Review of Christian Bale to Star in New Regency’s The Church of Living Dangerously

Daljit Kalsi

According to Deadline, New Regency has successfully acquired the film rights to the Vanity Fair article written by David Kushner titled, The Church of Living Dangerously as well as the life rights to the article’s subjects John Lee Bishop and his son David. The studio is currently in the process of developing the film adaptation, with acclaimed scribe Charles Randolph attached to pen the script.

Oscar-winning actor Christian Bale has also officially signed on for the leading role in the upcoming biopic drama and is also set as a producer. This marks the 47-year-old actor’s latest collaboration with New Regency after recently wrapping up production on David O. Russell’s star-studded untitled film. It also serves as a reunion between Bale and Randolph who previously worked together on Adam McKay’s biopic dramedy The Big Short.

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First published in 2019, David Kushner’s Vanity Fair article The Church of Living Dangerously explored how one of America’s biggest pastors, John Lee Bishop, became a drug runner for a Mexican cartel. Bishop, who came from a difficult childhood that involved him being subjected to violence at a young age, became a preacher of The Living Hope Church, which at its peak was able to grow into a massive congregation large enough to fill an 8,500 square foot former K-Mart superstore in Portland Oregon.

Described as a natural showman, who would bring exotic animals to the pulpit during his sermon, he became an instant hit at the congregation which resulted in him quickly amassing quite a large amount of wealth. However, this would soon lead to the start of his downfall as he would turn to alcohol and painkillers in response to not being able to handle his wealth. When he found about his son David’s addiction to meth and heroin, he tried an unconventional method of intervention by insisting on taking the drugs with him in order to understand the power the drugs held over his son.

Ultimately, the result wasn’t beneficial to both of them as Bishop would also develop the same addiction to the drugs which led him to the path of smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel. However, after 20 transactions, he was caught and was sentenced to five years in prison.

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The film will be executive produced by Randolph, Kushner, and Margaret Riley, with The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith Vein and Eric Robinson set as producers.

In addition to the untitled David O. Russell film, Bale will also next be seen Marvel Studios’ highly-anticipated Thor: Love and Thunder, portraying the villain role of Gorr the God Butcher

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