The Oscar-nominated “Carol” star is currently in talks to play Mary Magdalene, the captivating and oft-controversial follower of Jesus. Universal Pictures is partnering with See-Saw on the project, which will be directed by Garth Davis (known for the television series “Top of the Lake”).
Screen Daily reports that the script will be penned by British playwright Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett (“Little Ashes”). Iain Canning and Emile Sherman are set to produce. Davis and See-Saw recently worked on “Lion” together, which also stars Mara.
Of Mara playing Magdalene, Davis says, “Rooney’s raw, brave approach to performances, coupled with her deeply magnetic inner life, holds all the dimensions needed to bring to life one of history’s most misunderstood women – Mary Magdalene. Having worked with Rooney on “Lion,” I know she is a once in a lifetime talent.”
Mara captivated audiences this year in her turn as Therese Belivet in “Carol” opposite fellow nominee Cate Blanchett. She also received praise for her role in “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” in 2011. She has many upcoming projects, including an unnamed Terrence Malick project due out this year.
This is not the first time the Mary Magdalene character has been portrayed on screen. In Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” Barbara Hershey plays the famous figure. And in Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” Monica Bellucci also played her.
Over time Mary Magdalene has been seen as a prostitute, however, this is not supported in canonical gospels. She is also at the center of a fictional cover-up by the Catholic Church in the Dan Brown book “The DaVinci Code,” which was later turned into a film of the same name starring Tom Hanks.
The film is slated to begin filming this summer with an anticipated release in 2017.