Joaquin Phoenix is up for what could be his most challenging role ever, Jesus Christ, in the movie Mary Magdalene, starring Rooney Mara in the title role. The film is being developed by the producers of another high-profile biographical drama, The King’s Speech.
For centuries, scholars have debated and speculated about the true identity of Mary Magdalene and the nature of her relationship with Jesus. A prominent follower of Christ, she was labeled a repentant prostitute during the Middle Ages, but no Biblical references support that characterization. Considered an important figure in early Christianity, she has been portrayed in several major films, including the 2004 epic The Passion of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth and Martin Scorsese’s controversial 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ. One of her most memorable depictions was in the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Mary Magdalene is being described as “an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history.”
Directing the film is Garth Davis of the mystery TV series Top of the Lake. The screenplay was written by Helen Edmundson (An Inspector Calls) and Philippa Goslett (Holy Money).
Rooney Mara has six other projects in the works, including the mental hospital drama The Secret Scripture and the sci-fi romance The Discovery, which she is currently filming. Joaquin Phoenix will soon be seen in the western adventure film Far Bright Star, co-starring Casey Affleck.
Mary Magdalene is expected to be released some time in 2017.