Risen... is an upcoming American drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by Reynolds, Paul Aiello and Karen Janszen. [...] Columbia Pictures will release the film on February 19, 2016.
In 2013, Reynolds was brought aboard as director for the planned project The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (also known more simply as Risen), a film intended as a mystery/thriller and "unofficial sequel" to The Passion of the Christ set to depict the events surrounding the 40 days following Christ's resurrection in a script written by Paul Aiello as told from the viewpoint of a Roman centurion ordered by Pontius Pilate to investigate growing rumors of a risen Jewish messiah and to locate the missing body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to quell an imminent uprising in Jerusalem.
Joseph Fiennes appears fully Roman in Risen.
"Risen is an incredible noir detective tale. That's the angle that appealed to me," says Fiennes.
Fiennes, 44, star of 1998's best picture-winning Shakespeare in Love, is the fictional Clavius, who is assigned by Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) to unravel the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks after the crucifixion.
With his aide Lucius (Tom Felton), Clavius is tasked to dispel rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent a Jerusalem uprising.
When Jesus' body disappears from a sealed tomb, Clavius interrogates followers of "The Nazarene" to find out what really happened.
"That's where the detective work comes in," says Fiennes. "This is an extraordinary story and well-known to everyone. But it takes us on this journey through the eyes of a nonbeliever."
Clavius' doubts of a supernatural occurrence are challenged, forcing him to part ways with his warring life.
Producer Mickey Liddell worked for more than 10 years to bring the story to the big screen before Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) took over the directing job and rewrote the screenplay with Paul Aiello. Much of Risen focuses on the enigma, along with battle scenes between Romans and their zealot foes.
Fiennes steeped himself in gladiator-style combat for the military scenes, which Liddell calls "epic" in scope. The elusive Jesus (Cliff Curtis) is only seen in glimpses.
Ultimately, he says, the story is compelling enough to attract an audience for a Bible story that goes beyond faith-based moviegoers.
"This is pure cinema," says Fiennes. "I am foremost a lover of stories. The Bible is the most extraordinarily rich source of narratives, featuring the most beautiful stories ever written or handed down."Reminder: Easter Sunday is March 27th.