Oscar winner Christian Bale is attached to star in a feature adaptation of David Kushner’s Vanity Fair article The Church of the Living Dangerously, which concerns a drug-smuggling preacher.
New Regency has acquired the movie rights to the 2019 article and hired Oscar winner Charles Randolph (The Big Short) to write the script. Bale will produce the film with New Regency as well as Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson of The Gotham Group, while Randolph and Kushner will executive produce alongside Margaret Riley.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that Bale will play John Lee Bishop, who survived a difficult childhood — his uncles forced him to fight other kids in the neighborhood for their amusement — and became the pastor of a Portland megachurch, which at its peak boasted a congregation large enough to fill a former K-Mart superstore that was converted into The Living Hope Church.
Bishop was a natural showman who would bring exotic animals to the pulpit with him, and he quickly became quite wealthy, though he didn’t handle it well, and soon developed an addiction to alcohol and painkillers. His own son, David, developed a meth and heroin habit, and in an effort not to fail his son, and better understand the power the drugs held over his boy, Bishop began taking the same drugs as well.
Eventually, he began smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel, though he was busted after 20 runs across the border, and upon conviction, he was sentenced to five years in prison. New Regency‘s deal includes the life rights of both Bishop and his son, who helped save his father’s life.
Bale most recently starred in Ford v Ferrari, Vice, and Hostiles, though he just wrapped David O. Russell‘s star-studded New Regency movie and he’ll soon be seen as Gorr the God Butcher in Taika Waititi‘s Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder. He’s also set to star in Scott Cooper‘s Netflix film The Pale Blue Eye, which marks his first producing credit. The Welsh actor won an Oscar for The Fighter and was also nominated for American Hustle, The Big Short, and Vice, so the Academy clearly loves him, and The Church of Living Dangerously could very well bring him a fifth acting nomination if Russell’s latest film doesn’t do it first. Bale is represented by WME.
Randolph shared an Oscar with Adam McKay for writing The Big Short, and he also wrote Jay Roach‘s sexual harassment drama Bombshell. He’s repped by CAA and Lighthouse Management & Media.