A few years ago, after Ready Player One completed shooting, it was looking like Steven Spielberg was set to begin production on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. With Mark Rylance and Oscar Isaac attached, the story––adapted by Tony Kushner based on David Kertzer’s book––follows a secretly baptized Jewish boy in Italy who is kidnapped to be raised as a Christian, which ignites a larger political battle. After looking at thousands of actors to play the boy, he couldn’t find the right fit and the busy director turned to West Side Story instead, but it now looks like a legendary Italian director will provide his take.

Marco Bellocchio, coming off his impressive mob drama The Traitor, will adapt the story from different source material, Variety reports. Scripted by the 81-year-old Italian auteur and Susanna Nicchiarelli (Nico, 1988), their version will be based on first-hand documents, including diaries and court records. Titled La conversione (The Conversion), production is looking to get underway about a year from now in Bologna, Rome, and other European locales.

“Marco Bellocchio’s take on such a complex historical narrative will be that of an artist with an agnostic approach,” said RAI Cinema chief Paolo Del Brocco, who is part of the producing team. “What he’s interested in is the mystery of conversion, which originates in a terrible violence perpetrated towards a child. A violence that is due to religious fanaticism based on the idea that in the name of religion you can do anything.”

No more articles