Oscar-nominee Rooney Mara becomes a follower of Joaquin Phoenix’s Jesus in a new trailer for Mary Magdalene. Garth Davis (Lion) directed the biblical drama from a script by Helen Edmundson (An Inspector Calls) and Philippa Goslett (How to Talk to Girls At Parties).

Mary Magdalene is billed as “an authentic and humanistic portrait” of the title character, a Jewish woman who according to the New Testament became a follower of Jesus and was present at his crucifixion and resurrection. The movie’s version of Mary Magdalene is a young woman who according to the official synopsis feels constrained by the hierarchies that dominate her world, and begins following the charismatic Jesus who is described as the leader of a “social movement.”

Rooney Mara’s lead performance is front-and-center of the new Mary Magdalene trailer released by Universal Pictures UK. Promising to tell the “untold story,” the trailer begins with Mary being shunned by her family, who believe she has a demon in her. She then meets Jesus as embodied by Joaquin Phoenix, a gentle soul who listens to her troubles. “If there’s a demon in me it’s always been there,” she proclaims. At which point, Jesus smiles and tells her there are “no demons here.”

rooney mara in mary magdalene Mary Magdalene Trailer: Rooney Mara Follows God

After being baptized by Jesus, Mary falls in with him and his disciples, including Peter played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. Not all the disciples are welcoming of Mary’s presence (Peter is apparently worried they’ll get a bad reputation if they let a woman tag along), but Mary doesn’t let the haters chase her away. As the group journeys toward Jerusalem, Mary comes to be aware of Jesus’ destiny (there’s a bit where the other Mary, Jesus’ mother, lays out some truth for the younger Mary) and by consequence her own. There is of course a certain tragic urgency to all this, because like Titanic, we know how the story ends. The trailer gives us only a small taste of what happens when the group makes it to Jerusalem and Joaquin Phoenix gets to drop the scruffy, smiling nice-guy Jesus routine and unleash some set-trashing fury on the money lenders.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser scored an Oscar nomination for his work with Garth Davis on Lion, another movie about a character embarking on a spiritual journey, and judging by the trailer it appears Fraser has created some similar visual magic with Mary Magdalene. The enigmatic, strong-willed Mary Magdalene might be the perfect character for Rooney Mara, whose work has been somewhat hit-or-miss since her Oscar-nominated breakthrough performance in David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Mary Magdalene is set for release on March 30th, 2018.

Source: Universal Pictures UK

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