Richard Gere Joins Jon Avnet’s ‘Three Christs’

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Richard Gere is lining up his next exciting project. The actor is set to star in Jon Avnet’s “Three Christs,” it was announced Monday.

The film will be based off of the biographical novel “The Three Christs of Ypsilanti,” which is a book-length psychiatric case study by Milton Rokeach, detailing his experiment on a group of three paranoid schizophrenic patients at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan who each believed they were Jesus Christ.

Eric Nazarian and Avnet adapted the screenplay. This is the second time Gere and Avnet have worked together. The first was 1997’s “Red Corner,” a film that gained notoriety when it led to actress Bai Ling getting her Chinese citizenship revoked.

Not much else is known about the project, however, the book’s official synopsis provides a few potential plot points:

On July 1, 1959, at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, the social psychologist Milton Rokeach brought together three paranoid schizophrenics: Clyde Benson, an elderly farmer and alcoholic; Joseph Cassel, a failed writer who was institutionalized after increasingly violent behavior toward his family; and Leon Gabor, a college dropout and veteran of World War II.

The men had one thing in common: each believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Their extraordinary meeting and the two years they spent in one another’s company serves as the basis for an investigation into the nature of human identity, belief, and delusion that is poignant, amusing, and at times disturbing. Displaying the sympathy and subtlety of a gifted novelist, Rokeach draws us into the lives of three troubled and profoundly different men who find themselves “confronted with the ultimate contradiction conceivable for human beings: more than one person claiming the same identity.”

Gere appears next in the star-studded film “The Dinner,” alongside Steve Coogan, Chloë Sevigny, Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney.

Stay tuned for more info on “Three Christs.”