Christian Bale To Play Drug-Smuggling Preacher In ‘The Church Of Living Dangerously’

Christian Bale has found the latest role to lose himself into. The Oscar-winner has signed on to play a drug-smuggling preacher in The Church Of Living Dangerously, a feature adaptation of David Kushner‘s Vanity Fair article.

New Regency acquired the film rights to the article back in 2019, but progress has been slow since. Charles Randolph – who won an Oscar for co-writing The Big Short with Adam McKay, which also starred Bale – has been hired to pen the screenplay. Bale will also produce the film with Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson of The Gotham Group.

Bale will play John Lee Bishop, who survived a difficult childhood – his uncles often forced him to fight other kids in the neighborhood for their own amusement – to eventually become the pastor of a Portland megachurch. Bishop was a natural showman who would bring exotic animals to the pulpit with him, and he quickly became quite wealthy.

However, his new riches soon meant he developed an addiction to alcohol and painkillers, while his own son, David, developed a meth and heroin habit. In a misguided effort to not fail his son, and to try to better understand the power the drugs held over his son, Bishop began taking the same drugs as well.

This eventually led to him smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel, before being busted after 20 runs across the border. Upon conviction, he was sentenced to five years in prison. New Regency’s deal reportedly includes the life rights of both Bishop and his son, who helped save his father’s life.

It’s a stranger-than-fiction true story tailor made for a feature film. Bale has become famous for drastically changing his appearance for roles, and this one should also allow him to once again disappear into someone unrecognisable from himself.

Bale just wrapped production on another New Regency movie – David O. Russell‘s star-studded, untitled project which boasts a cast that also includes Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, and Robert De Niro.

He’s also on board to play Gorr the God Butcher in Taika Waititi‘s Thor: Love And Thunder, while he will also re-team with director Scott Cooper, who previously directed him in Out Of The Furnace and Hostiles, for Netflix film The Pale Blue Eye.


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