Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Flashdance, Sliver) was probably the most well-known screenwriter of the 80s and 90s, and in 2004 wrote one of the great Hollywood tell-alls, Hollywood Animal. It might all be bullsh*t, but even if it is is worth it for stories like the crew peeing in the hot tub before a scene in Basic Instinct because they hated Sharon Stone so much. Eszterhas hasn’t gotten a screenplay made into a release in more than 10 years, but he’s set to try again with a story about the Virgen de Guadalupe.
Eszterhas will write the screenplay about the virgin of Guadalupe, a vision that appeared to the Aztec peasant Juan Diego in 1531. While some scholars question Diego’s existence, the event is credited with helping to spread Catholicism at a time of economic and social turmoil in the country [and spawning countless generations of Mexican girls named Lupe -Ed.]. Earlier this decade, Diego was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic church.
Problem is, in 2001 Eszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer, quit smoking and drinking, and found Jesus. Then he went on a crusade to stop depictions of smoking in films. Yeah, thanks, A-hole, we’ll all watch Michael Madsen play a hard-livin’ hitman who chews bubble gum because you were too stupid to do things in moderation.
Eszterhas noted that the Guadalupe project was a “labor of love” and that he had been “hoping for some time to write a film that is both entertaining and inspiring.” The untitled project will be produced by Mpower Pictures, the spirituality-minded banner founded by former Mel Gibson producing partner Steve McEveety. The banner also is behind recent Iranian drama “The Stoning of Soraya M.” and several faith-inflected projects as well the upcoming Christopher Lloyd family comedy “Snowmen.” [THR]
So basically, a sleazy B-movie writer found Jesus and is now writing a Jesus movie. It sounds bad, but if they get Stephen Baldwin and Gary Busey to co-star I might be onboard. Also, I can’t wait for the scene where the virgen uncrosses her legs and Juan Diego sees her beaver. (You knew that was coming).