Newsbites: The religious women edition!

1. Mary Mother of Christ has a new director, and a couple new cast members as well. The last time we heard about the film, which will feature Al Pacino as Herod the Great and is based on a script by Benedict Fitzgerald and Barbara Nicolosi, it was going to be directed by Alejandro Agresti; now, however, the director is James Foley, who previously directed Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and Two Bits (1995). In other news, Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado has been cast as Joseph, and Julia Ormond has also joined the cast in an as-yet-undisclosed role. Principal photography, once set to begin a few months ago, is now slated for October. — Hollywood Reporter

2. Joe Eszterhas, the Basic Instinct (1992) and Showgirls (1995) screenwriter who converted to Catholicism several years ago, will write a screenplay about the Virgin of Guadalupe for Mpower Pictures, the production company founded two years ago by Passion of the Christ (2004) producer Steve McEveety. The film will concern an apparition of the Virgin Mary that is said to have helped Catholicism spread across Mexico in the 16th century. — Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Associated Press

3. Uma Thurman will play a real-life nun who helped rescue over 100 kidnapped schoolgirls from Ugandan rebels in Girl Soldier, based on a book by Canadian journalist Kathy Cook called Stolen Angels. — Variety

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