Deadline reports that Joaquin Phoenix, that talented time traveler who can imbue the act of masturbating on a beach in the 1940s with a such a strong sense of alienation or the act of falling in love with a computer in the future with such a strong sense of connection or the act of being in the 70s with such a strong feeling of…being in the 70s, is “being eyed” to play go on an even further venture back in time. He’s being considered to play Jesus in an upcoming film about Mary Magdalene, in which Rooney Mara has already been cast as the latter. (The two, you may recall, also played exes in Her).
The film’s title doesn’t give much of a glimpse into the angle the people behind it (it’s being directed by Top of the Lake director Garth Davis, and produced by the company behind The King’s Speech) are taking on the very old story. For, the title is, simply, Mary Magdalene.
Deadline thinks, however, that casting Phoenix would “be a clear statement of intent.” What exactly the clear statement would be isn’t quite…clear, but presumably the implication is that Phoenix often plays dark, complex and even amoral characters, and that this won’t be biblical propaganda à la Passion of the Christ.
According to a description in Variety, the film is “an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history.” Deadline says that scheduling is a “concern,” so it’s still uncertain whether Phoenix will, indeed, be playing Jesus. Regardless, the team behind the film is aiming to begin production this summer, with a 2017 release.