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Italy not Malta location for feature film Mary, Mother of Christ

Mary Mother of Christ film posterMalta has lost out to Matera in southern Italy as the shooting location for the upcoming feature film Mary, Mother of Christ - the prequel to Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ.

The decision to change location was announced by the film’s producer Francesco Di Silvio.

It is said that the producers opted for a more attractive offer from a group of Italian financiers, who promised them millions of Euros on condition that they shoot in Matera.

Filming on the feature, which is being produced by Lionsgate Films, is due to start in June, it will be directed by Alister Grierson, based on a script by Barbara Nicolosi and Mary Aloe.

The role of a young Mary will be taken on by the Israeli-born Odeya Rush. Sir Ben Kingsley will star as the much feared King Herod the Great, who makes life extremely difficult for Mary, her young husband Josep and their new-born baby.

A spokesman for the Malta Film Commission reportedly said a lot of time and energy had been invested to attract the producers of the film to Malta.

"The negotiations were very positive to the extent that the local representative of the film had provisionally booked the use of Fort Ricasoli for filming.”

There is still a possibility that some scenes will still be shot in Malta. The island is known as a diverse film location and most recently has been used as a backdrop for Paramount Pictures’ World War Z, BBC drama film The Whale and Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks.

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