Naked feet dangle beside a beam. Nails are hammered through a heel bone. Agonized screams. The camera glides upward, showing a naked man on a cross. It zooms out, and we see that three men, and not just one, have been crucified. The camera moves back until we see ten naked people on two hundred crosses., which line the winding road to Sepphoris. The city is in flames. Roman soldiers lead men, women, and children out of the burning metropolis and into slavery. We are in Galilee. It is 4 B.C.
We shift to the middle of Sepphoris, where Roman soldiers are pillaging the town and raping the women. A Jewish girl, no older than sixteen, hides inside a house. Her family has been brutally slain. A Roman soldier finds her and rapes her. The girl’s name is Mary…Then there is a sudden cut, and we see Jesus at the age of thirty.
Verhoeven’s book rarely contains passages like this, wherein he describes his vision of his long planned film about Jesus Christ. Mostly, Verhoeven shares his research and thoughts on the true history of one of the world’s most famous and mysterious people. Jesus of Nazareth is interesting to read, but a small pittance when compared to the possibility of the film. Here’s hoping Verhoeven will still manage to make it someday.