Mark Wahlberg is looking to get back into the ring for his next feature film role. Well, for at least part of the story.
As reported by Deadline’s Justin Kroll, Wahlberg will play Father Stuart Long in the film titled Stu, which follows the life of a Montana boxer who retired from fighting due to injuries and was later in a serious motorcycle accident. Long eventually decided to become a priest.
Yet before he was ordained, Long was diagnosed with a rare muscular degenerative disease that forced him into a wheelchair. Despite those struggles, he followed through on his ambitions and Long’s ministry developed a following among thousands of people.
According to Kroll, Stu (other reports have the title as “Father Stu“) is being developed as a faith-based film that’s been a passion project for Wahlberg. As far back as 2016, Wahlberg was working on the film with director David O. Russell, with whom he worked on previous movies including Three Kings, I Heart Huckabee’s, and The Fighter. An opening in his schedule this year motivated Wahlberg to finally get this film made.
Wahlberg is going with a first-time director for the project, however. Rosalind Ross will direct the film based on her script, which she’s reportedly worked on with Wahlberg for years.
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, Ross has become a popular writer among actors including Reese Witherspoon and Mel Gibson based on her unproduced script Barbarian, which tells the story of the British Celtic Iceni Tribe uprising led by warrior queen Boudica against the occupying Roman Empire. Barbarian was named to the 2016 Black List of unproduced screenplays producers and executives like the most.
Ross is also writing Black Sam for Casey Affleck’s production company. That script is based on the true story of Samuel Bellamy, considered the Robin Hood of pirates in the 18th century, freeing slaves and stealing from the wealthy to give to the poor.
Production on Stu is expected to begin in April.