Martin Scorsese Teases New Movie About Jesus After Meeting with Pope

Martin Scorsese already has a few ideas for his next project lined up — he could direct a Grateful Dead biopic with Jonah Hill or re-team with Leonardo DiCaprio on another David Grann adaptation. But it sounds like the 80-year-old director might be setting his sights on another film about one of his favorite subjects: religion.

The auteur followed his trip to Cannes — where “Killers of the Flower Moon” premiered out of competition to rapturous reviews — with a tour of Italy, where he is hosting screenings of several of his films and conducting a master class for students at the Centro Sperimentale film school.

He also found time to visit the Vatican for a conference titled “The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination,” which saw prominent Catholic artists from around the world discussing ways to explore faith in their work. Variety reports that Scorsese also had a private audience with Pope Francis and announced his plan to make a new film about Jesus Christ at the event.

“I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus,” Scorsese said at his press conference. “And I’m about to start making it.”

Scorsese has directed three films about religion — “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Kundun,” and “Silence” — and touched on issues of faith and spirituality in many other movies. In a 2017 interview, he revealed that he once came close to making a film about Jesus’ life that was set in New York City.

“The popular representation of Jesus in the mind of the average moviegoer was coming out of Cecil B. DeMille. Pretty much all films made on religious subject matter were biblical epics. And the best one, of course, was Pasolini’s ‘Gospel According to St. Matthew,’” he said. “My original idea was in the early ‘60s. I had realized you could start making films with 16-millimeter black-and-white, because of John Cassavetes doing ‘Shadows,’ and I had a dream that I could maybe make a film someday. And immediately I thought of making a film of the Gospel, but set on the Lower East Side, in the tenements, in modern dress. And the crucifixion would be on the West Side docks, and in black-and-white.”

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