Directors like Lars Von Trier have largely taken over the job of controversy-baiting from Paul Verhoeven these days, but he’s not done stirring things up just yet. Deadline is reporting that the man who made Basic Instinct has secured both financing and a writer for his sure-to-be-thorny cinematic take on Jesus Of Nazareth.
Pulp Fiction writer Roger Avary is the man Verhoeven has chosen to adapt the book about Christ that the director himself co-wrote with Susan Massotty and Rob Van Scheers. After years of research, Verhoeven published the book, called Jesus Of Nazareth, that essentially posits the idea that he existed, but that all of the miraculous parts of his life were pure fiction. Nope, no one’s going to take issue with that idea…
Even Verhoeven is aware of the firestorm he could be igniting, as he made clear to us way back in 2006: “Essentially it is about Jesus the human being. That's a big step isn’t it? To see him only as a human being, and it’s as historical as possible. It really goes into the politics of the time and tries to show a lot of things that have been buried and eliminated by Christianity. My scriptwriter told me not to do the movie in the United States because they might shoot me. So I took his advice and decided to write a book about it first.”
“I was interested in Black Magic and the Occult and then started to be interested in miracles. My view was always, 'Well this is impossible, in fact it’s self-contradictory.' So I became interested in the historical facts: what time did he get up and so on. I feel like Hercule Poirot investigating Jesus!”
Muse Productions’ Chris Hanley is apparently the person with the open wallet who wants to help get the movie made. And while we’re sure this will be a hot potato, particularly in the US, it's back in the news at a time when Biblical movies are all the rage again. Darren Aronofsky is prepping Noah, Steven Spielberg wants to craft a take on Moses and Ridley Scott is developing Exodus. It's only a matter of time until David Fincher makes The Book Of Numbers.