Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson to Star in New Film About Boxer-Turned-Priest Fr. Stuart Long
This sounds awesome!
Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson will star in a movie about Fr. Stuart Long, a late priest of the Diocese of Helena in Montana. Wahlberg will portray Fr. Stu, while Gibson will portray the priest’s father, Bill Long. Wahlberg will partially finance the film.
Fr. Stuart, or “Fr. Stu” as many called him, was a boxer, actor, teacher, and museum manager before he discovering his call to the priesthood.
Upon facing death after hit by a car, Fr. Stu said he had a “religious experience” in the hospital and later converted to Catholicism. He realized his call to the priesthood during his baptism.
Fr. Stu entered seminary in 2003 and was ordained a diocesan priest in 2007.
“His conversion is phenomenal, from being an agnostic troublemaker to having a mystical encounter with God,” friend of Fr. Stu and Helena Diocese priest Fr. Bart Tolleson told CNA. “Then, he decided to become a priest.”
While in seminary, doctors diagnosed Fr. Stu with inclusion body myositis after removing a fist-sized tumor from his hip. The rare inflammatory disease causes muscle damage and weakness. The disease caused the slowing down of his body, even at his 2007 ordination.
“That cross of his disease was the most powerful way to serve people,” said Fr. Tolleson said.
“He was tireless in his service and the Lord gave him many beautiful gifts, of counsel, of providing the sacraments. He was fearless even though he was limited.”
Fr. Stu died in 2014 at the age of 50.
Filmmakers told the Diocese of Helena, as well as Bill Long (Fr. Stu’s father) that the movie will “do honor” to the late priest.
“It certainly will take liberties with the story, but it will get interest in his life, and that alone is a good thing,” Fr. Tolleson explained. “It’s a great story.”