Mel Gibson is bringing his controversial Hollywood comeback full circle by returning to one of his biggest blockbusters: The Passion of the Christ. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gibson’s sequel to the Christian drama, titled The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection, is picking up steam, with actor Jim Caviezel in talks to reprise his role as Jesus Christ. The actor’s team confirmed to T.H.R. that Caviezel is currently in negotiations with Gibson. It is still unclear whether Gibson would once again co-write and direct the project, though that’s likely a given. Randall Wallace, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter who penned Gibson’s Braveheart, previously told T.H.R. in 2016 that he was working on a “huge and sacred subject.” Wink, nudge, etc.
Gibson has been talking about this project for the last couple of years, telling Stephen Colbert in 2016 that the film was still “about three years off, because it’s a big subject.” He didn’t share any more concrete details about its potential story line, only noting that he would focus slightly less on Christ and more on the people around him.
The original Passion of the Christ, which Gibson co-wrote and directed, was a bloody drama about Christ’s crucifixion, and a massive success in 2004, pulling in nearly $612 million worldwide and earning three Oscar nominations. A sequel seemed like the natural next step, as T.H.R. notes; however, a follow-up never came to fruition as other studios, like Sony, scrambled to release projects that could tap into the dedicated faith-based audience. The sequel was likely stymied when Gibson became a Hollywood pariah around that time, making headlines after being arrested for drunk driving and going on an anti-Semitic rant. Gibson released an apology to the Jewish community, but was essentially blacklisted from the industry for about a decade. During that period, he was also accused of domestic abuse by girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, and could be heard verbally abusing her with harsh and racist language in leaked audio.
by Yohana Desta