Mel Gibson to Produce Film on Christ's Passion

ROME, SEPT. 6, 2002 ( Mel Gibson is in Italy to finalize details for the filming of a movie on the passion and death of Jesus, a Hollywood trade publication reports.

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Variety magazine said the Australian actor-producer sought advice from Vatican experts for «Passion,» which will be produced by his Icon Productions. The film will be faithful to Gibson’s Catholicism, the magazine added.

Gibson has decided on actor Jim Caviezel to play the role of Jesus. Caviezel, also a Catholic, is acclaimed for his roles in «The Count of Monte Cristo» and «High Crimes.»

The Spanish newspaper La Razón reported that the filming will begin in mid-September, coinciding with the Roman fall, which in Gibson’s words will bring «the right light to re-create the particular atmosphere I want.»

Gibson and two aides traveled to Sassi di Matera early last month in preparation for filming. Sources speculate that filming may take place in the nearby town of Craco.

Pier Paolo Pasolini filmed the «Gospel According to St. Matthew» in Sassi in 1964. Its ancient neighborhood of Sasso Caveoso has an old center abounding in cave-houses excavated from limestone. «Passion» is due out in 2003.

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