Home / Entertainment / Martin Scorsese working on movie about Jesus
Pope Francis meets U.S. film director Martin Scorsese during a Nov. 30 private audience at the Vatican. The meeting took place the morning after the screening of his film, "Silence," for about 300 Jesuits. (CNS / L'Osservatore Romano, handout)

Martin Scorsese working on movie about Jesus

Martin Scorsese has directed some of the most acclaimed movies of recent decades, including the 2016 “Silence” and last year’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Now he is turning his attention to the life of Jesus.

He plans to make a new film based on Japanese novelist Shūsaku Endō’s book “A Life of Jesus,” with filming scheduled to start later this year. The screenplay reportedly is finished, and the movie will have an estimated run time of 80 minutes.

“I’m trying to find a new way to make it more accessible and take away the negative onus of what has been associated with organized religion,” Scorsese said. “Right now, ‘religion,’ you say that word and everyone is up in arms, because it’s failed in so many ways. You may reject it. But it might make a difference in how you live your life, even in rejecting it. Don’t dismiss it offhand.”

Scorsese has long said there’s a difference between “religion” and faith in Christ.


Scorsese decided to make the movie after meeting with Pope Francis last May. “I have responded to the pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus,” he said at the time.

Many moviegoers will recall that the Hollywood director has made a movie about Jesus before. His film “The Last Temptation of Christ,” was extremely controversial when it premiered in 1988. Eternal World Television Network founder Mother Angelica called the movie “sacrilegious” for its storyline, which depicted Jesus as a mortal sinner like all other people in existence.


In “Silence,” Andrew Garfield plays a young priest sent on a mission to find his missing mentor.

But the iconic film figure also directed “Silence,” a film based on the novel by Japanese author Shusaku Endo. Considered a powerful examination of the interplay between doubt and faith, it stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds and Liam Neeson.

That book and 2016 film are fictionalized accounts of the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan; the central figures are Jesuit missionaries.

READ: The Martin Scorsese film Disney and China don’t want you to watch

The book Scorsese is using as his new inspiration also approaches the topic of Jesus in an unconventional way. Shūsaku Endō wrote the book for Japanese people who would be more open to the “motherly side of Jesus” because fathers in his culture are seen as stern and harsh.

Scorsese is an outlier in Hollywood. He’s not afraid to talk about faith and millions on films that explore the subject.

“I’m not a doctor of the church,” Scorsese told Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the journal La Civilta Cattolica. “I’m not a theologian who could argue the Trinity. I’m certainly not interested in the politics of the institution,” the director said. “But the idea of the Resurrection, the idea of the Incarnation, the powerful message of compassion and love — that’s the key. The sacraments, if you are allowed to take them, to experience them, help you stay close to God.”

In the same interview, he talked about stepping outside after filming a powerful church scene. “How can life just be going on? Why hasn’t everything changed?” he says he asked himself. “Why isn’t the world directly affected by the body and blood of Christ?”

Scorsese has clearly evolved in his portrayal of Jesus and the Christian faith since “Last Temptation,” all eyes will be anxiously awaiting what his new project about the life of Jesus will tell.

Watch Scorsese talking about film and portrayals of Christ:

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

Leave a Reply