I have been hearing for a couple years now that Martin Scorsese was getting ready to direct a film version of Shusaku Endo’s Silence. And according to my sources at the Huffington Post, it will begin shooting at the end of the year. Liam Neeson will reprise his role as a Jesuit and Andrew Garfield will shed his spidey costume for a black robe. What if we capitalize on the Jesuit charm that seems to be sweeping the globe (Thanks, Pope Francis!) and delve into more movies about Jesuits. Luckily you have me, avid moviegoer and lover of creating “what if” scenarios.
Bio- World War II biopics seems to come out every year and there were a number of Jesuits who served in World War II as soldiers, marines, or chaplains. I think for this film we want to tell the story of Pedro Arrupe. For those of you know Fr. Arrupe no introduction is necessary, for those of you who don’t know him, no introduction is possible. He was in Nagasaki working at the Jesuit novitiate when the bomb went off and he turned the novitiate into a makeshift hospital. As the head of the Jesuits in the 60s and 70s he helped guide them through the Post-Vatican II era with grace and a reclaiming of our mission. He even got a Time Magazine cover out of the deal. I suggest the great Paul Giamatti for the starring role.
Romantic Comedy- A Jesuit RomCom? Yes! It’s perfect. This is a movie about two young professionals (Emma Stone and Chris Pine), attending monthly workshops to learn more about Ignatian Spirituality (like all the cool kids do). There is of course an older Jesuit (ohh let’s say Karl Malden) who leads the workshops and is secretly trying to connect these two. The working title is Weekends with Iggy.
Sports Movie- Based on a true story: The Game of Change. There are already books and a documentary, the movie is just begging to be made. It is about Loyola University Chicago playing Mississippi State in the semi-finals of the 1963 NCAA basketball championship. Loyola was starting African American players and the Mississippi State team had to sneak out of the state in the middle of the night to play the game. It’s very dramatic and exciting. I suggest Michael B. Jordan and Danny DeVito for starring roles.
Sci-Fi- JESUITS. IN. SPACE!!! Thanks to Mary Doria Russell there is already a great book to base this movie on: The Sparrow. There was talk of a movie, now there is talk it might be on TV. This could have an all star cast which may or may not include Liam Neeson again. He’s already been to Paraguay and Japan as a Jesuit, why not space?
I could go on and on but I will not bore you with the inner workings of my imagination. Playing the “what if” game is the best way for me to get my creativity flowing. It’s fun to imagine what can be (I watched a lot of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood growing up). These movies will probably never be made, so while you’re waiting for Silence, check out “The Mission”, “On the Waterfront” or the original Angels in the Outfield. I also love movies because they allow us to get a glimpse of another life “what if I was a Jesuit missionary in Japan?” or “What if I was a cop who had to go undercover as a Kindergarten teacher?”. Movies allow us to consider more deeply who we are and the possibilities of our lives.