An Israeli teenager will portray the Virgin Mary in a prequel to “The Passion of the Christ.”
Odeya Rush, 15, will star next to the likes of Ben Kingsley and Julia Ormond, playing the biblical character at the ages of 8, 15 and 19. The film, “Mary, Mother of the Christ,” is penned by “Passion” writer Benedict Fitzgerald. Mel Gibson, who famously directed the first installment, will have no hand in the production. Instead, Alister Grierson will take on the director role.
Odeya was born in Haifa but moved to the US at the age of 9, earning roles in television series like “Law and Order” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
The teenager said she was initially reluctant to accept the part, afraid it might contain anti-Jewish content, charges “Passion” faced after its premiere.
"On the contrary," she told Ynet, "the film emphasizes the suffering inflicted on the Jews by the Romans in those days. It is very exciting for me."
In March, it was announced that Odeya would also play a young Angelina Jolie in a film adaptation of Sleeping Beauty.
J-Connection: Odeya Rush is an Israeli-born Jew, falling right in line with Jesus' Jewish lineage.