With Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” generating a great deal of advance publicity and tracking indicating a big 5-day opening weekend, it’s no wonder that another spiritually-focused film is moving towards production. FilmJerk.com has learned from its sources that James Redfield’s “The Celestine Prophecy,” a bestseller that spent more than 3 years on the <i>New York Times</i>’ bestseller list, has gained financing from Barnet Bain Films (1998’s “What Dreams May Come”) and is now looking to cast its lead actors for a late March principal photography start in Los Angeles and Ocala, FL. Armand Mastroianni, a veteran of television movies and series, has been tapped as director.
Described as a New Age thriller/adventure that crosses “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with Moses’ trek up Mt. Sinai, the movie focuses on John Woodson, a skeptical and burned-out teacher that goes to Peru in search of ancient scrolls rumored to offer a solution to the world’s massive ills. There, he meets an ensemble of clerics, researchers and adventurers— all of whom are searching to comprehend the prophecy’s meaning and to locate a final as yet undiscovered scroll which provides the ultimate understanding.
In August 2003, Redfield posted on his CelestineVision website that the screenplay was finished and that the production was meeting with potential investors. As he said then, “[W]e are seeking attachments from various actors, and budgeting the script. We are excited! Stay tuned; there is more to come soon.”
It looks like no actors have yet signed on to the project, as producers are now looking to cast several of the lead roles, including:
- John Woodson: A high school history teacher with a vague sense of mission, he deeply intuits something that keeps him restless and unable to commit, yet he has the character and personal conviction to honor his impulses. As described in the casting documents FilmJerk.com has obtained, the character is described in his mid-thirties, as well as “bright, charming and still single, as well as single minded.”
- Marjorie: In her mid to late 20s, Marjorie is a high strung beauty with inquisitive eyes. A post-grad student in anthropology at the University of Southern California, she is a translator of ancient documents.
- Julia: A supporting lead, the 40ish Julia teaches in the anthropology department at USC. Her life is described as being full, “creatively, spiritually and personally.” Happily married for 4 years, her single regret is that she is unable to have children.
- Wil: A true adventurer in his 50s, Wil is an outdoorsman, guide and spiritual seeker. When he sets his attention on something, it is laser focused and virtually to the exclusion of everything else, including personal relationships.
- Sanchez: A philosopher priest who lives in the mountains among the Indians. He’s a mystic and teacher, described as being able to convey deep spiritual truths with graceful clarity.
“The Celestine Prophecy” has sold nearly 12 million copies in print in more than 40 languages worldwide, according to the author’s site. It was also named in 2001 by the Times’ readers as the favorite in the area of spirituality/philosophy of all time.
In addition to Redfield, Barnet Bain and Terry Collis will produce the film. As of this time, the film does not yet have a distributor.
Producers: Barnet Bain, Terry Collis, James Redfield
Director: Armand Mastroianni
Casting Director: Andrea Stone
Start Date: Late March
Location: Los Angeles and Ocala, Florida
Production Company: Celestine Films/Barnet Bain Films