Grindstone Pictures has picked up the rights to "Christ Recrucified," a 1948 novel by Nikos Kazantzakis ("The Last Temptation of Christ," "Zorba the Greek"), the company announced on Monday.
Grindstone CEO Vincent Miller ("Gabriela") will produce the big-screen adaptation of the novel about a Greek village's attempt to stage a traditional and intense Passion Play -- a task so difficult, it is only done once every seven years. The movie, however, will take place in Mexico and will be retitled, "Christ Is Risen."
Manolios, the small town's resident rebel, is cast as God's son even though he hasn't stepped foot in a church for years. Against the expectations of town leaders, he renews his faith and, in the face of horrific events, inspires others to find redemption through rebellion, becoming less of a savior and more of a destroyer in the eyes of those who picked him to play the part.
Gil J. Botello and Vincent Baksanski are attached to write the script.
The announcement follows the astonishing ratings success of "The Bible," a Mark Burnett-produced miniseries airing on the History Channel. Grindstone hopes to market the film to the same faith-based audience, while also attracting the same broader group of adults that have made seven of nine 2013 Best Picture Oscar nominees accumulate over $100 million at the domestic box office.
"The film is being targeted to the ‘adult drama’ audience that is drawn to such mainstream but profound films as ‘Argo’ ‘Lincoln’ and ‘A Beautiful Mind,'" Miller said in a statement.
Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which was as controversial as it was successful when released in 2004, grossed $611,899,420 worldwide.