The first thing to note is that the film now has the longer title of The Resurrection of the Christ - which, I guess, will reinforce it's claim to be the sequel to Gibson's massive hit. Having said that this may not be anything to do with the film I discussed the day after my daughter was born (who is sitting beside me now chatting away). That film had Sony behind it, and none of the names seem to match those connected with this latest release.
According to Varirty, Indie producer Bill McKay will start the 10-week shoot in July in Israel, Morocco and Europe. Surprisingly much of the $20 million production costs have come from the UK. Also involved are writer Dan Gordan (The Hurricane), director Jonas McCord and executive producer J. David Williams. Willioams was behind the relatively successful The Omega Code back in 1999. The plan is for an Easter 2011 release, with Samuel Goldwyn Films.
There's one particular part of the Variety piece that got me thinking. The film will apparently have:
a focus on the power, greed and ambition of those involved in the crucifixion -- Pontius Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas and Judas. "It's as much about the key players as it is about Jesus," McKay said. "We want to bring in the 'Gladiator' dimension of the first century against the political milieu of the time."As Peter Chattaway there's a more than a suggestion that the film is going to look at the crucifixion as well as the resurrection which is interesting given that this is meant to be the sequel to a film which has already looked at this part of the story in great detail. It's possible that the filmmakers feel they have to stretch the source material to cover a full-length movie script. That said, in Matthew's Gospel, Pilate and Caiaphas feature after the empty tomb is discussed, but Herod doesn't and Judas is supposedly dead by this point, so it looks like some kind of backstory will feature here.
McKay asserts that "Resurrection" will remain faithful to Biblical and historical records.
Interestingly, the claim that the film "will remain faithful to Biblical and historical records" (emphasis mine) also points in this direction because, aside from the existence of the church, the only real historical evidence we have about the resurrection is Biblical. And note how it says "faithful to" rather than anything more specific. I guess this reflects that there are some minor contradictions between the resurrection accounts (numbers of women and shining men for example) which could be labouriously harmonised into one account but will probably just result in one account being preferred over another.