HOLLYWOOD (Christian Examiner) – If Mel Gibson is able to deliver a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, more than one resurrection may be depicted – one of Jesus on film and, the second, the director's career.
Gibson's film about the crucifixion of Jesus in 2004 was a box office smash, earning $612 million worldwide, or 2,000 percent over and above the cost of the film ($30 million). It spawned a series of faith-based films, tapping into an audience that Hollywood knew was there, but neglected in favor of what studios believed was a larger audience who didn't want to see religious content.
Now, Randall Wallace, who penned Braveheart for Gibson – a good, but historically less-than-accurate film – is set to write the sequel about the ministry of Christ after the resurrection. There is no word yet on what the focus of the film will be (the early days of the church in Jerusalem, the mission to the Gentiles or Roman persecution of Christians).
Wallace, who also wrote Heaven is for Real, is a logical choice for the script. He studied religion at Duke University and is fascinated by the history of the church. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he always wanted to tell the story.
"The Passion is the beginning and there's a lot more story to tell," Wallace said. "The evangelical community considers The Passion the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood, and they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger."
Just who would play Jesus is one question that would have to be answered. Fans will want Jim Caviezel to reprise the role, but the actor is now 14 years older than when principal photography was completed on The Passion. However, special effects and miracle makeup will make the years fade if Caviezel should join the effort.
Wallace insists it is too early to think about such things. The idea has not been shopped to studios and has no financial backing yet.
Gibson also is keeping the project close to the vest. During an appearance at Liberty University last month, Gibson only spoke of his upcoming film about Lynchburg, Va., native Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who served as a medic in World War II and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in battle. He was the first of three conscientious objector to receive the medal, and one of only three to do so.
The film about Doss is called Hacksaw Ridge and is set for release later this year.