Famed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and frequent collaborator Paul Schrader are developing a multi-year series about the origins of Christianity. In years past, Scorsese has helmed screenplays penned by Schrader for various big projects including Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. The pair haven’t worked together in over 20 years, last teaming on 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead, but it seems they will soon reunite for a religious project.
“Well, Scorsese and I are planning something, and it is . . . it would be a three-year series about the origins of Christianity,” Paul Schrader recently revealed in an interview with Richard Brody of The New Yorker. “It’s based on the Apostles and on the Apocrypha. It’s calledThe Apostles and Apocrypha. Because people sort of know the New Testament, but nobody knows the Apocrypha. And back in the first century, there was no New Testament, there’s just these stories. And some were true, and some weren’t, and some were forgeries.”
Schrader also says the pair will dramatize the events of the legendary story, similar to The Last Temptation. The project is also said to be in development for a streaming service, though Schrader didn’t specify which one it was exactly. It should be noted that Martin Scorsese has previously worked with streamers on various projects, such as Rolling Thunder Revue and The Irishman for Netflix, as well as Killers of the Flower Moon for Apple TV+.
Always busy, Scorsese is set to help develop a new musical with Sing Street director John Carney and Irwin Winkler. Called Fascinating Rhythm, the musical is inspired by the life and music of legendary American composer George Gershwin. Scorsese and Winkler will produce with Carnety set to direct. Chris Cluess penned the screenplay for the project. The Gershwin estate is also on board, which means the composer’s music will be featured throughout.
As for Schrader, the writer serves as both writer and director of the upcoming crime drama movie The Card Counter. Following a gambler who attempts to give guidance to a young man out for revenge against a mutual enemy, the series stars Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan, Tiffany Haddish, and Willem Dafoe. Filming was wrapped in the summer of 2020 with Focus Features picking up the American distribution rights. A release date hasn’t yet been set.
Religious projects can be very lucrative, as was especially proven in 2004 when Mel Gibson released The Passion of the Christ. Against a $30 million budget, the hit movie pulled in more than $612 million in box office profits worldwide. The Oscar-nominated movie is currently the seventh highest-grossing movie of all time. Given the tremendous financial success, it was natural for a sequel to eventually be made. In September, Jesus Christ actor Jim Caviezel said Gibson had just sent him the third draft of The Passion 2.
There’s no word yet been given on a potential release date for Scorsese and Schrader’s multi-year Christianity series. Meanwhile, Scharader had plenty of other interesting things to say about his other projects. You can read the full interview with Schrader at The New Yorker.
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