Mel Gibson has been making the rounds this week to promote Hacksaw Ridge, and last night Stephen Colbert asked him about his rumoured sequel to The Passion of the Christ. Gibson replied that the film, currently titled The Resurrection, is “probably about three years off,” and he dropped a few other hints about it as well.
Colbert, who is Catholic, noted that there’s less “action” in the biblical version of the story — meaning not that there is less violence of the sort that one often finds in Gibson’s movies (including The Passion), but that fewer things happen overall — so, he asked, how much of a story could Gibson really tell? To this, Gibson replied:
Gibson: It’s more than a single event, it’s an amazing event, and to underpin that with the things around it is really the story, to sort of enlighten what that means. And it’s not just about the event. It’s not some kind of chronological telling of just that event. That could be boring, and you think, “Well, we’ve read that.”
So far, Gibson’s reply would seem to dovetail with what he told Deadline back in September — that his film will include flashbacks to the Old Testament, to help flesh out the theological significance of the Resurrection. But then Colbert asked — presumably in jest — if the film will have any bad guys, and Gibson’s reply hinted at what he might have meant by things happening “around” the Resurrection:
Colbert: Who’s the bad guy? Is it Thomas, who doubts that Christ is risen?
Colbert: No bad guys?
Gibson: Well, there are. They’re in another realm.
Colbert: Oh. Another realm.
Gibson: Sure, you’re going all over the place. What happened in three days?
Colbert: Oh, uh, he descended into Hell, rose from the dead, tore the Gates of Dis off their iron hinges — sure, yeah, exactly, that stuff. Wow, so you would actually do a little Inferno…?
Gibson: I’m not sure, but it’s worth thinking about, isn’t it? Gets your imagination going, doesn’t it?
So, possible flashbacks to the Old Testament, and a possible depiction of the demons who were defeated by Christ’s death and resurrection. This movie is sounding more and more interesting all the time — and I am particularly intrigued by the notion that Gibson might bring Satan (and/or Satan’s minions) back into the picture.1
But where there are demons, shouldn’t there be angels, too? There are certainly angels in the biblical accounts of the Resurrection and Ascension, and Luke’s gospel even puts an angel in Gethsemane, just before Jesus is arrested — but Gibson’s last Jesus film didn’t have any angels, just demons. And I think it remains an open question whether Gibson’s talents lend themselves to depicting something as transcendent as the angelic realm — or, indeed, something as transcendent as the Resurrection.
Either way, I’m curious to see what he does with all this.
You can watch the interview for yourself here (starting at the 1:35 mark):
There is also a brief mention of Jesus in this other clip from last night’s show:
Gibson also referred to Purgatory as “another realm” in this interview clip:
And just for completeness’ sake, here’s the rest of Colbert’s interview with Gibson:
1. Three years ago, I noted that one of the odd things about The Bible miniseries was how it depicted Satan several times, from the Garden of the Eden all the way to the Crucifixion, and then it just… stopped depicting him, even as it went on to depict the Resurrection and the rise of the early Church. It seemed odd to make Satan a recurring character but to drop him at the very moment of his defeat.