Mel Gibson planning 'Passion of the Christ' sequel (Exclusive)

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Mel Gibson planning 'Passion of the Christ' sequel

Mel Gibson and writer Randall Wallace are working on a sequel to The Passion of the Christ that will tell the story of the resurrection of Jesus, Wallace tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Wallace, nominated for an Oscar for scripting Gibson's 1995 best picture winner Braveheart, on Thursday (reluctantly) confirmed rumors that he has begun to write a script for a story about the resurrection, telling THR that the project is becoming too difficult to keep under wraps.

Wallace, who most recently directed and co-wrote the 2014 faith-based drama Heaven Is for Real, says he and Gibson began to get serious about a sequel to The Passion, the most successful independent film of all time, while making Hacksaw Ridge, which Gibson directed and Wallace co-wrote. Hacksaw Ridge opens in November and is about World War II Army medic Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

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Mel Gibson planning 'Passion of the Christ' sequel (Exclusive)

Mel Gibson defends Shia LaBeouf over his arrest for disorderly conduct And alcoholism

Actor Shia LaBeouf leaves Midtown Community Court after being arrested the previous day for yelling obscenities at the Broadway show "Cabaret," Friday, June 27, 2014, in New York. The 28-year-old star of the "Transformers" franchise faces charges that include disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Mel Gibson defends Shia LaBeouf over his arrest for disorderly conduct And alcoholism

Mel Gibson defends Shia LaBeouf over his arrest for disorderly conduct And alcoholism

Actor Shia LaBeouf leaves Midtown Community Court after being arrested the previous day for yelling obscenities at the Broadway show "Cabaret," Friday, June 27, 2014, in New York. The 28-year-old star of the "Transformers" franchise faces charges that include disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Actor Shia LaBeouf is followed by media after leaving Midtown Community Court following his arrest the previous day for yelling obscenities the Broadway show "Cabaret," Friday, June 27, 2014, in New York. The 28-year-old star of the "Transformers" franchise faces charges that include disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Signage for actor Shia LaBeouf's #IAmSorry art installation is seen on February 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Actor Shia LaBeouf poses for photographers, with a paper bag over his head that says 'I am not famous anymore', on the red carpet for the film Nymphomaniac at the International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)
Shia LaBeouf attends the press conference for the film Nymphomaniac during the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival on Sunday Feb. 9, 2014, in Berlin. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Actor Shia LaBeouf walks through the media after leaving Midtown Community Court following his arrest the previous day for yelling obscenities at a Broadway performance of "Cabaret", Friday, June 27, 2014, in New York. The 28-year-old, who starred in the first three "Transformers" movies, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. He's due back in court July 24. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Actor Shia LaBeouf chats with Sony pictures Classics co-presidents Tom Bernard and Michael Barker at the premiere party for "The Company You Keep" hosted by Avion Espresso at Harlow on Monday April 1, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Actor Shia LaBeouf walks through the media after leaving Midtown Community Court following his arrest the previous day for yelling obscenities at the Broadway show "Cabaret," Friday, June 27, 2014, in New York. The 28-year-old star of the "Transformers" franchise faces charges that include disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cast member Shia LaBeouf is interviewed at the premiere of "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)
Shia LaBeouf, a cast member in "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman," poses for an iPhone photo on Main Street during the sixth day of the Sundance Film Festival, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Actor Shia LaBeouf attends the premiere of "The Company You Keep" at The Museum of Modern Art on Monday April 1, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
FILE - In the Sept. 6, 2012, file photo, actor Shia LaBeouf poses at the 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. LaBeouf debuted his short film, “Howard Cantour.com,” online on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, but unfortunately failed to credit the source of his idea for the project. LaBeouf’s short began to circulate in late 2012 at festivals like Cannes Film Festival and the Cleveland and Seattle International Film Festivals. The short, which stars Jim Gaffigan, examines the life of an anguished online film critic, which stemmed from the concept of a 2007 graphic novella by artist Daniel Clowes titled “Justin M. Damiano.” Clowes’ tale also depicts the life of a film reviewer. LaBeouf took to Twitter on Monday evening to acknowledge and apologize for plagiarizing Clowes’ work. But viewers didn’t pinpoint the connection to Clowes’ novella until its release online on Monday. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 17: Actor Shia LaBeouf is seen on March 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, Ca - June 05: Shia LaBeouf is seen on June 05, 2013 in Los Angeles, Ca. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: (L-R) Shia LaBeouf and Robert Redford attend the TimesTalks Presents: 'The Company You Keep' at TheTimesCenter on April 2, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rommel Demano/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23: Shia LaBeouf is seen on May 23, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf attend TimesTalks Presents: 'The Company You Keep' at TheTimesCenter on April 2, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: (L-R) Actor Shia LaBeouf, New York Times media columnist David Carr and actor/ director Robert Redford attend TimesTalks Presents: 'The Company You Keep' at TheTimesCenter on April 2, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/WireImage)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: (L-R) Actor James Buckley, director Fredrik Bond and actor Shia LaBeouf attend the Stella Artois hosted Press Junket for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman on January 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Stella Artois)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: (L-R) Actor Shia LaBeouf and director Fredrik Bond attend Day 4 of the Variety Studio at 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Actor Shia LaBeouf attends 'The Company You Keep' Premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20: Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lars von Trier, Mia Goth, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf attend the 'Nymphomaniac' Photocall on September 20, 2012 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Mathis Wienand/Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Actor/Director Robert Redford (R) and actor Shia LaBeouf attend 'The Company You Keep' Premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on September 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/WireImage)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Director Robert Redford (R) and actor Shia LaBeouf attend 'The Company You Keep' Premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on September 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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Wallace was a religion major at Duke University and says the resurrection was a specialty of his. "I always wanted to tell this story," he says. "The Passion is the beginning and there's a lot more story to tell."

A rep for Gibson declined to comment on the filmmaker-actor's involvement in a Passion sequel.

The Passion, Gibson's story of the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus, was released in 2004 by the independent Newmarket Films and earned a whopping $612 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget. Since then, many in Hollywood have presumed a sequel would some day be made, but Gibson has moved on to other projects.

Rumors swirled anew last month when Gibson was a surprise guest at Liberty University's graduation ceremony to do an advance screening of Hacksaw Ridge and was asked about a Passion follow-up. He expressed interest in making a sequel but was not specific about his involvement. Wallace says demand in the Christian community influenced he and Gibson's willingness to do another film.

"The evangelical community considers The Passion the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood, and they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger," Wallace says.

No studio or financial backing has been lined up for the project, which is still in the early script stage. But Wallace indicates there are several financiers interested in investing. "It's too early to talk money," he adds. "This is such a huge and sacred subject."

In February, Sony released Risen, which tells the story of the resurrection, though Gibson wasn't involved. The movie made $46 million worldwide on a $20 million budget.

Read More: "Faith-Based" Is Not a Film Genre (Guest Column)


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