Brad Pitt may be looking to make the New Testament new again with the title role in Pontius Pilate

Pilate and Jesus painting

Several months ago we reported that a script called PONTIUS PILATE was making the rounds in Hollywood, one well regarded both in terms of its treatment of the title character (bringing nuance and pathos to a confused man in a chaotic situation) and its suitably epic exploration of the period.

And now, word is that some movement may have finally happened on the project - Brad Pitt, of all people, is circling the role of Pilate himself.  I say "of all people" because it's just not what I would have imagined for the actor.  The controversy, the time commitment, the subject matter - it just wouldn't have occurred to me to consider him.  Though I happen to think that he'd absolutely knock the role out of the park were he to sign on.

Now "circling" means that more than anything else that he's merely considering the possibility of maybe entering into talks, so there's a fair chance that little will come of this.  But if nothing else I'd say it shows that Pitt is hardly staying complacent in his later years as a mature actor, something for which I think we can all agree is well worth being thankful for.  You can next catch Pitt in WORLD WAR Z on June 21st and THE COUNSELOR sometime later this year.

In other news, the reporter who broke the news about Pitt's potential involvement has also had the chance to read the script.  And here's what he had to say about it: "I got hold of a draft and it’s very strong stuff and has the makings of a compelling period big budget film. This script follows the evolution of Lucius Pontius Pilate from the sensitive son of a Roman Knight into a ferocious soldier whose warrior exploits make him a general and puts him on a political track under the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Promised a military governorship in Egypt, Pilate is instead assigned by Tiberius to become the prefect of Judea, at a time when Jerusalem was a cauldron of religious tensions between various factions of the Jewish faith. Pilate veers from the political fast track into the express lane to hell and historical infamy. Rather than a straight ahead Biblical film, Blasi’s script reads almost like a Biblical era Twilight Zone episode in which a proud capable Roman soldier gets in way over his head. His arrogance and inability to grasp the devoutness of the citizenry and its hatred for the Roman occupiers and their pagan gods leads him to make catastrophic decisions. All of this puts him in a desperate situation and in need of public approval when he is asked to decide the fate of a 33-year old rabbi accused by religious elders of claiming he is King of the Jews. Along the way, such Roman emperors including Caligula and Tiberius and New Testament figures like John the Baptist, Salome and Mary Magdalene are seen in a tale that culminates with Pilate’s fateful decision to allow Jesus Christ to be crucified.

It is hard to put a new spin on the Greatest Story Ever Told, but the script had the twists and unexpected turns that satisfyingly combine history, political maneuvering and storytelling inventions reminiscent of such films as Braveheart and Gladiator. Blasi has also taken the care to explain the motivations of religious leaders like the Jewish high priest Caiaphas (who engineers Christ’s demise) as these leaders tried to bring varying religious sects under one roof, and the script doesn’t have the polarizing chill some felt in The Passion Of The Christ."


Notable Pilates in cinema's recent past

Extra Tidbit: So what do you think? Could you buy Pitt as Pontius Pilate, and if not, who might you consider instead?



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