New Black-White collaboration

Actor-comedian-musician Jack Black and actor-writer Mike White, after collaborating on the so-so Orange County and the much-better-than-it-had-a-right-to-be School of Rock, are at it again — this time in a Nickelodeon movie about “a Mexican priest who secretly moonlights as a masked wrestler in order to save an orphanage from closure.” And it’s “inspired by a true-life story”!

Those who like to keep an eye open for religious connections in film, however weird or obscure they might be, might be intrigued to know that White is the son of Mel White, an evangelical author who came out of the closet several years ago and is now a gay activist who lives across the street from the church run by Jerry Falwell, whose autobiography he ghost-wrote. And the new film will be co-written and directed by Napoleon Dynamite co-creator Jared Hess, who reportedly is a Mormon himself but did not want his previous film to be known as a “Mormon movie”.

Oh, um, what about Black’s religious connections? Well, um, he played Sean Penn’s younger brother in Dead Man Walking, which is all about a nun who witnesses to a death-row inmate…

APRIL 24 UPDATE: Thanks to Amy Wellborn for finding this story on the real-life masked-wrestler priest who appears to be the inspiration for this film.

SEP 21 UPDATE: The film has a title: Nacho Libre.

NOV 20 UPDATE: And now the film has a photo.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).