Megachurch speaker and author Joel Osteen has signed an agreement to mass market a new film based on the life of Mary.
“Mary, Mother of Christ,” which is stated to be the prequel to “The Passion of the Christ,” will be released in theaters in 2013, with Osteen serving as one of the executive producers. It is said by one of the film’s co-producers, Mary Aloe of Aloe Entertainment, to follow “Mary’s youth, young love, her life as a new mother and the triumph through the absolute terror of Herod the Great’s reign.”
The script of the film is written by Benedict Fitzgerald and Barbara Nicolosi, who are both devout Catholics. Fitzgerald had written the script for “The Passion of the Christ,” which was based significantly on the purported visions of Catherine Emerich, a Catholic mystic that was “beatified” many years after her death by Pope John Paul II.
Scenes such as Jesus being dangled off a bridge, Mary and Mary Magdalene wiping Jesus’ blood from the floor with linens, and Pilate’s wife gifting new linens to Mary were all influenced by the writings of Emmerich and other mystics. It is not known whether “Mary, Mother of Christ” is based upon similar publications.
Writer Barbara Nicolosi, who also participated in “The Passion of the Christ,” is known for her work on the film “Fatima,” which is based on purported apparitions of Mary to three young children in Portugal during World War I. According to the movie website, the children are on a mission to fulfill what Mary tells them to do in the vision.
Nicolosi has lectured at many Catholic colleges, and has written for a number of Catholic publications. She has also been a judge at several film festivals, and has received awards for her work, including the Catholic Academy’s Gabriel Awards.
Osteen says that he believes the film portrays Mary as “a brave, faithful young woman who readily embraces her divine destiny regardless of the sacrifices and hardships she must endure.” Co-producer Mary Aloe stated, “It is truly a story of real female empowerment.”
Osteen has also made other ecumenical moves in recent days. He raised eyebrows in April of this year when he stated to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he believed that presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is a Christian.
“Mormonism is a little different, but I still see them as brothers in Christ,” he explained. Osteen said the same of Barack Obama.
“I believe with all my heart that he’s a Christian as he says he is,” he stated. “[Obama] says he is [a Christian]. Again, I wouldn’t try to push people away. That‘s just the opposite of what we’re supposed to do. … My personality is, I give people the benefit of the doubt.”
“Mary, Mother of Christ” will be filmed in the Middle East this summer.