Hoping to replicate some of the box office success of “The Passion of
the Christ,” indie producer Bill McKay is mounting “The Resurrection of
the Christ,” with a 10-week shoot starting in July.
his American Trademark shingle, has set an Easter 2011 release, with
Samuel Goldwyn Films handling domestic for the $20 million production.
Day-and-date international launches will come through an array of
Scribe Dan Gordan (“The Hurricane,” “Murder in the
First”) is penning the screenplay with a focus on the power, greed and
ambition of those involved in the crucifixion — Pontius Pilate, Herod,
Caiaphas and Judas.
“It’s as much about the key players as it is
about Jesus,” McKay said. “We want to bring in the ‘Gladiator’
dimension of the first century against the political milieu of the
Jonas McCord, who helmed Antonio Banderas starrer “The Body,” has been tapped to direct.
will take place in Israel, Morocco and Europe. McKay asserts that
“Resurrection” will remain faithful to Biblical and historical records.
producer and Filmcrest president J. David Williams, who also serves as
exec producer on the film, is heading the investor group for
“Resurrection,” consisting mostly of U.K. participants. He toldDaily Variety that he’s also assembled another $20 million for P&A.
think it’s a very commercial film that’s targeted at an underserved
demographic with a lot of crossover potential,” he added.
This could be cool, actually, telling a story about someone whose basic message was “stop being such DICKS, people” getting nailed to a tree for his trouble, with all the attendant political and religious power-struggle stuff involved.
However, the hope for a replay of The Passion of the Christ, in which anything interesting that could have been said about Jesus was drowned out by a pornographic celebration of violence and gore, is probably not a good sign. Granted, the marketing, which was basically “Go see this or you’re a pussy who can’t TAKE what Jesus did for you, you pussy” was genius. Making it into a dare, into a way to prove one’s Christian bona fides, making purchasing a movie ticket an act of courageous faith, was incredibly shrewd. And SICK. And predatory. And brilliant. Just like much of Consumer Christianity.
A bazillion years later that movie and its whole attendant “phenomenon” continues to piss me the hell off. First, because it exemplifies everything I hate about pop-culture Jesus. You had churches handing out door hangers for people to “spread the good news” to their neighbors about the movie. Merchandise that included crucifix nail necklaces. Pre-printed sermons for pastors to use to talk about the movie. And all the while crazy Mel Gibson getting crazified all over the TV talking about how persecuted he was for making this movie, like a bunch of people saying mean things about you is on par with what you just freaking filmed. Like if you took what that movie made and what it cost to get it made, you couldn’t basically rebuild Haiti right now, wholesale, down to a manmade island with a giant waterslide.
Second, it pissed me off because it was a horrific waste of a damn good story. There are about five minutes in The Passion worth seeing, after you’ve gotten over geeking out about Aramaic: Jesus with Mary, and mom teasing him for making a table that wasn’t even on top. Apparently he went into saving the world because his carpentry skills blew. It was funny, and warm, and made me consider what I’ve been taught since childhood in a whole new light. And then two hours of nonstop bloodshed, which if you’re reasonably desensitized to movie violence, just gets unbearably BORING.
So Jesus: The Sequel doesn’t HAVE to suck, but if they’re modeling it on the worst film of the last decade, and acting like that’s a good thing, I can hear the hoovering from here.