Most actors will tell you it’s often more challenging and rewarding to play the villain. As far as hated figures go, it’s hard to top Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who sentenced Jesus Christ to death. Rumors have Brad Pitt interested in the lead role for a Warner Bros. project that would tell us more about Pilate. Vera Blasi (Woman On Top) has penned a script that Warner is eager to get to the screen.
The movie would follow Pilate from childhood, through his time in the military and of course taking him up to the moment he’s famous for. How much do we actually know about Pilate? Blasi cites the facts from Roman and Jewish history books of the period, as well as the four gospels. Honestly, Hollywood and historians can’t agree on the facts from historical figures as recent as John F. Kennedy. Watching Biblical scholars falling over each other to point out the errors may be equally as entertaining as the movie.
It will also be interesting to see who lands the meaty roles of Jesus and Barabbas, the criminal whose life Pilate spares at the crowd’s request. Pilate then washed his hands and told the angry mob Jesus’ death was their responsibility. There’s no Oscar bait there, however. I’m sure the movie will show Pilate dealing with the horrible consequences of sentencing an innocent man to death. In the Bible, Pilate looks like he’s trying to get out of this mess. Even he probably didn’t think the events unfolding in front of him would still be discussed 2,000 years later.