It's been a few years since Paul Verhoeven's WWII drama "Black Book," a marked departure from the director's usual fare, and while he's yet to get his followup underway, he hasn't been lacking options. Over the past little while he's been attached to a handful of projects, including the Islam and psychic powers film "The Hidden Force"; the video game adaptation "The Last Express"; the "Fatal Attraction"-esque ghost story thriller "Eternal," but most recently, he's been trying to get a rather intriguing film off the ground.
Deadline reveals that the director is looking to get a film adaptation of his book "Jesus Of Nazareth" going in front of cameras. First off, let's rewind a second: a book about Jesus? Somehow this flew past our radar, but last year Verhoeven published "Jesus Of Nazareth," a (surprise) controversial look at the man -- birthed after his mother was raped -- that paints a much more human figure as an ethicist, radical prophet and exorcist. Okay, then. But this isn't just some lark by the director looking to stir the pot. He's a card-carrying member of the Jesus Seminar, a group devoted to getting as accurate a picture as possible of who Jesus really was. And moreover, it's not the first time he's tried to get a Jesus project going.
In the early '90s, Verhoeven had a film in development over at Mel Brooks' Brooksfilm -- with "Showgirls" scribe Joe Eszterhas possibly writing it -- though it appears he's since moved on. The subject itself is one that Verhoeven is fascinated with and has been researching for years, but honestly, it's not too surprising he's not getting many bites for his film. Projects about Jesus that deviate even slightly from what is in the Bible tend to face the wrath from religious types, and studios these days are more nervous than ever about pissing off that group who have made hits out of films like "The Blind Side." So chalk it up as another "maybe" for now, but unless some adventurous independent financiers come around, we don't really see this happening. Anyway, check out the Amazon description of the book below:
Who was the historical Jesus? Here veteran movie director Paul Verhoeven’s lifelong fascination with the facts and fictions surrounding the life of Jesus of Nazareth culminates in a work of brazen scholarship. Combining his passion for the subject with an in-depth knowledge of the history gained through rigorous study, Verhoeven paints a portrait of Jesus the man and Jesus the radical prophet. Verhoeven constructs a new vision of Jesus as a child born from the rape of Mary by a Roman soldier, as a spiritualist who performed exorcisms by screaming and spitting in the mouths of the possessed to drive out demons, and as a militant revolutionary who urged his followers to arm themselves.