Religious material is frequently viewed as controversial in film, but it can also be very successful in its appeal to a devoted audience. Now we have our first look at a new movie about the most famous female follower of Jesus. Mary Magdalene stars Rooney Mara as the title character and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter. it also contains Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus himself. Check it all out in the trailer below.

The story sets up Mary Magdalene as a woman who gets rejected by her family, for reasons not made clear here. However, after crossing paths with Jesus, he welcomes her and she begins to follow him. This doesn't seem to sit entirely well with the other apostles, led by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter, who have a problem with a woman taking what they see as an important place next to such an important man.

While the focus of the story is Mary Magdalene, it's impossible not to take notice of Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus. While the actor has been nominated for Academy Awards three different times, in recent years he has been involved in much more offbeat projects, such as the man who falls in love with a computer in Her and the mockumentary I'm Still Here which followed the actor's apparent attempt to break into the rap music business. It's a pretty significant leap from that to something like portraying Jesus on the cross, but yet, here we are. Can't say he doesn't look the part.

Joaquin Phoenix Jesus

Religious material always runs the risk of being controversial and considering that this movie will follow a relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, this one has more potential than others. At the same time, as The Passion of the Christ showed, that same material could draw in massive audiences if done in a way that appeals to them. Mary Magdalene looks to be trying to be more Passion than The Last Temptation of Christ, though probably with less graphic violence than the Mel Gibson movie.

One thing is for sure and that's that Mary Magdalene has a phenomenal cast. While Joaquin Phoenix may not have made a movie quite like this in a while, there's no arguing that he's got the skill to pull it off. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rooney Mara are also some of the best in the world at what they do. It's somewhat surprising that Mary Magdalene is set for a March release, as a cast like this would make you think they were aiming for awards consideration. The film will arrive in US theaters on March 30, 2018.

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