“That certainly inspired me. And I always figured … there was going to be a point where I was going to have to focus a lot more on me doing God’s work and focusing less on trying to build up me as the kind of actor-producer, or my entrepreneurial endeavors, what I was doing.
“And so this thing just kind of came to me,” he said of Long’s story. “Stu kind of took to me and utilized me to continue to amplify his voice and message.”
Gibson, for his part, told Arroyo that he felt he could understand some of the struggles Long’s father had during their strained relationship.
“You know, I mean I’ve got seven sons, right? And you don’t do a perfect job with everybody. And I’ve had to do that make-up stuff where you go by, you go back and do another flyby and try and right things that maybe weren’t perfect and talk about stuff. And those are the most fulfilling things for me, I think, because we’ve all made mistakes,” Gibson said.
“And I think Bill is probably in that boat, too. I know I talked to him on the phone, and just a few little things he said kind of told me who he was. He’s not somebody who’s terribly demonstrative, but he’s very deep in his feelings.”
On the subject of “The Passion” sequel, Gibson told Arroyo that the story of Jesus’ resurrection and what happens afterward is a complex and challenging story to present on the screen.
“Well, it’s a huge subject, and it’s not a linear narrative, so that in order to have it mean something and resonate for almost anybody that watches it — again [as with “Father Stu”], you’re not preaching to the choir — you have to … juxtapose the central event that I’m trying to tell with everything else around it in the future, in the past, and in other realms,” he said.
“It’s a big story. It’s a difficult concept, and it has taken me a long time to focus and find a way to tell that story in a way that really delivers to somebody who may know nothing about any of the central story,” he told Arroyo.
You can read an edited transcript of the interview here.