Christian Bale Will Play A Drug Smuggling Preacher In ‘The Church Of Living Dangerously’

Bless me father, for I have sinned. I have had impure thoughts about the idea of Christian Bale playing a naughty preacher. As Deadline reports, Charles Randolph, the Oscar-winning co-writer of The Big Short, is re-teaming with Bale for a new project: The Church of Living Dangerously, which the Oscar-winning former Batman will produce and star in.

The story, which is adapted from a Vanity Fair article by David Kushner, tells the story of John Lee Bishop, a charismatic pastor-turned-drugged smuggler who started taking meth and heroin as a way to help him help his son overcome a severe drug addiction. It’s just the kind of multilayered character that Bale knows how to play to perfection, as he has proven time and again (with four Oscar nominations and one win to show for it). And as far as complicated characters go, this one’s a doozy. As Mike Fleming Jr. writes for Deadline:

John Lee Bishop emerged from a rough and tumble childhood to become pastor of The Living Hope Church, which became so big at his peak that it filled an 8500 square foot former K-Mart superstore in Portland Oregon. A natural showman who would bring exotic animals for a sermon on Noah’s Ark, and once almost got mauled by a Bengal tiger he brought to the pulpit, Bishop became wealthy as the star performer. While the church catered to lost souls with the theory anyone could be forgiven, Bishop didn’t handle the affluence well and his parishioners would not forgive him when the married preacher was caught in an affair with a church employee, and for a raging painkiller and drinking problem. Bishop’s son, David, who developed a meth and heroin habit, and the preacher found a perplexing method of intervention. Bishop had a terrible childhood, subjected to bare knuckle fight club matches with other kids organized by his uncles for their amusement. Determined not to fail his son, Bishop insisted on taking the drugs with the youth, to understand their power over him. That led to Bishop’s road to smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel. Caught at the Mexican border after 20 runs, Bishop was convicted and sentence to five years behind bars.

Ultimately, it was Bishop’s son who helped turn his dad’s life around—which is just the kind of ending that makes the story so ripe for adaptation. Kushner and Randolph will executive produce the film for New Regency.

(Via Deadline)