Peter O'Toole May Ditch Retirement For Mary Mother Of Christ

Russell Crowe and Darren Aronofsky are busy with Noah. Will Smith is apparently tackling the Biblical brother rivals Cain in Abel in his directorial debut. Paul Verhoeven is taking on the big man himself in Jesus of Nazareth and now his earthly mother will be getting a big screen focus. Mary Mother of Christ will show Jesus' life up until about adolescence and the recently retired Peter O' Toole is apparently coming out of retirement to join the project, which is being billed as a prequel to The Passion of the Christ.

The project is still casting, based on a script by Benedict Fitzgerald, who co-wrote Mel Gibson's bloody crucifixion pic and Barbara Nicolosi. 15 year-old Odeya Rush (The Odd Life of Timothy Green) will play the role of Mary.

Peter O' Toole is apparently heading out of retirement to play Simeon, who blessed the infant Jesus, and Julia Ormond will play the mother of John the Baptist, Elizabeth, according to The Guardian. Ben Kingsley, meanwhile is apparently eyeing to play the era's evil monarch, King Herod and producers are apparently hoping Judi Dench will take the role of Anna the Prophetess, a widow between 84 and 105 years old. They are also going after Hugh Bonneville to play Satan.

Texas-based televangelist/author Joel Osteen is executive producing the project, and Aussie filmmaker Alister Grierson, who directed James Cameron's deep sea dive film Sanctum, will direct Mary Mother of Christ. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ made over $611 million worldwide and over $370 million domestically.

[The Guardian]