The sheer breadth of Christian Bale’s dramatic range is truly astonishing – and that’s before we take his physical transformation into consideration. Hollywood’s most versatile thespian has played Patrick Bateman, Bruce Wayne / Batman, Melvin Purvis, Dicky Eklund, Dr Michael Burry, fucking Moses… But as New Regency acquires the film rights to the incredibly factual Vanity Fair article written by David Kushner, The Church Of Living Dangerously, Christian Bale is now on track to undertake his wildest (and most fascinating) role yet: charismatic pastor turned drug smuggler, John Lee Bishop.
“He looked like Sammy Hagar, preached like Billy Graham, and brought a 350-pound tiger to church,” reads an excerpt of the Vanity Fair article.
“Then he shot heroin with his son and was busted at the border for running drugs for a Mexican cartel.”
According to Deadline, here’s a quick summary of who Christian Bale will soon portray (potential spoilers):
John Lee Bishop emerged from a rough and tumble childhood to become pastor of The Living Hope Church, which became so big at his peak, that it filled an 8,500 square foot former K-Mart superstore in Portland Oregon. A natural showman who would bring exotic animals for a sermon on Noah’s Ark, and once almost got mauled by a Bengal tiger he brought to the pulpit, Bishop became wealthy as the star performer. While the church catered to lost souls with the theory anyone could be forgiven, Bishop didn’t handle the affluence well and his parishioners would not forgive him when the married preacher was caught in an affair with a church employee, and for a raging painkiller and drinking problem. Bishop’s son, David, who developed a meth and heroin habit, and the preacher found a perplexing method of intervention. Bishop had a terrible childhood, subjected to bare knuckle fight club matches with other kids organised by his uncles for their amusement. Determined not to fail his son, Bishop insisted on taking the drugs with the youth, to understand their power over him. That led to Bishop’s road to smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel. Caught at the Mexican border after 20 runs, Bishop was convicted and sentence to five years behind bars.
The Church Of Living Dangerous will be written by the Oscar-winning Charles Randolph, who earned the coveted gold statuette alongside Adam McKay for adapting The Big Short, as well as having recently penned the Fox News + Roger Ailes sexual harassment drama, Bombshell.
New Regency and Christian Bale himself, along with Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson of The Gotham Group, have signed on as producers. Charles Randolph, David Kushner, and Margaret Rile will serve as executive producers. Incidentally, Bale has just completed a “mystery film” under the New Regency banner, helmed by David O. Russell (The Fighter, American Hustle) and co-starring John David Washington as well as Australia’s own Margot Robbie.
To find out more about what The Church Of Living Dangerously starring Christian Bale will actually involve, check out the original Vanity Fair article here – release date and trailer to come.