Back in June, a very curious piece of news cropped up. Mel Gibson has been out of the public eye as a filmmaker for a while, but he’s returning to the fray with this fall’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge. After that, however, it appears that Gibson may be returning to more overtly religious territory with, yes, a follow-up film to The Passion of the Christ. In June, Oscar-nominated Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace revealed that he was working on a script for a follow-up titled The Resurrection, which would revolve around the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the ensuing aftermath.
Well now we’ve got word straight from the horse’s mouth, as Gibson himself confirmed in an interview with evangelist Greg Laurie (via CP Entertainment) that he’s indeed considering the prospect of making The Resurrection:
“We’re talking about that. Of course, that is a huge undertaking. And you know, it’s not The Passion 2. It’s called The Resurrection. Of course, that’s a very big subject and it needs to be looked at because we don’t want to just do a simple rendering of it — you know, read what happened… But in order to read it, experience and explore probably deeper meanings of what it’s about, it’s going to take some doing and Randall Wallace is up to the task.”
The Passion of the Christ remains the biggest crossover faith-based film in history, amassing a staggering $611.8 million worldwide in 2004—it’s still the highest grossing R-rated movie ever at the US box office. The film was not without controversy, especially for its graphic depiction of violence, but it struck a core with the religious community and there would no doubt be an audience for a less violent follow-up film. The big question is, would Jim Caviezel return to star?
Gibson stressed in the interview that it’s very early days, and indeed it would be a massive undertaking, but he views films like The Passion of the Christ and Hacksaw Ridge—about a soldier unwilling to bear arms who saved countless lives during battle—as real-world antidotes to the glut of superhero movies at the cinema:
“Faith is a real thing. I think that often times, I made the ultimate superhero film in The Passion of the Christ. Someone like Desmond Doss is also a superhero and real superheroes don’t wear spandex and they don’t have a lot of 3-D special effects. But, they do operate on a higher level, on a supernatural level. They actually look and appeal to something greater than themselves and then they do something super human.”
We’ll have to see if The Resurrection actually materializes, and no doubt the response to Hacksaw Ridge and Gibson’s presence on the Oscar circuit once again will be interesting, but this is a fascinating prospect nonetheless.