Director Mel Gibson’s highly-anticipated Passion of the Christ sequel is scheduled to begin filming in January, 20 years after the original film was released, according to reports.
During a recent interview, actor Jim Caviezel who portrayed Jesus Christ in the original movie, said the film will begin production in January of 2024, according to film journalist Jordan Ruimy. Caviezel will once again play the title role. Gibson will direct.
The motion picture website IMDb.com also confirms the film to be “In-Production, Expected 2024” but does not narrow down a start date. Gibson and Randall Wallace (who wrote Braveheart) are listed as writers of the screenplay. Maia Morgenstern will reprise her role as Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Francesco De Vito will once again portray Peter.
As CBN News has reported, the sequel titled The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection, has been in the development stages for the last 10 years. In 2016, executive producer/director Gibson told Greg Laurie at a Harvest Crusade that he wanted to take his time in developing the screenplay.
“It’s called ‘The Resurrection’. Of course, that’s a very big subject and it needs to be looked at because we don’t want to just do a simple rendering of it — you know, read what happened,” Gibson explained.
“But in order to read it, experience and explore probably deeper meanings of what it’s about, it’s going to take some doing,” Gibson continued.
During an interview with The Shawn Ryan Show in July, Caviezel shared that the upcoming project could be split into two films.
“(Gibson’s) been on this for a long, long time… it will be the biggest film in history. It might be two films. Could be three, but I think it’s two,” he said.
Back in January, Ruimy shared that Gibson and Wallace were working on the screenplay.
“There have already been six drafts. ‘Resurrection’ would focus on the 24 hours encompassing Jesus’ passion and the events that occurred three days between his Crucifixion and Resurrection,” the journalist explained.
Could the Actors and Writers Strikes Affect the Sequel’s Production?
It is unknown if the current Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike will affect the start of production on Resurrection. On July 14, SAG-AFTRA went on strike in an ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The WGA strike against the AMPTP began last May.
Both unions continue to strike, shutting down the production of movies and television series at the major studios.
During an appearance on Fox News’s ‘Hannity,’ in July to talk about the movie Sound of Freedom, Caviezel pointed out he was a member of the actor’s guild and supported the strike, but the film did not have an agreement with the producer’s guild, so his interview was not going against his fellow union members.
“Those are my brothers and sisters of SAG. I support them, but we are not a part of (the collective bargaining agreement with) AMPTP,” the actor said. “We wanted to be, but they didn’t want any part of this film.”
But cameras continue to roll on many independent projects in Hollywood and across the country. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that SAG-AFTRA had granted permission to more than 110 independent film projects and series to continue production despite the current strikes.
Major Studios Snubbed Gibson’s Pitch to Make ‘The Passion’
Released in 2004, the original film Passion of the Christ made $612 Million on a $30 million budget making it the highest-grossing R-rated film domestically and one of the most successful independent films of all time. Since the major studios balked at Gibson’s pitch for the original film, he financed the film himself.
The producer-director-actor also decided to bypass Hollywood’s traditional publicity machine, according to NBC News. Instead, his marketing team took their promotion of the film directly to churches, even producing commercials to be shown directly to congregations using clips of the film.
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Some in the industry had even called it a “surefire bomb” as it was a religiously themed movie with subtitles and featured no big-name stars, according to the outlet. However, no one laughed after the box office numbers totaled $50 million just in the first five days of opening, shocking studio executives.
At the time, The Hollywood Reporter’s Greg Kilday told NBC, “Some theaters have … sold out their opening days to church-affiliated groups, so we really haven’t seen this kind of grassroots campaign take off like this before.”
Meanwhile, Sound of Freedom, the summer’s latest sleeper hit also starring Caviezel, may also get a sequel. Last month, in an article for ScreenRant.com, Ben Sherlock reported the film’s director, Alejandro Monteverde, proposed the second movie could delve into Tim Ballard’s work in Haiti and the human trafficking industry in that country.
READ Caviezel Says Resurrection Sequel to ‘Passion of the Christ’ Will Be ‘Biggest Film in History