Francesca Pollio Fenton
Catholic News Agency

Oscar winner Martin Scorsese recently confirmed that a script for his new movie, “A Life of Jesus,” is now finished.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times on Jan. 8, Scorsese said he co-wrote the screenplay with critic and filmmaker Kent Jones and plans to shoot it later this year. The film will be based on Sh?saku End?’s book “A Life of Jesus.”

Scorsese said he envisions the film being about 80 minutes long, which would be one of his shortest films ever made, and will focus on “Jesus’ core teachings in a way that explores the principles but doesn’t proselytize.”

“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 organized religion,” Scorsese said.

“Right now, ‘religion’ — you say that word and everyone is up in arms because it’s failed in so many ways,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean necessarily that the initial impulse was wrong. Let’s get back. Let’s just think about it.”

In an effort to not “be locked into a certain period,” the film will take place in present day because the director wants “the film to feel timeless,” he explained.

The inspiration for the film came in May 2023 after Scorsese met Pope Francis at the Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination, a conference that brought together artists and creatives from across the world. After this meeting, Scorsese said, “I have responded to the pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus.”

Catholicism and religious themes have played a role in some of Scorsese’s previous works such as “Silence” and the controversial 1988 film “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

Scorsese was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic high school before attending a preparatory seminary for one year.

In an interview with La Civilta Cattolica on Dec. 9, 2016, he told Jesuit priest Father Antonio Spardo: “When I was younger, I was thinking of making a film about being a priest. I myself wanted to follow in Father Principe’s [his parish priest] footsteps, so to speak, and be a priest. I went to a preparatory seminary but I failed out the first year.”

Scorcese added that despite not attending Mass regularly, “my way has been, and is, Catholicism. After many years of thinking about other things, dabbling here and there, I am most comfortable as a Catholic.”

Martin Scorsese attends the National Board of Review 2024 Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on Jan. 11, in New York City. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for National Board of Review