Remember how Peter O’Toole played King Henry II in two movies that came out only a few years apart but had so little to do with each other, apart from O’Toole, that you couldn’t quite say the second film was a “sequel” to the first film? I was reminded of that today when I discovered that Hristo Shopov, who played Pontius Pilate in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004), has apparently reprised the role in L’Inchiesta, AKA The Inquiry.
The new film, which premieres December 28 at the Capri Hollywood Film Festival in Italy, is a remake of a 1986 film about a Roman agent who is sent to Palestine to investigate rumours concerning a Jewish prophet who came back from the dead.
It has been so long since I saw the original film that I remember very little about it, except that Pilate was played by Harvey Keitel — two years before he played Judas in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)! — and Pilate’s wife Claudia Procula was played by Phyllis Logan, who went on to play Timothy Spall’s wife in Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies (1996), my favorite film of the ’90s.
The new film features Bible-movie veterans Max von Sydow as the emperor Tiberius (he played Jesus in 1965’s The Greatest Story Ever Told, Peter in 1985’s Quo Vadis?, and David in 1997’s Solomon) and F. Murray Abraham as someone called Nathan (he played Lot in 1999’s Noah’s Ark and Mordechai in 1999’s Esther).It also reportedly features Dolph Lundgren as someone called Brixos; and although the IMDB says Ben Kingsley and Franco Nero are also involved, it does not say who they would be playing.
On a more tangential note, before Shopov played Pilate in either of these movies, he played a prison warden with a guilty conscience in I Am David (2003; my review) — and the prisoner who most affected his conscience was played by James Caviezel, who would go on to play Jesus opposite Shopov’s Pilate in The Passion!
UPDATE: You can download a trailer for the new version of The Inquiry here. For some reason, it’s heavy on battle scenes.
DEC 18 UPDATE: Coincidentally, Shaila Rubin, who had a bit part in I Am David and was also the casting director on The Passion and The Inquiry — as well as on The Nativity Story, Heaven (2002), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), The Omega Code (1999), Life Is Beautiful (1997) and at least three Bible Collection films! — passed away three days ago. Variety has posted an obituary.