Grindstone Pictures has acquired Christ Recrucified, the 1954 novel from Nikos Kazantzakis, whose works include Zorba The Greek and The Last Temptation Of Christ. The former’s film adaptation garnered three Oscars, and of course the latter’s 1988 film version was a lightning rod for controversy for its alternate take on Jesus’ life. It fueled protests among faith-based groups, and director Martin Scorsese had to release the pic before he was ready. Grindstone and Vincent Miller (Gabriela) are producing this one, and the film will be retitled Christ Is Risen.
Producers will move the novel’s story from Greece to present-day Mexico. It revolves around residents of a small town who are cast in its traditional and intense passion play about Jesus — it’s such a monumental undertaking that it is performed only once every seven years, and it draws throngs of viewers from all over the country. The movie follows the performers as they both grow into and beyond their roles. One of those is the town’s rebel, Manolios, who hasn’t set foot in church in years but is cast as Jesus as the town’s leaders figure he is tough enough to handle the pressure of the part. But they underestimate both Manolios and Jesus; Manolios renews his faith and, in the face of horrific events, inspires others to find redemption through rebellion. Not surprisingly, the town leaders come to see him not as a savior but as a destroyer who himself must be destroyed.
Grindstone’s plan is to target faith-based audiences that in the past garnered huge box office numbers for pics like Passion Of The Christ and most recently record TV ratings for History’s miniseries The Bible. Gil J. Botello and Vincent Baksanski are attached to write the script.