Martin Scorsese about to start making new film about Jesus

Director Martin Scorsese attends the premiere of 'Silence' in Hollywood, California on Jan. 5, 2017.Reuters

(CP) Award-winning director Martin Scorsese says he will make another movie about Jesus, a remark made during a conversation at the Vatican.

"The Goodfellas" director, who identifies as Catholic, visited Pope Francis at the Vatican last weekend during his tour of Italy following the premiere of his new film "Killers of the Flower Moon" at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The 80-year-old filmmaker also participated in a conference organized by the Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University featuring dozens of poets and writers, according to La Civiltà Cattolica editor Antonio Spadaro. The conference was titled "The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination."

"I have responded to the Pope's appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus," Scorsese said during the meeting, according to multiple reports. "And I'm about to start making it."

According to Spadaro, Francis offered a word of encouragement to the writers.

"This is your work as poets, storytellers, filmmakers, artists: to give life, to give body, to give word to everything that human beings live, feel, dream, suffer, creating harmony and beauty," Francis said, according to a tweet from Spadaro. "Will they criticize you? All right, carry the burden of criticism, also trying to learn from criticism. But still, don't stop being original, creative. Do not lose the wonder of being alive".

Representatives for Scorsese told The Guardian that they couldn't offer additional information about the movie at this time.

Scorsese and his wife, Helen Morris, held a brief private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican before attending the conference.

In speaking at the conference, Scorsese reportedly referenced his own films and offered personal anecdotes. Spadaro wrote on his publication's website that Scorsese spoke of "how the Holy Father's appeal 'to let us see Jesus' moved him."

Scorsese also reportedly expressed admiration for Pier Paolo Pasolini's 1964 movie "The Gospel According to St. Matthew." He also spoke of his own 1988 film, "The Last Temptation of Christ," which starred actor Willem Dafoe as Jesus.

The famed director also explored religion in his 2016 drama "Silence," which focused on the persecution of Jesuit Catholics in 17th-century Japan. Scorsese previously met Francis during a screening of the film in Rome.

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