Story by: Jack Foley
A GROUP of Franciscan friars, from New York, are so impressed
with Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ, that they have
petitioned the star to direct a film biography of the orders
founder, Saint Francis of Assisi.
Over 40,000 hits have been registered on the Franciscan Friars
of the Renewal's open letter and respectful petition
to Gibson, while more than 8,000 readers have filled out the online
petition at www.franciscanfriars.com
The group, headed by Father Glenn Sudano, and consisting f 82
friars in the Big Apples metropolitan area, posted the petition
after seeing The Passion.
They believe it would be a natural sequel, and feel it is high
time that a realistic portrayal of Saint Francis is committed
Commenting on perceptions of the saints, at present, Father Glenn
said: "They dip these people in plaster. They are much more
powerful, more interesting, more engaging, much more human."
The group believes that Gibson could do for saints, what his
directorial skills did for the memory of Christ, given the world-wide
success of The Passion of The Christ, which has grossed more than
£200 million in North America, since its release on Ash
Wednesday, and looks set to eclipse Titanic as the most successful
film of all-time.
The open letter goes on to praise Gibsons extraordinary
work of sacred art and asks him to produce a sequel
which would show the world what happens when a person totally
and unequivocally responds to the Passion of the Christ!
Father Glenn went on to accuse previous films of reducing Saint
Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, to a
These include Franco Zeffirellis 1972 film, Brother Sun,
Sister Moon, which, he claimed, neutered and reduced
Saint Francis and made him into something of a hippie, and
Francesco, in 1989, which cast Mickey Rourke in the lead. Father
Glenn merely dismissed that portrayal as not even a near
Father Glenn is currently seeking an audience with an associate
of Gibson, to discuss the project, but is also keeping his options
open, especially since there has been no immediate comment from
"My hope is that it raises the issue," Father Glenn
he continued, with regard to getting a proper Saint Francis biopic
in cinemas. "If Mr Gibson chooses not to do this, maybe there
will be a Polish director or whatever - that's why we have the
letter and petition in different languages. We just want someone
to do it right."
The open letter can also be read in Italian, German and Polish.