Actors Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson began development of a biographical film about Stuart Long, a former boxer who described himself as “quintessential anti-Christian” but who after a serious accident converted to Catholicism and was ordained a priest.
Father Long died of a degenerative muscle disease at the age of 50 on June 9, 2014 at the Big Sky Care Center in Helena, the capital of the state of Montana (USA).
According The Hollywood ReporterThe movie titled “Father Stu,” as Stuart Long was known, has been a Wahlberg project for the past six years.
Wahlberg has hired Mel Gibson and writer / director Rosalind Ross, Gibson’s longtime partner, for the biopic Father Stu. Ross has written the script and will be making her feature film directorial debut with Wahlberg playing the battered priest. Gibson would play Long’s father, while Teresa Ruiz, one of the stars of ‘Narcos: Mexico’, came on board to play his girlfriend, ”the outlet reported.
It was also noted that production on the film would have started in mid-April 2021, in Los Angeles.
The life of Father Stu
Father Stu was born in Seattle on July 26, 1963. When he was still a young child, the family moved to Helena, the hometown of his parents, Bill and Kathleen Long.
He began his elementary education at Central School in Helena and graduated from Capital High School in 1981. He began his college life at Carroll College in Helena, where he became a well-rounded athlete, playing football, training wrestling, and winning the title. heavyweight (boxing) from the 1985 Golden Gloves for Montana.
In 1986 he graduated from Carroll College after earning his undergraduate degree in English Literature and Writing.
Although he decided to continue boxing professionally, a reconstructive jaw surgery stopped his plans, and, at the suggestion of his mother, he moved to Los Angeles with the intention of dedicating himself to acting, another of his passions. However, he became disillusioned and then went to work at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, where he rose to become a manager, a position he held for seven years.
Despite studying at a Catholic college, Stuart Long was not a believer and even described himself as the “quintessential anti-Christian,” leading him to confront priests and peers.
However, a motorcycle accident, in which he was hit by two cars, was a turning point in his life. Being saved from death caused him to begin to discover his faith and what allowed him to be baptized as a Catholic in 1994.
Stuart Long felt a call to the priesthood when he was baptized and, to prove it, he left the museum in 1998 and taught for three years at a Catholic school in Mission Hills, California. He then went on to serve with the Capuchin friars in New York City, working in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.
The friars sent him to the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, to study Philosophy. After earning his master’s degree in Philosophy, he received his priestly training for the Diocese of Helena at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. He was ordained a priest on December 14, 2007 in the Cathedral of Santa Elena.
Stuart Long walked with the help of crutches during his ordination, having been diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, an extremely rare autoimmune disease that mimics the symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) for which there is no cure.
According to friends of his, he found his great love serving as a priest, administering the sacraments, and counseling the congregation.
In 2010, the diocese brought him home to Helena, where Father Stu began a new life and ministry at Big Sky Care Center, now using an electric chair.
Father Stu did charitable work in Helena parishes, willingly accepting pain and weakness. He celebrated Mass regularly at St. Mary’s Parish and Big Sky Care Center, in addition to traveling where requested.
On one occasion he commented that his illness was the best thing that ever happened to him, because it allowed him to shake off the pride he had felt for most of his life.