It’s quite incredible to think that an actor of Jeffrey Wright’s caliber has yet to be nominated for the highest honor in the film industry, the Academy Award. He’s been recognized by the Emmys, the Tonys, and the Golden Globes, winning trophies in all 3 cases. But an Oscar nomination (forget about the “winning” part), which would complete his march towards E.G.O.T., has eluded him thus far.
Maybe this will be the role that finally puts him squarely in Academy voters’ sights, whenever it’s eventually completed and released in theaters.
It certainly has the makings of a potentially award-attracting project, given the story, as well as the other talent involved.
Mr Wright is in talks to play renowned Tulsa, OK evangelical minister Carlton Pearson, who stirred up controversy some years ago, with his revelation that, essentially, there is no hell. Branded a heretic by his peers in 2004, Pearson would eventually lose almost everything, and would have to fight to not only rebuild his church, but also his family, as well as find and establish his own personal path.
Tentatively titled Come Sunday (it’s also known as Heretics), the film will be directed by a filmmaker who’s no stranger to acclaim himself, Jonathan Demme, from a script penned by Marcus Hinchey.
Also, Robert Redford is in talks to play Oral Roberts in the film – the connection there being that Pearson attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, where he was mentored by Oral Roberts.
Pearson’s life story was the subject of an episode of the Chicago Public Radio program This American Life that was first broadcast on December 16, 2005. The episode, titled “Heretics,” is also the real-life account that the screenplay will be based on. Below you’ll find the “Heretics” episode of This American Life embedded below for you to listen to.
Endgame’s James D. Stern is producing Come Sunday alongside This American Life’s Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp.
Color Force’s Brad Simpson is executive producing. Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith are overseeing the project for Endgame.
A spring 2015 production start date is eyed, for what will likely be a late 2015 release, if only for Oscar eligibility. Of course it’s all just speculation on my part.
Wrigh recently appeared in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Only Lovers Left Alive.
Catch up on Pearson’s story below:
The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of Hell, and with it everything he’d worked for over his entire life.
© 1995-2014 Chicago Public Media & Ira Glass