EXCLUSIVE: History scored big with its blockbuster The Bible miniseries. Now the cable network is exploring another project about Jesus that would portray him in a more controversial light. I’ve learned that the network is finalizing deals for the project, from feature writer Scott Kosar (The Machinist) and producers Eli Roth (the Hostel franchise) and Eric Newman (The Thing). Titled The Lost Years, the drama explores the undocumented years of Jesus’ life as a young adult. There is very little information about Jesus’ life from about the age of 13, following a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he took with his parents, to age 30, when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist. Because the project is in very early stages, it is unclear whether it would be developed as a regular series or a miniseries.
The Lost Years is based on an original idea by Kosar who developed it with Roth and Newman. All three have strong horror pedigree — Kosar co-wrote The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror and The Crazies, and Roth and Newman jointly produced The Last Exorcism franchise in addition to their other horror credits. That is not a coincidence — nor is Roth and Newman’s exorcism connection. I hear that The Lost Years was conceived in the horror genre, and it explores a theory about Jesus’ origins as an exorcist. Although the practice of ridding a person’s body of demons and evil spirits existed long before Jesus’ time, the term “exorcism” — which is done in Jesus’ name — wasn’t coined until later. In ancient times, when medicine was in its infancy, healing was done mainly on a spiritual level, essentially treating ailments by getting demons out the body. Thus the theory that, as the most powerful healer of his time, Jesus performed rituals akin to exorcism. Kosar is repped by Verve, Magnolia Entertainment and Howard Fishman. Roth and Newman are with CAA.