EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has acquired film rights to David Kushner’s Vanity Fair article “The Church of the Living Dangerously,” with Christian Bale attached star and produce. Script will be written by Charles Randolph, who shared an Oscar with Adam McKay for scripting the Bale-starrer The Big Short, as well as the Jay Roach-directed Fox News Roger Ailes sexual harassment drama Bombshell.
The film will be produced by New Regency and Bale, along with Ellen Goldsmith Vein and Eric Robinson of The Gotham Group. Randolph and Kushner will serve as executive producers, together with Margaret Riley. Bale just wrapped starring in the untitled David O Russell-directed film at New Regency. In The Church of Living Dangerously, he has a potential starring role with meat on the bone.
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John Lee Bishop emerged from a rough and tumble childhood to become pastor of The Living Hope Church, which became so big at his peak that it filled an 8500 square foot former K-Mart superstore in Portland Oregon. A natural showman who would bring exotic animals for a sermon on Noah’s Ark, and once almost got mauled by a Bengal tiger he brought to the pulpit, Bishop became wealthy as the star performer. While the church catered to lost souls with the theory anyone could be forgiven, Bishop didn’t handle the affluence well and his parishioners would not forgive him when the married preacher was caught in an affair with a church employee, and for a raging painkiller and drinking problem. Bishop’s son, David, who developed a meth and heroin habit, and the preacher found a perplexing method of intervention. Bishop had a terrible childhood, subjected to bare knuckle fight club matches with other kids organized by his uncles for their amusement. Determined not to fail his son, Bishop insisted on taking the drugs with the youth, to understand their power over him. That led to Bishop’s road to smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel. Caught at the Mexican border after 20 runs, Bishop was convicted and sentence to five years behind bars.
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In addition to the article, the deal also includes the life rights to Bishop and his son, David, who helped pull his father out of his nosedive. Bale is represented by WME; Randolph is represented by CAA and Lighthouse Management & Media.
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