Spielberg/Rylance Reteam For Third – And Most Controversial – Film


Judaism vs. Christianity, and Roman Catholicism is the bad guy.

After a career defined by sentiment – even in his most grueling historical portraits – director Steven Spielberg‘s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara will tackle a true story of religious conflict and oppression from 19th Century Europe.

Variety describes The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara as follows:

  • The story of a young Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy in 1858 who, having been secretly baptized, is forcibly taken from his family to be raised as a Christian. His parents’ struggle to free their son becomes part of a larger political battle that pits the Papacy against forces of democracy and Italian unification.

From the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Kertzer, the script will be adapted by Tony Kushner. He also wrote Spielberg’s Lincoln and Munich. Given Kushner’s politically-charged background as a Tony Award winning playwright (Angels In America), not to mention his chilling Munich script for Spielberg, I would expect this story to swing punches, not pull them.

This will also mark the third collaboration for Spielberg and Mark Rylance, following 2015’s Bridge Of Spies (for which Rylance won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor) and this summer’s upcoming children’s fantasy The BFG.

Here, Rylance will play none other than Pope Pius IX. He was the pontiff who, incidentally, convened Vatican I. That was the council at which the tradition of papal infallibility was elevated from the status of doctrine (church teaching) to dogma (divine revelation).

Production for The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara will begin in early 2017, after Spielberg has wrapped production on the sci-fi dystopian thriller Ready Player One.

Mortara will be released later in 2017, just in time for that year’s Oscar race.


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