Academy Award-winning director Mel Gibson is bringing the Christ story back with The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection. Jim Caviezel is currently negotiating with Gibson about reprising his role as Jesus in the forthcoming sequel, according to a statement Caviezel’s agency ICM released to THR. Gibson is set to direct and produce the film; however, there’s no word yet on whether Passion of the Christ writer Randall Wallace is still attached to the sequel. It was reported that Wallace had been working on a first draft of the script back in 2016.
Caviezel is best known for his work on the television series Person of Interest that ran from 2011 to 2016. He has appeared in several big films other than The Passion of the Christ, including Déjà Vu with Denzel Washington, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and When the Game Stands Tall. The actor played Jesus 14 years ago when he was around the same age as the thirty-something Jesus. Caviezel will be turning 50 this year, so it will be interesting to see how they make Caviezel look the right age for the resurrected Jesus. He will also appear in the forthcoming Sony Pictures film Paul, Apostle of Christ, which will arrive in theaters this Easter. Caviezel will not, however, play Jesus in that film.
Gibson won an Oscar for directing the 1995 film Braveheart, which also took home the Oscar for Best Picture. Since then, Gibson directed The Passion of the Christ, the Mayan drama Apocalypto and most recently the Oscar-winning Hacksaw Ridge. Gibson’s Icon Productions will produce the film—no word on whether a studio is attached for distribution.
The Passion of the Christ had a budget of $30 million and grossed over $600 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing independent film of all time and the second highest-grossing non-English language film, too, with 2017’s Wolf Warrior 2 coming in at first. Because of the controversial subject matter, no studios wanted to attach themselves to the project, so Gibson was forced to distribute the film himself via Newmarket Films.
It had long been assumed that Gibson would make a sequel; however, he never talked about doing it until recently. Family Guy made a solid pitch for a sequel for The Passion of the Christ, which you can watch below, though we doubt Gibson will be drawing any inspiration from it. Gibson has said that the film will probably not be ready for release until late 2019 at the earliest, with an Easter 2020 release looking most likely. Read our November 2016 feature on “Forgiving Gibson” here.