Warner Bros. recently acquired Pontius Pilate, a script by Vera Blasi (Woman on Top) about the Roman prefect who presided over Jesus’ trial and was convinced by the crowd to sentence Jesus to death. Even in his limited appearance in the Biblical canon, Pilate is portrayed as conflicted, reluctant to send a man he believes to be innocent to such a fate. Blasi has stated that in addition to “the available facts from Roman and Jewish history books and the four gospels,” she speculates to follow Pilate from childhood, showing his time in the military and his rise to political office. Blasi intends to use this character study as a launching point for “an investigation of the politics of Judea at the time, and what it was like to be occupied by Rome.”
All that is enough to intrigue me… and Brad Pitt. Deadline reports Pitt is circling the lead role. Pontius Pilate will provoke controversy no matter who stars, but Pitt’s star power and politics would magnify that, should he sign on. Hit the jump for more on Pilate.
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.
Having taken a cinematic break after his tenure on Lost, Matthew Fox is set to star in two high-profile films in 2012: Rob Cohen’s I, Alex Cross and Marc Forster’s World War Z. Looking even further ahead, Fox is now reported to have landed a role in Emperor, by director Peter Webber (Girl with the Pearl Earring). Emperor spins a love story amidst the turmoil of the final days of World War II, as General Douglas MacArthur rules Japan as supreme commander of the occupying forces after the Japanese surrender. Fox will play General Bonner Fellers, an attaché to MacArthur who is tasked with determining Emperor Hirohito’s fate in defeat. The pic, scripted by David Klass (Walking Tall) and Vera Blasi (Tortilla Soup) is on pace to start filming at the end of January. Hit the jump for more on Fox’s character. [Update: We've been sent the full press release, which is now included after the jump.]
Peter Webber (Hannibal Rising) has signed on to direct Emperor, a thriller and love story based on true events following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. The story centers on General Bonner Fellers, who must decide whether to charge Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal. The script by David Klass (Walking Tall) and Vera Blasi (Woman on Top) interweaves the story of Fellers’ love affair with a Japanese exchange student. Said Webber, “The fact that all this came wrapped up in a tense political thriller with an epic love story at the heart of it made it irresistible.”
The press release notes that Emperor is a working title. You may recall from our recent interview with producer Mark Canton that he is also developing a film titled Emperor, about a young Julius Caesar. The former is further along—producers Yoko Narahashi, Gary Foster, and Eugene Nomara are planning for a January 2012 start date—and may have the right to the title by virtue of the Early Bird rule. However, I’d like to suggest the title Hirohito as a solid backup plan. Hit the jump for the full announcement.