Brad Pitt, the heart throb actor and companion of actress Angelina Jolie, is rumored to play one of the most vilified figures in history in a film to be helmed by award-winning director Ridley Scott. Pitt will play in the role of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who sentenced Jesus Christ to torture and crucifixion. The big-money project has been undertaken by Warner Brothers and with a screenplay by Vera Blasi, who wrote the book for Woman on Top starring Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. So far, no director has been named, according to reports.
Reportedly, the story centers on the transformation of Pontius Pilate as the sensitive son of a Roman officer into fierce warrior. Despite promises from his superiors to name him governor of Egypt as thanks for his martial prowess, Pilate is instead assigned by the emperor Tiberius to serve as prefect of Judea: a difficult post with a fractious Jewish population. Roman rule was opposed by the Jewish people, especially the Zealots who hoped for a Jewish king who would lead Israel to freedom, while others accommodated themselves with the Latin occupiers.
The film takes the story of Pitt as Pontius Pilate to the moment at which he is assigned to Judea, where he is expected to make difficult and catastrophic decisions that would lead ultimately to the crucifixion of Jesus. Also depicted in the film as personages such as John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and the emperors Caligula and Tiberius. The 49-year-old Pitt will play Pilate as a "capable Roman soldier [who] gets in way over his head."
Pitt thus returns to a swords and sandals drama, reprising his role as the warrior Achilles in the movie Troy. The new project has yet been named and will add to the long list of Pitt’s films, which include Malevolent Bastards and A River Runs Through It. This year, Pitt will star in World War Z, a zombie flick directed by Marc Foster that will be released in June. In addition, he will appear in The Counselor, a film by award-winning director Ridley Scott, paired with Penelope Cruz. The screenplay was written by Cormac McCarthy, who wrote the novels on which The Road and No Country for Old Men were based.