It might be hard to remember, but when The Passion of the Christ came out all the way back in 2004, it was one of the most controversial movies of the year, let alone the decade. Covering the final 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life before his crucifixion and death, critics were unsure what to make of the Mel-Gibson-directed religious torture-fest. Either it was an extremely faithful depiction of the pain Jesus went through to pay for everyone’s sins, or it was an unnecessarily graphically violent masochism experience, with a side of anti-Semitism. The fact that this marked a turning point in Mel Gibson’s fall from A-list celebrity status didn’t help much either. However, apparently even Christ himself can be squeezed for sequel money, as a recent Hollywood Reporter interview with writer Randall Wallace revealed that he would be be working with Gibson on writing a sequel to Passion of the Christ.
While Gibson previously expressed interest in a sequel to Passion in a recent appearance at Liberty University, he was not all that specific about his involvement in such a project. Wallace, however, revealed that collaborations between the two of them were confirmed while working together on the upcoming Gibson-directed movie Hacksaw Ridge. Having collaborated with Gibson a couple times in the past, among them being the screenplay writer for the Oscar winning Braveheart, Wallace’s history as a religion major at Duke University makes him a logical choice to write a film about Jesus’ resurrection. “I always wanted to tell this story,” Wallace told THR. “The Passion is the beginning and there’s a lot more story to tell.” Since the project is still being written, no studio/financial banking has been established for the project, but it should be interesting to see which one will be willing to step up and accept this risky deal.
Personally, I’m more skeptical about whether or not such a project is necessary at this point. Considering how the first Passion movie, in what I assume will become a Jesus Christ franchise, was seen by many as a two-hour torture porn session, it will be interesting to see what Gibson and Wallace can come up with for his resurrection. It probably won’t be as bloody as last time, but perhaps the movie will tell a story similar to that of this year’s Risen but from the perspective of Christ himself. Considering Gibson’s gradual decline in the spotlight since the controversial release of Passion, this attempt at a sequel plus the release of Hacksaw Ridge are clearly attempts by Gibson at making a professional comeback as an actor. As for whether or not they are able to make us forget about his other controversial moments remains to be seen.