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Jonathan Demme is set to tackle the world of evangelical ministers with the film Come Sunday and is enlisting Robert Redford to play the late Oral Roberts.
The film, which will be financed and produced by Endgame Entertainment (Looper), chronicles the true story of Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical minister in Tulsa, Okla., who stirs up controversy with his revelation that there is no hell. He loses everything and must rebuild his church and his family and find his own personal faith. Jeffrey Wright (Quantum of Solace) is in talks to take on the starring role of Pearson.
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Roberts, an early pioneer of TV evangelism who reached millions of followers worldwide over more than six decades, served as Pearson’s mentor. Redford, whose recent credits include the superhero pic Captain America: The Winter Soldier and J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost, is in discussions to tackle the supporting role of the controversial minister.
The project, formerly titled Heretics, was originally set up at Endgame in 2010 as a directing vehicle for Marc Forster, who will be involved as an executive producer. After seeing little action for years, Come Sunday was resurrected thanks to Demme’s interest.
Marcus Hinchey (All Good Things) wrote the screenplay, which is based on a This American Life broadcast that originally aired in 2005.
The project is being eyed for a spring 2015 start, leaving Demme room to squeeze in another film first.
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Endgame’s James D. Stern is producing Come Sunday alongside This American Life‘s Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp. Color Force’s Brad Simpson, who was involved in the project when Forster was developing it, is executive producing.
Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith are overseeing the project for Endgame.
Redford is currently filming Ken Kwapis‘ A Walk in the Woods opposite Emma Thompson.
He is repped by WME and attorney Barry Tyerman.
Demme is handled by WME, LBI Entertainment and attorney Michael Adler.
Wright, who recently appeared in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Only Lovers Left Alive, is represented by CAA.
Hinchey is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Stephen Galloway contributed to this report.
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