By Niall Browne, 21-Jun-2012 08:17:00
Controversial director Paul Verhoeven looks set to continue upsetting people. Muse Productions has come onboard to finance the director’s Jesus Of Nazareth, a religious film which purports that Jesus was just a normal man, and that none of his miracles took place – at least not in the way that the bible tells it.
The film will be based on Verhoeven’s own book (a tome which he researched for twenty years), although Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary will write the script for the movie which is sure to upset many. Most of the Dutch director’s Hollywood efforts like RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct and Showgirls have come under fire for their violence and/or sexuality - Jesus of Nazareth sounds like it might be a combination of the two - according to Deadline:
“Verhoeven’s take on the life of Jesus Christ discounts all the miracles that inform the New Testament. That includes the immaculate conception and the resurrection. Verhoeven doesn’t believe any of them happened” and that “Jesus might have been the product of his mother being raped by a Roman soldier, which Verhoeven said was commonplace at the time, and that Jesus was a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and was convinced he would find the kingdom of Heaven on earth, and did not know he would be sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate”.
I’m always interested in a good theological debate, no matter what side it takes, and Verhoeven seems to have picked up on an idea which is sure to cause a lot of debate. A mass debate, if you will. The director is quoted as saying:
“If you look at the man, it’s clear you have a person who was completely innovative in the field of ethics. My own passion for Jesus came when I started to realize that. It’s not about miracles, it’s about a new set of ethics, an openness towards the world, which was anathema in a Roman-dominated world. I believe he was crucified because they felt that politically, he was a dangerous person whose following was getting bigger and bigger. Jesus’ ideals are about the utopia of human behavior, about how we should treat each other, how we should step into the shoes of our enemy.”
Jesus Of Nazareth is sure to be as controversial as Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ – if not more so, considering Verhoeven’s past track record. This is only at the scripting stage, so it will be very interesting to see if this makes it to the screen. In the meantime, I think that I might just pick up a copy of Verhoeven’s book.
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