As if you need further proof that the Bible is as fertile a tilling ground for Hollywood movies as superhero origin stories (and really, what is the Bible but the ultimate superhero origin story?) Warner Bros. has announced that it's working on a New Testament epic based on the life of Pontius Pilate. According to Deadline, screenwriter Vera Blasi has drafted a new take on the infamous fifth Prefect of Judea best known for sentencing Jesus to death—and for being portrayed by David Bowie in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ—that will focus on Pilate’s life from childhood through his service as a warrior and eventual rise to political office, where he mediates between different religious sects. Blasi's script will also attempt to invest the trial of Jesus with some dramatic tension, given that everyone already knows the ending. (Spoiler alert: Jesus dies. [Spoiler alert: Or does He?])
The film joins an ever-expanding list of biblical epics in the works that includes Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Will Smith’s long-gestating Cain and Abel movie, Paul Verhoeven’s gassy Jesus movie, and competing Moses movies from Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg. Or rather, given the tighter purview of Pontius Pilate, perhaps it unofficially kicks off a second wave of tighter, more character-focused scriptural adaptations that could lead to gritty, realistic biopics of the likes of Barnabas, Nimrod, Abishag, and other back-bencher favorites, all potentially coming to a theater near you sometime before the second coming of Christ.