A sequel to Mel Gibson’s controversial and hugely popular Passion of the Christ is in the works, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rumours of the project had been circulating earlier this month,and other rumours of a prequel called Mary – Mother of the Christ have been around for years. But last week writer Randall Wallace confirmed he had begun writing a script for the sequel and said huge demand from the Christian community in the US formed part of his decision to take on the project.

The original movie focused on the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ, starting with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. Much of the film centres around the brutal treatment of Jesus as he makes his way to the cross. The film ends (no spoilers here for most of our readers, we presume!) with Jesus dying on the cross, being laid in a tomb and then, finally, rising from the dead and leaving the tomb into a new day.

Released in 2004, Passion of the Christ was produced and directed by Mel Gibson, a professed Catholic. It raked in over US$600 million at the global box office and the film still holds the United States record as the highest grossing film rated R (it was rated MA15+ in Australia, though the rating was controversial at the time, with many suggestion it should have been rated R).

“Subtlety is not a word in Mel Gibson’s lexicon, and he has made the most relentlessly violent film I’ve ever seen – horrendously violent,” said ABC’s veteran movie reviewer David Stratton in his review upon the film’s release.

The sequel is in such early stages that no other details have been released, but one can only assume it will look at the events set out in the Book of Acts: What comes after Jesus rose from the dead?

Other films have sought to fill in that story after the success of Passion of the Christ over 12 years ago. Risen, released earlier this year, was heralded as an unofficial sequel to Passion, following the investigation of a Roman centurion who is charged with proving Jesus’ resurrection is a hoax.

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