“I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus,” Scorsese said Saturday during a Rome conference at the Vatican, per multiple reports including Variety. “And I’m about to start making it,” the director said. Insiders believe this may be Scorcese’s next project.
Thank you to Martin #Scorsese for accepting the invitation to join us of La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University – along with his wife and daughter – in the meeting of 40 poets and writers from different Countries with #PopeFrancesco, who said among other things, "This is… pic.twitter.com/yG6bEyo2Wq
— Antonio Spadaro (@antoniospadaro) May 27, 2023
The 80-year-old Hollywood icon also had a private meeting with Pope Francis prior to attending “The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination,” a conference organized by the Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University.
Editor of La Civiltà Cattolica Antonio Spadaro said on the publication’s website that Scorsese talked about “How the Holy Father’s appeal ‘to let us see Jesus’ moved him.” Scorcese reportedly expressed his appreciation for previous works, including “The Gospel According to St. Matthew.”
During the conversation, the director also discussed his controversial 1988 drama “The Last Temptation of Christ” and of “the subsequent step in his research on the figure of Jesus.”
The movie was extremely controversial when it was released as it broke from Gospel narratives and depicted Jesus as fantasizing about married life with Mary Magdalene, including a scene fantasizing about the consummation of their relationship.
Prominent Catholic nun Mother Angelica, founder of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), called the movie “the most blasphemous ridicule of the Eucharist that’s ever been perpetrated in this world” and “a holocaust movie that has the power to destroy souls eternally.”
“The Last Temptation” received multiple accolades, including nominations for the Academy Award for Best Director and two Golden Globe nominations. It earned more than $33 million worldwide, but has been banned or censored in several countries.
Hollywood has approached the topic of religion in a more conventional way, however, and generated profits while doing so. Mel Gibson’s famous “The Passion of the Christ” (2004), which primarily covers the 12 hours leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, is the highest-grossing R-rated movie domestically, earning $370.8 million.
A sequel based on Jesus’s resurrection has been rumored for years and is reportedly set to start filming in mid-2023.