Joaquin Phoenix Rumored to Play Jesus in Mary Magdalene Film

Actor Joaquin Phoenix arrives on the red carpet for the gala presentation of the film 'The Master' at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, September 7, 2012.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix arrives on the red carpet for the gala presentation of the film "The Master" at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, September 7, 2012. | (Photo: Reuters/Mark Blinch)

Veteran actor Joaquin Phoenix is rumored to play the role of Jesus Christ in a film centered on Mary Magdalene.

The Oscar-nominated Phoenix is being eyed for the part, according to a recent story by Ali Jaafar of Deadline Hollywood.

"A deal is still some way off being done, with scheduling believed to be one concern, but if this goes down it would be a clear statement of intent from the filmmakers about the kind of film they're trying to make," reported Jaafar.

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"Playing Jesus could offer a defining moment for the versatile and unpredictable Phoenix. He doesn't necessarily invoke – physically at least – some previous seminal portrayals such as Jim Caviezel in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, but Phoenix does certainly possess the acting chops and intensity to bring the character to life."

Jaafar also noted that if casted in the part, Phoenix's involvement in the film project "indicating an edgy, decidedly indie take on the greatest story ever told."

"It is set to be an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history," continued Jaafar.

Phoenix has played the lead role or a prominent supporting in such notable films as Gladiator, Her, and the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

While Phoenix is still a rumored casting choice, the movie's lead role of Mary Magdalene has already been confirmed as going to Rooney Mara.

Films of note in Mara's acting résumé includes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, and most recently the critically-acclaimed Carol.

In the 2015 film Carol, Mara played a 20-something woman who has a same-sex love affair with a married older woman in 1950s New York.

"As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change," reads the description.

"Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage."

Mara received an Oscar nomination for her performance in Carol, which as a film accrued a total of six Academy Award nominations.

This is not the first major role in recent times that Phoenix was rumored to be eyed for. Last year, Phoenix quelled rumors that he was going to play the titular role in the Marvel Comics film Doctor Strange.

"Considering the kind of movies that Phoenix has starred in and the characters he's played, it's not surprising that he doesn't wanted to be molded into what a hands-on studio like Marvel wants to do with the character," reported

"As an actor, Phoenix merely wants the freedom to develop the character as his own and not have any interference from executives trying to fit the character into a larger overall plan. Therefore we're not likely to see Phoenix take on a blockbuster role anytime soon."

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