Opus Dei founder film
Roland Joffé is directing a film about a very controversial figure, the founder of the Opus Dei group of the Roman Catholic Church.
At first glance that might not sound that exciting, but when you hear the tag lines that he sided with Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War and that he allegedly spoke positively about Adolf Hitler, then you can see why the film might have an impact, positively or negatively.
The controversies following the founder of the group, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, which are part of The Hollywood Reporter story, are denied by the church and were dismissed before the man was canonised as a saint by Pope John Paul II as simple slander and anti-church propaganda.
It looks like though that the film will be a more positive impact and cause the church and the sect a little less controversy than The Da Vinci Code (Filmstalker review) did in it's fictional portrayal of one of it's members. While you might think that Roland Joffé would produce something open, honest and rather dramatic, those behind the project might have another idea, you see one of the groups financing the film just happens to be Opus Dei.
The article has Roland Joffé saying that it isn't a propaganda film and that it has given the director all the space he wants to make it. Of course I would think that if the film began exploring the controversial claims and showing them as real then the group would be pulling their funding immediately. So true or not, the film is definitely going to avoid them or show them to be false.
The film is called There Be Dragons and stars Charlie Cox is playing the lead and the cast also includes Dougray Scott, Wes Bentley, Olga Kurylenko, Charles Dance, Derek Jacobi, Unax Ugalde, Lily Cole and Geraldine Chaplin. The blurb for the film goes something like this:
”A young journalist long ago rejected by his now aged and dying father finds himself investigating one of his father's former friends, a candidate for canonization. Uncovering the two men's complicated relationship from childhood through the horrors of the Spanish Civil War unveils a compelling drama filled with passion, betrayal, love and religion. An action packed story set during a murderous time in history that ultimately serves the present by revealing the importance and timeless power of forgiveness.”
Okay, sounds much more dramatic than factual, and definitely doesn't sound as though it's going to touch on the controversial and make him out to be the saint he was canonised as. Not knowing the real story I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do.