Tom Cruise will play the world’s oldest demon slayer in ‘Methuselah’.

Tom Cruise is no stranger to action-packed movies that keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and he always goes the extra mile and performs death-defying stunts that most actors will never even dare try. He hung off the side of a plane in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and scaled the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. This versatile actor has played a variety of roles – from the mysterious yet powerful Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible series, the virtuous yet dangerous Jack Reacher, the sought-after rock god Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages and the confident, fast-talking sports agent in Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise most definitely pulled off a lot of characters most have not expected him to play. 

One of his upcoming roles attracting controversy is the role of Methuselah, a biblical character in the Old Testament who defied the laws of aging, surpassed the mortal age of all the characters in the Bible, and lived to be 969 years old. Cruise plays the powerful yet fully mortal character, who, like a lot of protagonists he has played before, has the uncanny ability to defeat enemies and surmount obstacles with a nearly supernatural prowess. In the Bible, Methuselah is portrayed as a great leader and warrior. Although only briefly mentioned in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, he is given more attention in the book of Enoch. In this Jewish book, we find that Methuselah has a powerful weapon called the sword of Methuselah, an object that can kill evil spirits and demons. 

The Bible-inspired project, called Methuselah, is from David Heyman and Warner Brothers, with Joachim Rønning slated to direct the film. According to Deadline, Methuselah has been in the works for quite some time for both Cruise and the movie studio, and was finally given life with Rønning joining the team. Apparently, the movie will focus on Methuselah’s “legendary longevity” and “unparalleled survival skills.” ScreenCrush calls it the “Old Testament equivalent of Highlander.

What else do we know about this cryptic character? Some interesting tidbits: of those who died a mortal death, Methuselah was the oldest in the Bible. Noah of the ark was 950, and the first man on earth according to the Bible, Adam, was 930. The name Methuselah means death. Meth means “mortal” and the addition of “selah” has moved some to suggest the name harkens the coming of the Flood. In Greek, the name has a slightly different meaning: “when he dies, there shall be an emission.” This is derived from the New Testament Greek Lexicon. Many scholars confirm that Methuselah means “when he dies it shall come” or “upon his death there will be a major change.”

More about Methuselah’s origin – he was the son of Enoch, Noah’s great-grandfather. Enoch was the prophet who is traditionally believed to have written the Book of Enoch, which is not part from the biblical canon used by the Jews. Christian denominations also do not consider the book as part of the canon or inspired by God. However, the authors of the New Testament were influenced by the content of the book of Enoch, and it was used by the group that collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. Methuselah was mentioned in the book in the Epistle of Enoch, in the sub-section “Exhortation,” which is a brief list of exhortations “to follow the righteousness said by Enoch to his son Methuselah.”

Methuselah has already inspired much fascination considering its release date hasn’t even been announced yet. One thing is for sure; Tom Cruise always successfully pulls off playing heroes with extraordinary strengths and powers.

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