Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg talk about 'Father Stu' — and the 'Passion of the Christ' sequel

Father Stu L-R: Actor Mel Gibson, writer and director Rosalind Ross, Raymond Arroyo of EWTN’s ‘The World Over’ and actor and producer Mark Wahlberg smile in Culver City, California, on March 22, 2022. | Courtesy of Raymond Arroyo/Sony

When can devotees of “The Passion of the Christ” be able to see the sequel?

Not anytime soon, from the sounds of it.

In an interview on “The World Over” that aired April 7, Gibson, who produced, co-wrote, and directed the hugely successful 2005 film about the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that he hasn’t yet settled on a script for the sequel, which picks up the story with Jesus’ resurrection.

“So when can we expect a script, Mel?” Arroyo asked.

“Well, I’ve got two scripts,” Gibson revealed. “So I’ve got the pair of them, and they’re both good.”

Arroyo interviewed Gibson, actor Mark Wahlberg, and writer-director Rosalind Ross about the launch of their new film, “Father Stu,” a biopic about the late Father Stuart Long, a no-nonsense Montana priest who died of a rare muscular condition in 2014.

Wahlberg plays the role of Father Stu in the film and Gibson plays the role of Bill Long, the late priest’s father. The film comes out nationwide April 13, to coincide with the start of Holy Week.

“Father Stu was a living embodiment of grace and strength and suffering. And you hear it from anybody whose life he touched, that he was incredibly grateful for what afflicted him and had such dignity and strength in it,” Ross told Arroyo.

“His life is such a beautiful example of humility. You’ve got this guy who was a fighter, who fought everybody: an opponent in a ring; a guy in a bar; he fought the hand that was dealt to him in life; he fought for his father’s approval," she said. "And it wasn’t until he found God that he realized he could surrender a bit. And I think he learned that staying in the fight on your feet isn’t always as effective as getting on your knees and admitting that you can’t do it alone.” You can watch the full interview in the video below.

Wahlberg said he was inspired by Long’s story and his own Catholic faith to pursue the project.

“I think I’ve been really focused on my faith for quite some time, and I had a very troubled past. It was my faith that allowed me to turn my life around and get back on the right road,” Wahlberg said.

“I was always thinking about how could I give back and do more, utilize what has been given to me for the greater purpose and what God really gave it to me for. And I always really admired what Mel did with ‘The Passion’ and that love letter that he created to the Lord,” he said.

“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.

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“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.

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