Pontius Pilate, like Benedict Arnold after him, lived in a time of great political and social unrest. Big things were happening, many sides were battling against each other, feelings were running deep, and tempers were flaring. Each was faced with a fateful decision that forced them to choose which side to come down on, which warring faction to appease, and in the end the decisions they made were so poor that they didn’t just make them failures or losers, they made them into history’s most despised villains, the sorts of names who will never be forgotten due to their infamy.
Bad for a guy like Pontius Pilate, sure, but a dissection of the political and religious turmoil that led to his decision of whether or not to authorize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ sounds like it could make for a really good movie. Or, at least, that’s what Warner Bros has been hoping ever since they bought Vera Blasi’s script for the period drama Pontius Pilate. By all accounts Blasi’s script is rich, complicated, and full of character, which would suggest the title role is going to require not a movie star like most big budget period pics, but a real actor capable of giving a rich, nuanced performance. The good news for Pontius Pilate is that it looks like it might be getting both.
According to Deadline, Brad Pitt is currently circling the role of Pontius Pilate, and is looking likely to sign. Though comparing something like changing the way baseball is played to deciding whether or not to crucify the purported son of God is pretty extreme, Pitt did show in Moneyball that he was able to play the role of the conflicted guy in charge—making decisions that a large group of people were vehemently against—and play it well. One can easily imagine him furiously munching on grapes and olives, right before he makes the decision to wash his hands and leave the final judgment up to the people. If a name this recognizable and an actor this proven signs on for the title role, surely we’ll be hearing a whole lot more about Pontius Pilate in the near future. Which one of Pitt’s regular collaborators do you think could sign on to direct?