Hollywood producer eyes sequel to 'Passion of the Christ'

Eight years after watching the phenomenal success of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", Hollywood promoter and producer David Wood remains steadfast to a vision that he credits to God – the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ told by way of a major motion picture.

Gibson's movie depicted Jesus' final 12 hours of his life, but alludes only briefly to his resurrection at the end.

Wood plans to produce what some in the Christian filmmaking community and beyond believe will be "God's sequel" to the film, depicting the events surrounding the resurrection and the 40 days that followed.

"The Resurrection" will be unique in many ways, he told The Christian Post on Monday.

"The real power of Christianity is the risen Jesus," Wood, 49, said. "Even though we all know that Christ went to the cross for our sins, it's really the power of him resurrecting, which is the power of who we as Christians truly are. This second story is about this. It's a story about love and hope. This is a much more positive story."

In addition to producing "The Resurrection", Wood, who is a 30-year veteran in the filmmaking and promotion industry, has another vision perhaps even more stunning. He plans to finance the film through a Christian community of believers before any creative talent for the movie has been hired, including any script writers.

"What God has shown us is that we are doing this in the opposite spirit of Hollywood. Normally, you go and raise the money from your investors. You get a script. You hire everybody to get you into production. You shoot your movie and do your sound and editing, and then you market it for five to six months, and then it's released in theatres and DVDs and so forth," Wood said.

"What God is showing us to do this time is that we needed to put a leadership team together that could steward this (project) because it is so sensitive and it needs to be done God's way," he explained. "We are actually starting the marketing first. So, the game plan for the coming months and the rest of the year is letting the Christian church and the world know that this movie is coming."

After wrapping up the 4-day Kingdom Economic Yearly Summit (KEYS) in Los Angeles which featured a network of Christian leaders in the movie and promotional marketing industries, Wood told CP he was ready to talk about "The Resurrection Project" for the first time to the media.

Wood said that the response at KEYS to the idea of a grassroots marketing campaign within the Christian community was further affirmation that it was time to talk about the movie and surrounding project.

"We believe that Mel did a great job with 'The Passion' getting the church united. This is the next way of globally getting the church all on one page because the church is kind of like a sleeping giant and it needs to wake up. This is a world that needs hope and love, and that is what God and Jesus are all about," he said.

Wood said he and a 5-member team serving as executive directors are not only asking typical, high-finance investors to help raise $40 million for the movie, but people simply interested in making "the most important movie this century, maybe ever".

Plans to help stimulate interest in the movie include a way for Christians entering the film project's website to become a "Spiritual Producer".

A Spiritual Producer is described as an individual who has donated a minimum of $25 or more to the not-for-profit, pledged to pray for the Resurrection Project, spread the word via Facebook, Twitter or other means, and perhaps committed a serious capital investment in the project with a financial return.

Taking the interactive theme of the film's fundraising phase even further, Spiritual Producers will have the opportunity to "participate in the screenplay process by submitting ideas for the script, helping select the actors, and appointing world class screenwriters, producers, and cast members to shoot the movie in Israel".

In addition to helping finance the movie there is another option for those interested in the project.

"We are open to ministries that want to come partner with us," Wood said. "Organisations that see how 'The Resurrection' could be used as promotional materials or a workbook that would help their ministries as well as come alongside us as the movie is getting made."

He said his team plans on hiring the best in all areas of film production once the money is raised.

"Once this momentum gets to a peak we believe God will tell us to hire a writer and get this scripted. We don't even know who the writer is yet. We are really trying just to do what God is telling us to do and it sounds really crazy, but it's what we believe is the right way to do it," Wood said. "We plan on marketing the film for a year-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years before shooting it and releasing it. It's a new way of doing movie making."

The distribution of the film will also be unique. Wood said that on the opening weekend of the movie, it will not only be shown in movie theatres, but will also be streamed live to churches, homes, schools, and all computer-type and hand-held devices around the world.

"The whole world globally is going to see this movie all on the same weekend," Wood said. "This way we are not locking into a studio system or a Hollywood system that typically, unfortunately takes advantage of filmmakers."

Although Wood says he has been "steering" the film project, he admits that his ambitious plan needs more than just the help of the four other executive directors.

"God has used me to bring these people together. It's just five crazy Christian believers that feel like this movie needs to get made. This isn't being controlled by man. It needs to be controlled by God. It's the only way that this is going to work properly," he said. "I've always felt that we needed a catalyst. A movie of this nature can be the catalyst to get people talking and getting them encouraged, and focusing on what we all agree on about the major stuff, and focusing on that instead of the minor things. That is the real heart of me getting involved – can this get people excited about God, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? "