Brad Pitt Playing Pontius Pilate?

First on the left, one cross each

Brad Pitt

As revealed last autumn, Warners are planning to add to the recent spate of proposed Biblical epics with its own yarn based around Roman prefect Pontius Pilate. Deadline now reveals that Brad Pitt is circling the lead role. Reports that it's because he wants to wash his hands of World War Z remain unverified.

The familiar version of Pilate is more or less the one played - rather well - by Hristo Shopov in Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ, and by David Bowie in Scorsese's The **Last Temptation Of Christ - although perhaps you prefer Telly Savalas in The Greatest Story Ever Told or Michael Palin's portrayal in Life Of Brian**. He's the politician who orders Jesus' crucifixion, securing himself a role as one of history's greatest villains.

There is plenty more to his story than that, however, and the idea of showing the character's younger years as a ferocious military badass under the rule of Emperor Tiberius might perhaps explain the attraction to the historically, epically-inclined Brad Pitt of Wolfgang Petersen's Troy.

Pitt, just coming off the aforementioned World War Z, Steve McQueen's Twelve Years A Slave and Ridley Scott's The Counsellor, has yet to commit, but Deadline believes that may soon change.

Warners seem to have great confidence in Vera Blasi's Pontius Pilate screenplay, which blends historical and fictional elements, and features juicy walk-ons for the likes of Salome and Caligula. If it happens, it'll follow Darren Aronofsky's Noah, and possible other Biblical projects from the likes of Will Smith and, tantalisingly, Paul Verhoeven.