Remember that Passion of the Christ prequel that we all secretly knew was inevitable but didn't want to admit it? Well, according to Deadline, it's picking up some momentum. Just don't expect Mel Gibson to be involved in the project this time because the site is reporting that Sanctum director Alister Grierson is set to helm the "Biblical prequel," titled Mary Mother of Christ. It will be written by Passion co-writer Benedict Fitzgerald and Barbara Nicolosi, and it will be set up at Lionsgate Studios.

The movie will star Odeya Rush as Mary, and Julia Ormond and Peter O’Toole in unspecified roles. Rush is a 15-year-old Israeli actress, so that should give you a sense of just how young this movie will portray Mary as. One of the more interesting parts about the project is that TV preacher, and author, Joel Osteen has signed on as an Executive Producer.

This news really shouldn't come as much of a shock to anyone. The Passion of the Christ made over $600 million worldwide on a shoestring budget, so the studio knows there is an audience for this. However, Passion made such a big splash because of the controversy surrounding it, so it will be interesting to see if this film contains any elements that will spark that type of chatter at the water cooler. 

[via Deadline