"The Passion Of The Christ" Director Mel Gibson teamed up with "Spencer Confidential" actor Mark Walhberg for the Rosalind Ross directorial debut "Father Stu" that will come out in theaters this April 15, Good Friday.
In March last year, Christianity Daily reported that Wahlberg will star in this faith-based film that he has been working on since 2016. Wahlberg revealed that Long's life story inspired him very much in the same way that it has done so with many. Wahlberg finally got to make the film into a reality last year through the management of award-winning producers Stephen Levinson and Jordan Foss. While "Homeward" actress Ross, Gibson's partner, is also the screenwriter of the film.
"Father Stu's journey from troublemaker to clergyman was inspiring to many, including me. Rosey has done an incredible job capturing the essence of who he was and how he affected the people he met. I hope that with this film, we keep his spirit alive and continue his good works," Wahlberg told The Christian Post.
The Christian Post said the religious drama, which is "loosely based on a true story" on Fr. Stuart Long, has Colleen Camp and Miky Lee as executive producers while Gibson plays the supporting role along with "Animal Kingdom"'s Jacki Weaver and "Narcos: Mexico"'s Teresa Ruiz.
Wahlberg disclosed in a 2016 interview with IndieWire the highlights of Long's life, which involved being an athlete to becoming a priest that had romance and suffering in between before he passed away on June 9, 2014. It is one "inspiring journey from self-destruction to redemption," as per the film's synopsis.
"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," Wahlberg revealed.
Wahlberg in a March 3, 2020 interview with TODAY spoke unabashedly about it, stressing his commitment to serving God.
"Look, I will not hide the fact that I love the Lord and I want to be committed to serving the Lord, but I also don't jam it down anybody's throat," Wahlberg proclaimed.
This he reinforced during his 50th birthday last year, stating how his faith fuels "every moment" of his daily life and activities.
"My faith has given me everything. It's helped me find purpose and discipline and allowed me to succeed in my work. It's also enabled me to lead a good family life and enjoy a wonderful marriage where I dedicate myself every day to their happiness and well-being. (Faith) has made me a better man in every respect. There's nothing more important than faith and family. It helps me focus on making every moment of the day count," Wahlberg declared.
Meanwhile, Gibson, whose "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004 "created today's Christian movie business" as per Vox, has recently disclosed that he has fully recovered from his harrowing experience of COVID in April 2020 and is now busy with many projects. One of which is the sequel to the global blockbuster movie "The Passion," which he is doing alongside "Lethal Weapon 5" and "Wildbunch."
Gibson is similarly open on his Catholic faith much like Wahlberg. During the promotion of "The Passion," Gibson revealed that the film actually came as an "inspiration" from God.
"I'm not a preacher and I'm not a pastor. But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize," Gibson shared.
He also highlighted in his ExtraTV interview that "prayer" is part of the daily balance of his life alongside "meditation, exercise, and introspection, and self-investigation." He stressed that one should "make sure that you don't get out of line too much" because "it's a highwire act."