A-lister Mark Wahlberg planning production of Christian faith-based film

A-list actor Mark Wahlberg is planning to begin the production of a Christian faith-based film that he says he has been crafting and honing for several years.

Wahlberg will begin production on “Stu” beginning in April, Newsbusters reported, adding that the all details surrounding the story have not yet been released. That said, the movie is purportedly about Christian faith, a subject that is essentially taboo in secular Hollywood and not typically sought after by A-list actors. 

Wahlberg, known for such films as “Lone Survivor,” “The Departed,” and “The Fighter,” has been busy wrapping up “Uncharted” with Tom Holland of “Spiderman” fame, which has been underway for 10 years. Also, Newsbusters noted, Wahlberg just finished filming “Arthur The King” for Lionsgate, and another film, “Infinite,” is scheduled for September release.

Even so, Wahlberg made time recently to move “Stu” along in the production schedule, Deadline reported, adding that Rosalind Ross wrote the script and is making her directorial debut with the film.

“As someone whose schedule is usually filled years out, when an opening occurred at the top of the year, Wahlberg saw this as the perfect opportunity to finally move forward with the film,” Deadline added. Wahlberg is collaborating on the film with David O. Russell; the two have made three movies together — “Three Kings,” “I Heart Huckabees” and “The Fighter.”

Five years ago, Wahlberg discussed the film during a Facebook Live event, IndieWire noted, adding that it is based on one-time athlete-turned-priest Fr. Stuart Long.

“David O. Russell and I right now are working on developing a script on Father Stu, who was an amazing priest from Helena, Montana,” said Wahlberg. “He was a very tough guy who was a fighter, a football player…anything but a spiritual guy. 

“He found his calling, and decided, after falling in love with a woman, that he wanted to become a priest,” Wahlberg continued. “He suffered from this horrible muscular degenerative disease but was still ordained as a priest and passed away, but not before he was able to inspire thousands upon thousands of people.”

That Stu’s central theme is the Christian faith, the film and its actors are at risk of becoming targets of attacks that are often directed by left-wing entertainers. 

But those could be mitigated given Wahlberg’s star power. Also, the actor has been open about his faith, with he and his wife wishing followers a “blessed Palm Sunday” on Twitter last April.

Also, in a March 2020 interview with the Today show, Wahlberg said he would like “to be committed to serving the Lord.”

While secular Hollywood can be hostile to Christian-themed films, there is a streaming service — Pureflix — that specializes in such content.

The service bills itself as home to “thousands of family-friendly Christian movies, TV shows and documentaries.”

One of the last major Christian films to come out of Hollywood was “Passion of the Christ,” which starred Jim Caviezel and was produced by one-time A-lister Mel Gibson.

More recently, Caviezel starred in the movie “Infidel,” in which he plays an American kidnapped by Hezbollah operatives in Egypt who is then taken to a prison in Iran where he is persecuted for his faith.

“He understood what it was like to convert to the Christian faith, it could cost you your life,” Caviezel told Fox News. He added that he chose the film because “it was a well-executed thriller” and not “some candy-a** Christian stupid film.”

 

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Jon Dougherty

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