Focus Features has set an Easter 2016 release for “Christ the Lord,” which goes into production in September in Italy.

The project, which has been in development since 2011, will open on March 23, 2016.

Ocean Blue Entertainment, CJ Entertainment, Echo Lake and East West Bank are financing.

Cyrus Nowrasteh, who directed and wrote “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” is directing the project from a script that he wrote with his spouse Betsy Nowrasteh. The story follows young Jesus as he comes to discover his real identity and the truth surrounding his birth.

“Christ the Lord” is based on Anne Rice’s best-selling novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.” Published in 2005, the book takes place while Jesus is 7 and 8.

Enzo Sisti is executive producing and Francesco Frigeri, who worked with Sisti on “Passion of the Christ,” is the production designer. The movie will be shot at Cinecitta Studios in Rome and on location in Matera, Italy.

FilmDistrict, which was absorbed into Focus last fall, acquired the U.S. rights to “Christ the Lord” in June, 2013, with plans for a 2015 release.