Mary, Mother of Christ — we have a cast!

Remember how The Passion of the Christ (2004) was originally known as The Passion, and then as The Passion of Christ without the “the”, before the title finally grew to its present length?

Co-writer Benedict Fitzgerald‘s follow-up has gone in sort of the opposite direction: first it was known as Myriam, Mother of the Christ, and then it was known as the one-syllable-shorter Mary, Mother of the Christ — and now, according to Variety, it is simply Mary, Mother of Christ without the “the”.

But that’s a trivial detail. The really big news now is that a director and several noteworthy actors have signed on to make the film, which was co-written by Fitzgerald and Barbara Nicolosi — and Variety is naming names. So far, we have:

  1. Mary — Camilla Belle (Push, 10,000 B.C.)
  2. Herod the Great — Al Pacino (The Godfather, Salomaybe?)
  3. Gabriel/Lucifer — Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors, Samson and Delilah)
  4. Symeon — Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, One Night with the King)
  5. Anna the Prophetess — Jessica Lange (Cape Fear, King Kong)

The film will be directed by Alejandro Agresti, whose last film was the time-bending love-story remake The Lake House (2006).

I’m sure all sorts of related trivia points will occur to me in the next little while. For now, the first one that comes to mind, for some reason, is the fact that this will mark the third film to co-star Jessica Lange and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, following Titus (1999) and Prozac Nation (2001).

Oh, and of course, it is kind of funny that Pacino would play Herod the Great in this film, since I believe he is also playing Herod’s son Antipas in the not-quite-finished-yet Salomaybe?.

One last comment, for now: It does not look like ethnic authenticity, of the sort that we saw in The Nativity Story (2006), will be one of this film’s top priorities.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter also has the story.

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).