Hugh Jackman will be taking on one of the most prominent figures in the Bible and Christian faith with Warner Bros.’ Apostle Paul, according to Deadline. He will star as Saint Paul – credited for writing 14 of 27 books in the New Testament – as well as produce along with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, under their Pearl Street banner. Screenwriter Matt Cook (Triple 9) will write the script.
St. Paul the Apostle was not one of the original twelve disciples. He was actually a Christian persecutor and murderer until blinded by a heavenly white light near Demascus as he heard a voice say, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up, and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Book of Acts, Chapter 9, vv. 5-6). A man named Ananias prayed over Paul and restored his eyesight. Paul became one of Christianity’s greatest converts, acting as a messenger for Jesus and founding many churches.
Jackman, a typically action-film (Wolverine and X-Men series) and Broadway (Les Miserables) actor, will find a new challenge in this re-telling. The sensitive religious subject matter alone would be a daunting task for adaptation. However, with the Golden Globe-winning Aussie actor on board along with a dynamic producing team in Affleck and Damon, the film has a good chance of success. Before production begins on Apostle Paul, Jackman will be starring in the J.M. Barrie adaptation Pan, X-Men: Apocalypse, and his final Wolverine film.
What could be particularly interesting is the angle the producers and Warner Bros. take with their retelling of the story of St. Paul. Last year saw Biblical epics come out of both Paramount and 20th Century Fox with Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings, respectively. Neither of those films conformed tightly to a “traditional” rendering of the story, and both big-budget tentpoles struggled to find success at the box office.