A movie adaptation of author Anne Rice's novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, which follows Jesus' life as a young boy, is set for theater release a week before 2016's Easter Sunday.
"I know I'm one very controversial author, but my novel Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt has a special place in my heart. And I'm profoundly grateful for the large audience of Catholics, Protestants and others – that has embraced the book over the years," Rice wrote on her Facebook page.
The Hollywood Reporter announced on Thursday that Focus Features will release the movie, based on the 2005 best-selling book, the Wednesday before Easter Sunday. The plot depicts the life of a 7-years-old Jesus and his struggle with being the son of God.
Focus Features chief Peter Schlessel, who acquired the U.S. rights to Christ the Lord while running FilmDistrict, arrived at Focus earlier this year, bringing the distribution rights with him.
A film based on Christ the Lord had previously been envisioned for a 2015 release, before it got pushed back.
In a 2013 interview, Rice told The Christian Post that the directors "have shown great sensitivity and concern for biblical and theological accuracy in their screenplay."
"Frankly, I think that Christians are going to be thrilled with this movie," Rice told CP. "They will see the Jesus of faith portrayed in fictional situations that are all entirely realistic for the times. This is new, I think, presenting the Lord accurately theologically but in new fictional situations. I think it's going to be wonderful," she added.
Rice, most famous for her Vampire Chronicles series, has written two fictionalized books on the life of Christ, including the sequel to Out of Egypt, titled The Road to Cana.
The author wrote the books after she rejoined the Roman Catholic Church in 1998.
She disagreed with some of the church's doctrine, however, including the rejection of same-sex relationships, and has since left organized religion.
"In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life," Rice says in a 2012 video explaining her decision.
She has further said that she continues to believe in a 'Higher Power," but wonders about its nature:
"Is it a personal higher power with emotions that cares about us personally? I hope so. But do I know that that's what's out there? No I don't. Do I pray to this Higher Power? Yes, I pray every day. I pray at morning, I pray at night, I pray all during the day."
After a decade-long break, Rice announced the next book in her Vampire Chronicles series, titled Prince Lestat, which is slated for an October release.