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'Passion' play pumps video.

Holy Batman!

Although Christian Bale is being measured for his "Batman Begins" utility belt, it wasn't long ago that he was fitted for a crown of thorns.

In 1999, Bale starred as the Son of God in the Hallmark Entertainment production "Mary, Mother of Jesus," originally broadcast on NBC.

Seeing an opportunity in the publicity surrounding Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," sales shingle American Home Video bought video rights to "Mary, Mother of Jesus" and retitled it simply "Jesus." A poster of Bale bearing the cross is now displayed outside the company's offices at the AFM.

"We let Mel Gibson do our trailers," a company spokesperson says. "So far, he's done a great job. We might use him again."

However, a key selling point for "Jesus," she says, is "It can offend nobody. This is a particularly tasteful version."

How appropriate that the opening day of the AFM fell on Ash Wednesday.

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Title Annotation:The Second Coming Of 'Jesus'; The Passion of the Christ
Author:Harris, Dana
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:154
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