Inherent Vice star Joaquin Phoenix is in final negotiations to board The Weinstein Company’s Mary Magdalene biopic as Jesus Christ, according to Deadline.
Directed by Garth Davis, the religious feature has already tapped Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network) as the titular Christian figure, and while the addition of Phoenix would certainly be a major casting coup for the studio’s awards-friendly picture, Deadline cautions that a deal is still a ways away from being finalized due to the actor’s schedule.
Portrayed by Spectre star Monica Bellucci for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and, before that, Barbara Hershey in The Last Temptation Of Christ, Mary of Magdala became a deeply controversial figure throughout the Middle Ages, when it was suggested the devout follower of Christ was a unforgivable prostitute. Neither of the four gospels mention any such fact; instead, we know that Magdalene was supposedly one of the fortunate few to witness both the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And when it comes to Joaquin Phoenix’s casting as said Messiah, the actor has displayed complex, scene-stealing range all across his roles, be it in Spike Jonze’s Her or Walk the Line, where he played the mercurial Johnny Cash. Could he be in line to portray Christianity’s Jesus of Nazareth? Time will tell.
Gunning for an “authentic and humanistic” portrayal of Mary Magdalene, expect The Weinstein Company’s biblical drama to ease into production some point later in the year ahead of a theatrical release in 2017. Until then, tell us, what do you make of the potential addition of Joaquin Phoenix?