Sony, the studio behind the ultra-controversial feature film The Da Vinci Code and the straight-to-video Left Behind III: World at War, is now developing a feature film entitled The Resurrection, says the Hollywood Reporter, as relayed by Reuters:
Using the Bible for its source material, “Resurrection” will tell the story of Jesus Christ beginning the day he died on the cross and ending about 40 days later with his ascension into heaven.
According to insiders, Sony’s mid-budget Screen Gems division commissioned a script several months ago from Lionel Chetwynd, the veteran screenwriter, producer and director whose credits include the feature “The Hanoi Hilton” and the Emmy-nominated TV movie “Ike: Countdown to D-Day.”
Set to produce is Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling “Left Behind” series of books. A popular minister and frequent TV news pundit, “Resurrection” will mark LaHaye’s first foray into mainstream filmmaking. . . .
“‘The Passion‘ ends with Jesus being taken from the cross, and ‘The Resurrection’ opens with the empty cross,” a person familiar with the script said.
According to the Bible, women who visited the tomb of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion found it empty, and his disciples and other acquaintances, including Mary Magdalene, encountered him postresurrection on various occasions during a 40-day period.
The film will focus on these dramatic encounters and their implications for the Roman garrison in Judea and the broader Roman Empire, insiders said.
“This is not a fanciful rendering. It’s a serious attempt to understand the Roman world in which Christ moved and the Christian era was born,” a person familiar with the project said.
FWIW, Screen Gems is the Sony subsidiary that specializes in horror films and, lately, in not showing films to critics in advance; their biggest hit to date is The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which was directed by Scott Derrickson, a practising Christian.
I am, of course, intrigued by all of this, but needless to say, the involvement of LaHaye — who, incidentally, disowned the Left Behind movies and sued their producers (unsuccessfully) because the films weren’t as mainstream or big-budget as he would have liked — lowers my expectations considerably.