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The Schmooze

Mel Gibson Working on Sequel to ‘The Passion of the Christ’

Twelve years after the contentious “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson is ready for a sequel.

Academy Award nominated “Braveheart” screenwriter, Randall Wallace, revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he and Gibson are in the early stages of a follow-up to the 2004 film that will focus on Jesus’s resurrection.

“I always wanted to tell this story,” Wallace, who is penning the script, said to THR, adding, “The Passion is the beginning and there’s a lot more story to tell.”

“The Passion,” which focused on the the last day of Jesus Christ’s life, was controversial for playing into old anti-Semitic stereotypes and painting Jews as principal players in Christ’s death. Ahead of the film’s release, the ADL and the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a joint statement denouncing the film as presenting “Jesus as having been relentlessly pursued by an evil cabal of Jews…. This is precisely the storyline that fueled centuries of anti-Semitism within Christian societies.”

Earning $612 million worldwide on a $30 budget, the film was an undeniable financial blockbuster and, according to the National Catholic Register, remains the highest grossing religious film, the second highest-grossing R-rated film in the United States and the highest grossing non-English-language film of all time.

“The evangelical community considers ‘The Passion’ the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood, and they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger,” Wallace said, noting that though there’s interest, no studio or financial backers have been settled yet. “It’s too early to talk money, this is such a huge and sacred subject.”

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