Academy Award winning Director Martin Scorsese has officially apologized for his contentious 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ, saying that he regrets ever doing it and that he should never have taken on such project. The movie, which was not based on the Bible but on a 1955 book of the same name by Greek Author Nikos Karantzakis, was banned in many countries and angered many Christian Fundamentalists for its controversial depiction of Jesus as being confused, wrestling with his identity and even helping the Romans to crucify Jews, also featured nudity and sexual content.
In an interview with the magazine Hollywood Insider, Scorsese had this to say concerning the controversial movie in which Willem Dafoe played Christ:
“I read the book and I initially thought that it would have been great to make a movie based on it. Being on a controversial novel, I knew that I would have gotten people to come out to see it. I deliberately included the nude scenes, the sex scenes and the scene in which the Magdalene, played by Barbara Hershey, spits in Jesus’ face. The funny thing is that Willem actually enjoyed Barbara spitting in his face and was quite excited when we had to do twenty retakes. Later on he secretly confessed to me that he found Barbara’s spitting on him quite a turn on.”
“Personally, I don’t find the movie blasphemous in content because the book of the same name is just based on a theory. And that is exactly what the movie is based on - a theory. That’s why I placed the disclaimer before the opening credits stating emphatically that it was not based on the Gospels. That said, there was always the possibility that Christian Fundamentalists would have been offended by it and unfortunately that was precisely what happened and for that I definitely have my regrets and I now know that I should have never done that film in the first place. I am so sorry."
He ended the interview by saying:
“Perhaps that film is proof that God does in fact punish people when they mock him because in my fifty year film-making career I have only managed to win one lousy Oscar for Best Director despite being nominated nine times.”