead of that weird cat thing, Donkey. Frequently makes observational quips about how fat Mary's gotten, and is highly skeptical about her claims to still be a virgin. Someone's gotta keep it real. – James Hodgson
Check the site tomorrow for another surprise Advent Calendar article!