Liz Watts.

Producer Liz Watts will join See-Saw Films’ (Lion, The King’s Speech) Iain Canning and Emile Sherman to produce a biopic on the life of Mary Magdalene.

Set to begin shooting in Europe later this year, Watts (The Rover, Animal Kingdom, Little Fish) will produce Mary Magdelene through her Sydney-based production company Porchlight Films. Watts has previously worked with See-Saw on the company’s 2012 production, Dead Europe.

Garth Davis (Top of the Lake, Lion) will direct from a script written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett (How to Talk to Girls at Parties).

Rooney Mara (Carol, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is attached to play Magdelene and Joaquin Phoenix (Her, Walk the Line) is in talks to play Jesus.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Martian) is also in talks to play the apostle Peter and Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past) in talks to play Judas.

“It’s a great privilege to be a part of bringing the amazing and timely story of Mary Magdalene to the big screen,” said Watts.

“I am thrilled to be working with such an extraordinary cast and director Garth Davis, whose talent and work I’ve admired for years. And, of course, I’m delighted to be working once again with See Saw Films’ Iain and Emile.” 

Iain Canning said See-Saw was delighted to be working with Watts on the film. 

“She has the perfect mix of creative sensibility and production experience. Liz’s credits speak for themselves and we look forward to working with her on this unique project,” she said.

Universal Pictures International Productions (UPIP) is partnering with See-Saw Films to produce the biopic and will release the film in all international territories except Australia and New Zealand where it will be handled by See-Saw’s long time partners Transmission Films.

The Weinstein Company will release the film in North America in 2017. Film4 co-developed the film with See-Saw.

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