Warner Bros. has thrown their entry into the Biblical epic game with an acquisition of a Pontius Pilate film from screenwriter Vera Blasi (Tortilla Soup). The historical figure who was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea is infamously known as the judge presiding over the trial of Jesus and the man who authorized his crucifixion. However, the Blasi script follows the man’s life from his childhood through to his evolution as a fearsome warrior, general and eventual political position. While there is always a certain level of controversy associated with religious fare, this picture seems to lean more towards a character study. It’s been described as more in the vein of Braveheart or Gladiator. Hit the jump for more.
Deadline reports that Warner Bros. has acquired Pontius Pilate, which puts the picture in the running alongside Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Will Smith’s directorial debut centering on Cain and Abel and Paul Verhoeven’s controversial Jesus of Nazareth. Much as the latter film came about after Verhoeven’s years of research and book publication on the life of Jesus, Blasi has spent ten years delving into the life and history of Pontius Pilate. Per the report, the screenwriter says the project is 80% fact with the remainder made up by dramatic expression. As Blasi says:
“You have the available facts from Roman and Jewish history books and the four gospels, and then you are left to speculate, to interpret the character of Pilate and give him a dilemma. He seemed a great way to offer context to this very famous event, and if you look at it from the perspective of the Roman governor of that time, it allows for an investigation of the politics of Judea at the time, and what it was like to be occupied by Rome.”
The picture will follow Pilate’s rise to his political office that proves pivotal in how history remembers him. What many people gloss over is the political and religious climate of the period, which put the Roman Pilate in the seat of judgement amidst various religious sects and conflicting political ideals. Keep an eye on this project as the producers are currently talking to directors.