After a long, long wait it looks like The Passion of the Christ 2 is actually happening. It all started back in 2004, embattled actor/director Mel Gibson made a relatively small budgeted film called Passion of the Christ. Much to everyone’s surprise, the film was a major box office hit raking in over $600 million on a $30 million tab. The fact that many big movie companies avoid scriptural stories pretty much at all costs and the added fact that Passion of the Christ came with an R-rating, it was a shock that it made as much as it did.
With the surprising numbers Passion brought in, naturally, there was talk of Gibson bringing back the first film’s star, Jim Caviezel as Jesus, for a second film. And it was not simply because of the money the movie made, but also because there was more to the story. The before… and then the after. With a lot of talk about “the after”, where is Passion of the Christ 2? We went searching and found these answers.
THE FIRST PASSION OF THE CHRIST
The original Passion of the Christ was released with a ton of controversy both during the production and then as the film premiered. For those who may not have seen the movie, Passion tells the story of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life with flashbacks to certain, important spiritual moments in his life. The movie began with the Agony in the Garden, then the betrayal of Judas, it showed the graphically brutal Flagellation of Christ, the suffering of Mary, and the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The flashbacks include The Last Supper and the Sermon on the Mount. The movie ended with a very brief depiction of Jesus’ resurrection.
Though Passion of the Christ was a hit, not everyone was on board with it. The movie was attacked by many for alleged anti-semitism. And then there was the violence. In fact, movie critic Roger Ebert called the movie “the most violent film I have ever seen.”
Realistic in nature, the Flagellation scene was admittingly difficult to watch though it did portray, in graphic detail, the torture Christ was forced to endure. It has been reported that the film’s violence, in particular the crucifixion scene, caused heart attacks in two separate incidents, one of those a Brazilian pastor. You could see why that might give producers pause, when considering whether to make Passion of the Christ 2.
It wasn’t just the final product that was steeped in controversy. The production of the film had its many hardships too. Passion of the Christ was filmed in Italy during the wintertime and brought on several bouts of pneumonia and hyperthermia for Caviezel. During the flogging scene, a few errant lashes left Caviezel with a 14-inch scar on his back. While he was filming the Sermon on the Mount scene, it was reported that he was struck by lightning. Not only did the actor feel wrath from the sky, but first assistant director Jan Michelini also was hit by a lightning bolt.
The controversy didn’t just limit itself to the movie or production but went as high as the Pope himself. In what turned out to be a “he said or maybe he didn’t say” situation, it was reported at the time that Pope Paul II had said after seeing the film, “It is as it was.” The alleged endorsement was the kick Gibson needed. Others in the Vatican added their own praise for the movie, further helping Gibson’s movie. But then it didn’t.
The Pope’s Secretary and closet aide, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, in what may have been his first-ever on the record remark, told the Catholic News Service, “The Holy Father told no one his opinion of the film.” After the controversial back and forth the Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued a statement confirming that the Pope’s impression of the film was never meant to become “official.” His entire statement follows:
“After consulting with the personal secretary of the Holy Father, His Excellency Mons. Stanislaw Dziwisz, I confirm that the Holy Father had the chance to view the film ‘The Passion of the Christ’. The film is a cinemagraphic representation of the historical fact of the Passion of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel account. It is customary for the Holy Father not to express public judgments on artistic works, judgments that are always open to differing valutations of an esthetic character.”
MEL GIBSON, PART 1
Gibson, for his own part, hasn’t helped the cause of making Passion of the Christ 2. Many critics called his work on the original (as he was also the screenwriter) anti semitic. He used too many different sources when putting together his story of Christ, so they say.
And then there was his 2006 incident when he was pulled over for DUI. He went o a drunk rant that he ended with, “F*cking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” Obviously, that didn’t sit well in Hollywood and Gibson immediately went on the blacklist, a list that not too many come back from.
PASSION OF THE CHRIST 2
So that brings us to Passion of the Christ 2: Resurrection. The title alone should tell you what the movie is about. If the first one takes us up to Jesus’ crucifixion, then its sequel will deal with his return. The movie is supposed to go over what happened in the 3 days between his crucifixion and His resurrection.
Rumors on other plot ideas are out there. One is that instead of the 3 days between crucifixion and resurrection, the film will focus on the miracles and events that took place after the resurrection. Another rumor is that the movie will focus more on the Heavenly Realm as opposed to the earthly ones. One possible rumor just may be true since it came from Gibson himself. He says part of the movie will include the fall of the angels.
It will be interesting to see which direction Gibson takes with Passion of the Christ 2, if it happens. So far the only controversy coming from it has been just how long it’s taken the sequel to be made.
MEL GIBSON, PART 2
Mel Gibson paid a heavy price for his drunk statements to the police. Hollywood wouldn’t touch him so his climb from disgrace was a lengthy process, which could be one of the main reasons it’s taken so long for Passion of the Christ 2 to resurrect.
One of the biggest fallouts from his drunk rantings came when Todd Phillips (Joker, The Hangover series) had to deal with unhappy cast and crew members when Phillips was going to use Gibson in a surprise cameo on The Hangover 2. Gibson was prepared to tackle the very small, 2-minute role as a tattoo artist but dissension, reportedly led by Hangover star Zack Galifianakis, was in the ranks. Phillips ended up having to call Gibson and let his good friend know Phillips couldn’t use him. That may have been his low point.
But now Mel Gibson is ready to move on. He feels he’s paid his price, he’s said the proper things, made the proper changes to himself, and ready to tackle the rest of his career. “It’s behind me; it’s an eight-year-old story,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It keeps coming up like a rerun, but I’ve dealt with it and I’ve dealt with it responsibly and I’ve worked on myself for anything I am culpable for.”
PLAYING JESUS CHRIST
Jim Caviezel will be back in his role as Jesus Christ. He has most definitely looked forward to it, updating fans saying Gibson is working on the fifth draft of the screenplay and just how wonderful the film is going to be.
Caviezel told Fox News, “It’s going to be a masterpiece. It’s gonna be the biggest film in world history, I believe it will be based on what I feel in my heart.” He added, “It’s so imperative in this time, these films can’t be made now. The films they make are Marvel Comics movies. You’ll see Superman. You won’t see Jesus… I got to play the greatest superhero there ever was.”
Although Caviezel is extremely high on the prospects of the sequel, he does acknowledge the pain he went through to make the first movie look so real. He talks about carrying the cross, “As I went down, the cross… it actually struck my head and buried my head in the sand. And I bit through my tongue,” he said, “Now, in the tape, you’ll see streams of blood coming down from my lip. That’s actually my own blood.”
His shoulder was also injured badly but he struggled through a key scene, “At this time, the shoulder is out and I was trying everything I had to get my arm over [the cross]. And it looks like it’s the most extraordinary take because it looks like I’m cherishing our cross, which is our faith, and hugging it but in the most beautiful way.” He continued, “It wasn’t beautiful to me because it hurt like hell… my AC joint had been torn.”
EVERYONE ELSE IS IN PASSION OF THE CHRIST 2
As of now, per the Passion of the Christ 2 IMDB page, Maia Morgenstern will appear again as Mary. Christo Jivkov returns as John and Francesco De Vito will be back as Peter.
WHAT LANGUAGE ARE THEY SPEAKING?
Gibson wanted to get as close as he could. He didn’t want to go for an English-speaking film, he wanted to portray Jesus as he was, in the language he spoke. So he, along with Benedict Fitzgerald, wrote the original Passion of the Christ script in English then had it translated into Latin and reconstructed Aramaic by Jesuit Priest William Fulco, S.J., a professor at Loyola Marymount University.
Chances are this is the route they will take for The Passion of the Christ 2. A bone of contention for Gibson on the first movie is that he intended the film to not include subtitles. He wanted the audience to be able to follow the story visually and not necessarily the spoken words. This was a battle he fought but eventually lost.
WHEN WILL WE SEE THE RESURRECTION
Passion of the Christ 2’s release date has been set for March 31, 2021.
However, the people involved in making it are still being pretty vague about how far along the movie actually is. When asked about it, screenwriter Randall Wallace told MovieWeb: “It’s something we talk about a lot… My major in college was religion, and I did a year seminary afterward. My major focus of study was the resurrection. That is the Mount Everest of movies and we are in discussions about it a lot. It’s a highly-charged one, so we keep our cards close to our chest.”
In order to meet a 2021 release date they really should have a finished script by now. It could be that Wallace is just being secretive, but if they really don’t have a script yet, then don’t be surprised if that release date slips later in the year.