Michael Sheen’s Passion Play is reborn on Easter in new film from MirrorMask director Dave McKean.
Fitting that Easter is the date of rebirth for WildWorks Theater Company‘s Passion Play starring Michael Sheen; the film version- titled “The Gospel of Us”- captured and realized by director Dave McKean– premieres Easter night 2012 in the actor’s home town of Port Talbot.
The contemporary retelling was envisioned as a spectacle event by Sheen, inspired by Passion Plays of his youth. The unique events that made up the performances took place in various public locations, culminating in a massive crucifixion scene.
“As the original story of The Passion had many different versions, many different depictions of the same events, all the various gospels, so too did the events in Port Talbot last Easter,” Sheen told BBC News Wales last year. “The mobile phone cameras were everywhere. Each one recording its own gospel. There’s a book about it, documentaries, a feature film, sound recordings, paintings and interviews. We want to bring it all together for an exhibition this Easter, one year on.”
The Passion of Us: The Gospel of Port Talbot is a visually stunning project documenting a unique version of The Passion story. Culled together from over 12 hours of live performance footage taken from a three day Easter festival in Port Talbot last year, the film features actors Michael Sheen and Bill Mitchell, and is a collaboration with the Wildworks Theatre. The film is an anachronistic, even anarchic vision that seeks to take the figures, events, and themes of The Passion and center them in a humanistic way all. The film is certain to provoke and challenge its audience, as well as to evoke a strong emotional reaction.
Dave McKean describes the film:
“The film was shot during last year’s Passion in Port Talbot live three-day theatrical event created by Michael Sheen and Bill Mitchell. We could only have small discreet cameras and not get between the action and the audience. The limitations were many, and we had to approach it guerrilla style. Around 10,000 people came to witness the final procession and crucifixion. I spent 8 months cutting down around 12 solid hours of drama to the 2 hours final running time. It is a secular, contemporary reading of the Passion story, told by the audience as much as by me or Michael. It’s my interpretation, my ‘gospel’ of what happened.”
This certainly sounds to be intriguing to say the least. No exact word on when the movie will be seen in the US, but subscribe to the blog here- we’ll let you know the minute there’s news!
Dave’s directorial feature debut, MirrorMask, was for the Jim Henson Company and Sony Pictures. The film, which was released in 2005, was a collaboration with acclaimed fantasy author and comic book writer Neil Gaiman. McKean is currently finishing work on a full-length film titled Luna, which will reunite him with MirrorMask star Stephanie Leonidas– watch for news here on this as well, we’ll be presenting some special artworks- and equally special guests- from all three McKean films- MirrorMask, The Passion of Us: The Gospel of Port Talbot, and Luna– at our booth at San Diego Comic Con this July!
FOR INFORMATION ON ORIGINAL ARTWORKS FROM DIRECTOR DAVE McKEAN PLEASE CONTACT gallery at centuryguild dot net.
Stills from The Gospel of Us: (click to enlarge)