Mary Mother Of Christ MovieSanctum director Alister Grierson will helm Mary Mother Of Christ, which its backers are calling the Biblical prequel to the story of The Passion Of The Christ, perhaps because this film’s scribe, Benedict Fitzgerald, co-wrote the other movie with Mel Gibson. Fitzgerald wrote this one with Barbara Nicolosi. Israeli actress Odeya Rush will play Mary. Julia Ormond, and Peter O’Toole are also in the cast. Lionsgate will distribute the film in North America with Hyde Park handling international sales at Cannes.

Texas pastor Joel Osteen signed on the be exec producer. Mary Aloe of Aloe Entertainment and Shawn Williamson of Bright Light Pictures are producing. Motive Entertainment, which helped sell faith-based pics The Passion Of The Christ and The Chronicles Of Narnia, will provide the same service here. Pic is Mary’s attempt to defy King Herod to save her child. Grierson is repped at CAA, Rush is repped at WME, Ormond by Gersh, and Peter O’Toole by Kenis and Co.