German producer Roland Pellegrino, who financed the “The Red Baron,” is leaping from the aerial battles of World War I to the streets of ancient Rome.
He’s teaming with Canadian duo Jakob de Boer and Bess Fotopoulus to bring the life of Jesus’ most influential disciple to the big screen.
The English-language “The Sword of Peter” tells the story of the Galilean fisherman who founded the Christian church in Rome. The film explores the early days of Christianity under the reign of Emperor Nero and the burning of Rome in 64 A.D.
Billed as “Gladiator” meets “The Passion of the Christ,” pic is produced by de Boer and Fotopoulus’ Toronto-based FOS with de Boer set to direct from his own script.
“The Sword of Peter” is budgeted at $40 million and will shoot in Italy and Israel. The producers are looking to finance the film by way of Canadian subsidies, international presales and private equity from Germany. . . .
The IMDB doesn’t seem to have the names “Jakob de Boer” and “Bess Fotopoulus” in its archives, at least not with those spellings, but after snooping around a bit, I discovered that these people seem to have been involved in one of the various incarnations of The Visual Bible. In September 2000, Variety reported:
John Hamilton, CEO of Visual Bible, said the director Jakob Deboeris now in Morocco scouting locations for the next three films: “Mark,” “Luke” and “John,” which he will film simultaneously. . . .
The financing of the movies is coming from the Canadian investment underwriters Dominick and Dominick and the debt-financing company Trinity Capital, said Bess Fotopoulos, president and chief operating officer of Visual Bible. She’s still negotiating with an unidentified Canadian bank for additional production dollars.
As it turned out, the Visual Bible versions of Mark and Luke were never made, and The Gospel of John (2003; my review) was directed in the end by someone named Philip Saville. So I would take this latest announcement with a fat grain of salt, too.