"The Fighter" Producer and Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg is reported to be cast as an athlete who became a priest in the faith-based film "Stu" that will be directed by screenwriter and actress Rosalind Ross.
According to Breitbart, it is Ross' first time to direct a film and that "Stu" will be managed by award-winning producer Stephen Levinson and Jordan Foss.
Breitbart said that it has been reported that "Stu" has been under development by Wahlberg for several years now and a recent opportunity has allowed to make it a reality this 2021. The film is about the life of Fr. Stuart Long of Montana who was an athlete before he became a priest.
"David O. Russell and I right now are working on developing a script on Father Stu, who was an amazing priest from Helena, Montana. 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. 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," Breitbart quoted Wahlberg in a 2016 interview with IndieWire.
As per his obituary, "Father Stu" won the 1985 Golden Gloves heavyweight title for Montana while he was still studying English Literature and Writing at Carroll College in Helena, Montana where he played football for the Bruins. He became a runner-up for the Golden Gloves heavyweight title when he graduated the next year. He entered the movie scene in Los Angeles, California after the advise of his mother from undergoing reconstructive jaw surgery because of boxing.
He also had some stints with commercials, comedy clubs, and bar jobs before he became the manager of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. But it was a life-threatening vehicle accident after going home from work at the museum that eventually led him into becoming a Roman Catholic and landed him into being a priest.
The California Catholic Daily said that Long died on June 9, 2014 at the age of 50 after battling with a "long illness." The media outfit said the priest's physical suffering not only "sanctified him" but also "brought dozens (if not hundreds) of Montanans into the Church as was evident by the overflow crowd and personal testimony of those who attended his funderal."
Meanwhile, the Montana Catholic's Catholic Voices previously released a three-part video series on Long who they described as a "priest who is battling terminal illness while living his vocation."
Wahlberg, who has been highly acclaimed especially in social media for openly professing and practicing his Faith, is reported by Deadline to co-produce the film "Stu." Deadline added that though much of the film's plot is still unknown, the movie will be a drama and its true story is "Very close to Wahlberg's heart."
As per Deadline, there were two elements that pushed the film into production this year. One was Wahlberg's tight schedule had an opening this year and he took it "as the perfect opportunity to finally move forward with the film." The second was Wahlberg saw Ross as "the right person to tell the story he wanted to tell" since he was impressed with the "first-time filmaker."
Financing for the film is said to be already locked in and they are all ready to begin filming by "next month," Deadline noted.