Gallo's falling for 'Mary'

VENICE — Vincent Gallo will star in indie helmer Abel Ferrara’s “Mary,” an eclectic Bible-themed drama that Ferrara described as “a search for the heart of my religious upbringing.”

Gallo — whose racy “The Brown Bunny” is currently in theaters — will play two roles in the pic, one of them the star-director of a controversial film on the life of Christ.

“Mary” is centered on the character of a movie star who becomes obsessed with Mary Magdalene after playing the follower of Christ and former prostitute. Talks are ongoing for Sarah Polley (“Dawn of the Dead”) to take the female lead.

“I had been thinking about this project since way before ‘The Passion (of the Christ),’ ” said Ferrara, whose last pic was 2001 drama “‘R Xmas,” about a drug dealer.

“Mary” was announced in Venice by Ferrara and Bologna-based producers Massimo Cortesi, Roberto De Nigris and Andrea Gropplero, in what appears to be a bid to drum up some pre-sales. Gallo appeared in a live hookup from Los Angeles.

Script is by Ferrara and Simone Lageoles, who also worked on “‘R Xmas.”

Principal photography is scheduled to start in October in Rome, before moving to Jerusalem and New York.

Gallo worked with Ferrara on “The Funeral,” a drama about an Italian-American family.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more