Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg is set to star in a faith-based movie, titled Stu, based on the life of Fr Stuart Long, who prior to becoming a priest was an athlete with no time for religion.
Rosalind Ross, Mel Gibson’s partner, has written the script and will make her feature directorial debut on the project. Wahlberg will produce the film along with partners Stephen Levinson and Jordan Foss.
The film is very close to Wahlberg’s heart. In 2016, the Entourage actor announced that he was working on a script for a film based on Fr Long, who he described as “an amazing priest from Helena, Montana”.
“He was a very tough guy who was a fighter, a football player…anything but a spiritual guy,” Wahlberg said.
“He found his calling, and decided, after falling in love with a woman, that he wanted to become a priest.
“He suffered from this horrible muscular degenerative disease but was still ordained as a priest and passed away, but not before he inspired thousands upon thousands of people.”
Fr Long died of muscular degenerative disease at the age of 50 in 2014.
A graduate of Carroll College in Helena, Montana, Fr Long was an all-round athlete, playing football, coaching wrestling and winning the 1985 Golden Gloves Heavyweight title for Montana in boxing.
However, his athletic career was ended by surgery and he turned to acting, but became disillusioned and began working at a museum.
Despite studying at a Catholic college, Fr Long was not a believer and even described himself as the “quintessential anti-Christian” who antagonised priests and fellow students.
However, a motorbike crash which left little hope for survival led him to explore his beliefs and resulted in him being baptised a Catholic in 1994.
Fr Long was ordained a priest at the cathedral of St Helena in 2007. He was walking with the aid of crutches during his ordination after being diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, a rare autoimmune disease, during his time in seminary.
Picture: Mark Wahlberg.