Hollywood after Christian projects
Making a foray into the faith-based arena, Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment is producing “Risen –The Story of the First Easter.”Hyde Park has hired scribe Paul Aiello to pen the script, which will center on the apostle Peter in telling the story of the time between the resurrection of Jesus and the Pentecost. Hollywood, hoping to repeat the success of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” has been aggressively pursuing Christian-themed projects. Twentieth Century Fox has gone so far as to create the Fox Faith label. Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s the Weinstein Co. is also making a determined play. “Risen” does not yet have a distributor, although Hyde Park has a deal at Fox. Generally speaking, Hyde Park has turned out mainstream studio fare, including the upcoming Sandra Bullock starrer “Premonition,” which Sony opens Friday. Past pics include “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story,” “Bringing Down the House” and “Raising Helen.” Amritraj said the time is right for faith-based entertainment considering the chaotic state of the world. “And then secondly, clearly, I think there is a commercial marketplace and need for movies that have hope and values,” Amritraj told Daily Variety. “It’s a big deal for us.” Hyde Park intends to pursue other such projects. Producers of “Risen” are Amritraj and senior VP of production Patrick Aiello. Other upcoming pics from Hyde Park include James Wan’s “Death Sentence” and David R. Ellis’ “Asylum.” Paul Aiello, brother of Patrick Aiello, has several scripts set up at other studios, including “Bumper to Bumper” at Fox.