The most upsetting part about this news is that it's not called The Passion 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Mel Gibson is on the road to career recovery with Hacksaw Ridge set for release right in the middle of Oscar season. Outside of directing, Gibson's also set to appear in Blood Father, a B-movie revenge thriller directed by Jean-Francois Richet, the guy who did Mesrine: Killer Instict and Public Enemy.
Gibson's out banging the drum for Hacksaw Ridge with evangelical audiences, as the film features a strong pro-faith message, and appeared at a major Christian event in California to promote the film. Interviewed by televangelist Greg Laurie, Gibson spoke about the film and his next project - which just happens to be the follow-up to The Passion Of The Christ.
"Of course, that’s a very big subject and it needs to be looked at because we don’t want to just do a simple rendering of it - you know, read what happened," explained Gibson.
"But in order to read it, experience and explore probably deeper meanings of what it’s about, it’s going to take some doing and Randall Wallace is up to the task. He is also, as well as a brilliant writer, he is a great director. He directed We Were Soldiers and Heaven Is For Real and stuff. So, he is a good writer and director."
For those that don't know, Randall Wallace wrote the screenplay for Braveheart and directed and wrote The Man In The Iron Mask with a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio. As well as this, Wallace also directed 2014's Heaven Is For Real, which was another faith-based film about a small child who saw Jesus in a coma.
However, the reality is that faith-based films such as these are no longer profitable for studios. The remake of Ben-Hur is on track to lose Paramount close to $100 million and will likely set back the trend of high-budget Christian films. The formula, up until now, has been to make these type of films with a very small budget. Ben-Hur was hoped to be the first major blockbuster with an evangelist slant, however its cratering at the box-office has now set the whole genre back considerably.
If Gibson is to take on a sequel to The Passion Of The Christ, he'll need a major studio behind him and a significant budget to do it justice. Whether or not any of the studios will cough up for him remains to be seen and, very likely, they're waiting to see how Hacksaw Ridge plays out.