Actors Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson are teaming up for a new biographical movie filled with grit, faith, and redemption.
The movie titled Father Stu has been a project of Wahlberg's for the past six years, according to The Hollywood Reporter's exclusive story. The actor wanted to make a movie about the boxer-turned-priest's life after he died almost seven years ago.
Father Stuart Long described himself in his early years as "anti-Christian" and was passionate about sports, but not about his faith.
He later said he was an angry young man while attending college and turned to boxing to channel that anger. His career in the sport was short-lived however due to a broken jaw, so he moved to Los Angeles to try to become an actor.
"God was working behind the scenes. He was within me but I was outside," Father Stu said in retrospect, quoting St. Augustine.
Then Long's life took a turn for the worst. He was involved in a horrible motorcycle accident in which he was hit by one car and run over by another. According to reports, while recovering at the hospital, he had an out-of-body experience which led to a spiritual rediscovery if his faith. After regaining his health, Long attended the Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Completing his studies, Long gave the rest of his life to God, working at the parish Legion of Mary in Monrovia, California. He died in 2014 at the age of 50 after he was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, an incurable disease.
The California Catholic Daily said, "Father Stu flourished, absorbed with the love of Christ and graced with a desire to share it; he brought the faith to others."
Both Wahlberg and Gibson are professed Catholics. The pair formed a friendship when Gibson was hired to play Wahlberg's father in the 2017 comedy Daddy's Home 2, according to MovieGuide.
Wahlberg will portray Long in the new movie and has reportedly gained 30 pounds for the role. Gibson will play Long's father.
Gibson's longtime partner writer-director Rosalind Ross wrote the script, and the film will mark her directorial debut.
Production of the movie began last month in Los Angeles.
Gibson is known to Christians all over the world for producing, co-writing, and directing the feature film "The Passion of the Christ" which was released in 2004 and starred Jim Caviezel. The film took in more than $612 million at the box office. It is the highest-grossing Christian film of all time.