Some of you may find the above title confusing in more ways than one. For starters, you might be shocked to hear that a director who has given us such violent and sexual films over the years – like Basic Instinct, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers – will be tackling the life of Jesus Christ. Secondly, others may be asking what other film has such themes in it. However, if you really watch one of the director’s most iconic films, you have a main protagonist who sacrifices himself for his team and partners, resurrected, and then subsequently “preaching” against evil and sin while simultaneously inspiring hundreds of people. The film I’m obviously referring to is 1987′s Robocop. A much more literal representation of this theme can be found when our newly rebuilt hero appears to be walking on water in a scene later on in the film; referencing a miracle that is brought up in Christian mythology. Paul Verhoeven has never denied the religious themes found in the movie and even briefly talks about them on a featurette found on the DVD/Blu-ray. The Dutch director returns to Christian mythology more directly with a book he wrote in 2007 entitled Jesus of Nazareth. While the book is obviously controversial for some of the claims made in it, the recently announced film will no doubt spark a whole new wave of criticism and protests. Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary is set to write the film. If those two names bring to mind ridiculous imagery and sensational violence, you might be surprised to hear how Verhoeven approached the book. Which should also give us a hint at what to expect from the film. Deadline sat down with the director turned author in 2011 where he had this to say:
“If you look at the man (Jesus), it’s clear you have a person who was completely innovative in the field of ethics,” Verhoeven told me last year. “My own passion for Jesus came when I started to realize that. It’s not about miracles, it’s about a new set of ethics, an openness towards the world, which was anathema in a Roman-dominated world. I believe he was crucified because they felt that politically, he was a dangerous person whose following was getting bigger and bigger. Jesus’ ideals are about the utopia of human behavior, about how we should treat each other, how we should step into the shoes of our enemy.”
The book apparently makes claims that Jesus was born after Mary was raped by a Roman soldier and that he was simply a radical prophet who inspired people through speeches and by conducting “exorcisms” (not miracles). Regardless of your religious beliefs or personal doctrines, I think its safe to say that this will certainly be a film worth talking about.