Longtime readers of this blog might recall that Brad Pitt was once attached to a movie about Pontius Pilate. He was said to have abandoned that project two years ago, but now comes word via The New York Times that Pitt still wants to make that film.
Here is the relevant section of Pitt’s interview with Marlon James:
On the topic of exotic worlds, he mentions a film he’d like to make about Pontius Pilate, mostly because the script, which focuses on a mediocre Roman official stuck in the middle of nowhere with difficult people he doesn’t like, makes him smile. Jesus doesn’t get much screen time. “It certainly won’t be for the ‘Passion’ crowd,” he says, which reminds me that Mel Gibson’s torture-porn epic is one of the things that drove me out of the church. Pitt bursts into laughter. “I felt like I was just watching an L. Ron Hubbard propaganda film.”Xenu aside, Gibson movies typically do one thing really well: violence. “Oh, extremely well,” Pitt says. “ ‘Apocalypto’ is a great film.”
It’s interesting that Pitt says the film “won’t be for the ‘Passion’ crowd.” I read a draft of the script a couple years ago, and it had a sex scene between Pilate and Mary Magdalene (who is, sigh, portrayed as a prostitute again) as well as some nods to the Gnostic gospels that probably wouldn’t play very well to the “faith-based” crowd. But that doesn’t mean the film won’t find support in some parts of the Christian world; The Wall Street Journal reported in March 2014 that a Hollywood prayer group was asking its members to pray that Pitt would have “the wisdom to take the role.”
As ever, we’ll just have to wait and see if the film gets made. But after the relatively low-profile Jesus films of the past year, it’s refreshing to know that some A-list actors are still interested in this material, whatever spin they might want to put on it.
— The photo above shows Brad Pitt doing the ancient-epic thing in Troy (2004).