In a move that is surely going to get everyone involved with the project a first class ticket to Heaven, a biopic of Mother Teresa is in the works. Titled I Thirst — really, if they had gone with I, Thirst it would have made the I, Frankenstein comparison jokes so much easier — the biopic isn’t so much a look at the charitable nun’s life from birth to death, but rather a focus on her rise to notoriety in Calcutta during the 1950s.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta after hearing a call from the Lord to start helping the poorest citizens of India. Naturally, one doesn’t ignore a message from God when they receive it, so she got to work right away tending to the sick and needy. The film will center upon this portion of her life, when she started the order. Making a movie about this time will prove to be an important undertaking for the filmmakers involved; at the time of Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, the order had expanded into a legacy of over 4,000 sisters running a network of orphanages, hospices and shelters, and the Mother herself won the Nobel Peace Prize for her endeavors in 1979.
Though a director and a leading lady to portray a young Mother Teresa are still needed, the script should be in good hands, penned by Oscar-nominated Hotel Rwanda writer Keir Pearson. In addition to the sensitive material presented through Hotel Rwanda, Pearson is also responsible for another biopic of a beloved social figure, Cesar Chavez, with the upcoming Chavez under his belt; tackling Mother Teresa’s story shouldn’t be a problem for this writer.
I Thirst will be the first film about the beloved and revered Mother. According to producer Tony Kranz, it’s also the only authorized film in the works, getting a seal of approval from the Mother Teresa Center and her estate. Kranz said that Pearson will be traveling to India next month to finish research for the film, and begin writing shortly thereafter. The film will also include interludes about Mother Teresa’s personal life, such as her “crisis of doubt,” and will not focus on Catholicism — it’s about the woman, not her religion.
Honestly, though, it sounds a little hard to make a film about arguably the world’s most famous nun and not mention Catholicism every once in awhile. I suppose it’s all about having a little faith in the film’s direction.