Sony Pictures picked up the international distribution rights for the biopic Father Stu, setting an Easter theatrical release date. The movie follows the real-life story of boxer-turned-priest Stuart Long, with Mark Wahlberg playing the lead role.
The film will follow the life of late Stuart “Stu” Long, a man who started a prolific boxing career before giving up everything to answer God’s call. The biopic stars Mel Gibson as Stu’s father, making it the second time Wahlberg plays his son, after the comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2. Narcos: Mexico star Teresa Ruiz is also on board as Long’s girlfriend, a sign that the upcoming biopic will thoroughly explore the former-boxer life before priesthood.
While the plot details of Father Stu remain a mystery, Wahlberg has been trying to make the film happen for years. Back in 2016, when the film was still in its early stages of development, Walhberg said that Father Stu:
“He was a very tough guy who was a fighter, a football player…anything but a spiritual guy. He found his calling, and decided, after falling in love with a woman, that he wanted to become a priest. He suffered from this horrible muscular degenerative disease but was still ordained as a priest and passed away, but not before he was able to inspire thousands upon thousands of people.”
While David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) was initially set to direct, Wahlberg was so impressed by Gibson’s longtime partner Rosalind Ross’ work on the script that she also took the helm of the biopic. Ross makes her directorial debut with Father Stu. Father Stu is produced by Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, and Jordon Foss and executive produced by Miky Lee, Colleen Camp, Patrick Peach, and Tony Grazia.
Before starring in Father Stu, Wahlberg is set to appear with Tom Holland in Uncharted, a movie adaptation of the popular video game franchise of the same name that premieres on February 18. Wahlberg was nominated twice at the Academy Awards, in the Best Picture category for producing 2011’s The Fighter and in the Supporting Actor category for 2007’s The Departed.
Father Stu will hit theaters on Good Friday, April 15, an appropriate Easter release considering the religious theme of the biopic. Since Father Stu opens on the same weekend as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the biopic could face some fierce competition. However, both movies shouldn’t dispute the same audience, which might allow the biopic to succeed commercially.
Check Father Stu’s official synopsis below as well as its first image.
God needed a fighter, and He found one. Father Stu is based on the true-life story of boxer-turned-priest, Father Stuart Long, whose journey from self-destruction to redemption inspired countless people along the way.