Martin Scorsese has confirmed that his new movie about Jesus will film later this year.
The 81-year-old director announced last year that he had a project in the pipeline about Christ after meeting Pope Francis and has now revealed that the screenplay is complete and production is scheduled.
Scorsese told the Los Angeles Times newspaper: "I'm trying to find a new way to make it more accessible and take away the negative onus of what has been associated with organised religion."
The 'Killers of the Flower Moon' director has revealed that the picture will only be 80 minutes long – a far cry from the lengthy runtimes of his recent flicks – and is to focus on the principles of Jesus' core teachings.
Scorsese said: "Right now, 'religion', you say that word and everyone is up in arms because it's failed in some ways.
"But that doesn't mean necessarily that the initial impulse was wrong. Let's get back. Let's just think about it. You may reject it. But it might make a difference in how you live your life – even in rejecting it. Don't dismiss it offhand. That's all I'm talking about."
The legendary filmmaker explained how the movie will reflect what several of his previous projects have attempted to achieve.
Scorsese said: "I tried finding it with 'Kundun' and 'The Last Temptation of Christ', even 'Gangs of New York', to a certain extent, ways into redemption and the human condition and how we deal with the negative things inside us.
"Are we decent and then learn to become indecent? Can we change? Will others accept that change? And it really is, I think, a fear of society and culture that's corrupted because of its lack of grounding in morality and spirituality. Not religion. Spirituality. Denying that."
He added: "It's finding my own way in a... if you want to say the term 'religious' sense, but I hate to use that language, because it's misinterpreted often. But there's a basic fundamental belief that I have – or I'm trying to have – and I'm using these films to find it."