Lion director Garth Davis' sensitive portrayal of Mary Magdalene has hit a roadblock because of Harvey Weinstein.
Barely a month after he wrapped on the Oscar-nominated film Lion, the Australian director began the intense work telling one of the oldest stories of all time.
The ambitious film rewrites history to position Mary Magdalene as an apostle of Jesus.
But the film has been left without a distributor in the US after the recent bankruptcy of The Weinstein Company following the countless abuse allegations against the studio's head, Harvey Weinstein.
"Look at the movie's poster, 'her story will be told', how's the irony?" Davis told AAP in Sydney while promoting the film.
Mary Magdalene, produced by See-Saw Films, will be released in Australia and across Europe but a North American release is still uncertain.
"I mean we can't lose this battle. I would hate this film not to be shown in North America because of Harvey. I think that's a tragedy," Davis said.
"The producers are working at it. I think two days ago we thought the sale was going ahead but overnight, Emile (Sherman.- producer) told me the sale has fallen over. It's a very tricky situation. It's a nightmare but they're working hard at it."
The film covers a weighty subject and Davis approached it with the utmost sensitivity and care. With actress Rooney Mara in the starring role as Magdalene and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ, Davis made the focus of the movie the spirituality within.
"I wanted to make sure the film was very human and relatable and in some ways, what we're saying is, divinity is within us, we have to go inside to find God, not up to a temple or a church. It's in us," he said.
Having been brought up without a religion, Davis had his own cross to bear.
"Trepidations set in because people are going to think I'm a fake. I'm not religious myself," he said.
"I had to go through a process of understanding what the writers had been through in terms of their research and their collaborations with religious people and Jewish experts, and I realised the wealth of support they had from academics, experts supporting us through all the process," he said.
He says it feels like the right time to tell Magdalene's story, a time when he says the "patriarchy is shivering".
"When we were making it all these things started to unravel, it was weird. Like Pope Francis acknowledged Mary, created a feast day in her name, and then Harvey's whole thing played out and the #MeToo campaign and it did feel a little bit like divine intervention," he said.
"In some ways I've got to be like Mary and have faith and not waiver. But I do believe this film will have a long life and be appreciated for a long time."
*Mary Magdalene releases in Australia on March 22
Australian Associated Press