I wonder how closely they”ll stick to the book.
The Passion Of The Christ is one of the weirdest blockbusters of all time. I”m not ultimately surprised that a faith-based movie connected to such a huge audience, but I am still surprised that such a dour, violent vision is what they embraced. I”ve seen the film a few times, and written about it at least twice. I wrote, “It”s hardly the first misguided thing done in the name of Jesus Christ, and it certainly won”t be the last.” That”s not a glib dismissal, either. I think there are some really distasteful and upsetting things about the film.
Mel Gibson never seemed anything less than deeply sincere about his reasons for making the film, and what I found most revealing is more about the choices he made as a storyteller than anything particularly overt. I don”t care for Passion plays in general. I think they have a difficult history, and I think their emphasis on the suffering of Christ over anything else is weird and fetishistic. One of my main complaints about Gibson”s film is that it is all suffering and no salvation, and that”s part of the tradition of the specific thing Gibson”s doing in the film.
Now comes the surprising news that Gibson is working with Randall Wallace (who he collaborated with on his Oscar-winning Braveheart) on a sequel, a movie about the resurrection of Christ. Wallace has been working in faith-based films recently, with Heaven Is For Real being his last film in theaters. He and Gibson worked together again on Hacksaw Ridge, opening later this year, and it”s the story of a conscientious objector who was given the Congressional Medal of Honor.
According to the report in The Hollywood Reporter, Wallace was a religion major at Duke University and is involved in the screenplay for Gibson”s sequel. In sacred texts, Jesus took three days to rise again, but it”s been 12 years since the release of Gibson”s monster hit. I”m curious to see if Jim Caviezel returns to play the role or not. It”ll be interesting to see if a movie that can”t lean on some of the same exploitation elements as Passion Of The Christ can come anywhere near replicating its phenomenal success. I”m skeptical, but Wallace claims the Christian filmgoing community is all but demanding the sequel at this point.
In the meantime, Hacksaw Ridge arrives in theaters November 4, 2016.