Camilla Belle starring in MGM/Aloe's 'Mary'
Film also features Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Peter O'TooleMore Berlinale coverage
In a bid to attract the same faith-based moviegoers that made "The Passion of the Christ" a smash in 2004, Aloe Entertainment is producing "Mary, Mother of Christ," which MGM will release in spring 2010.
Camilla Belle, who is onscreen in "Push," which opens Friday, has been cast as Mary. Jonathan Rhys Meyers will take on the double role of Gabriel and Lucifer, while Peter O'Toole is set as Symeon, who meets Mary and her family in the temple shortly after Jesus' birth.
The filmmakers are seeking Al Pacino and Jessica Lange for the respective roles of Herod and Anna the Prophetess.
Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti ("The Lake House") will direct the film, scheduled to begin shooting in May in Morocco with production partner Dune Films. Benedict Fitzgerald, who co-wrote "Passion," wrote the "Mary" screenplay with Barbara Nicolosi.
Mary Aloe and Rodrigo Berlanga are producing. The executive producers are Mike Dolan, Mauricio Sanchez and James Volk.
Media 8 Entertainment, which is debuting the project in Berlin at the European Film Market, will handle international sales and distribution.
Although New Line recently told the story of Jesus' birth in "The Nativity Story," released in December 2006, to modest boxoffice returns, Aloe said of her project: "This is not a Christmas movie. This is a part of Mary's life that has never been shown on the big screen before. It takes us through Mary's youth, young love, her life as a new mother and the triumph through the absolute terror of Herod the Great's reign. It is truly a story of real female empowerment."