Infamous Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, 64, known for such sordid films as Basic Instinct and Showgirls, has undergone a conversion and now will be writing a new film on Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Eszterhas has been one of Hollywood’s most influential screenwriters, writing lucrative blockbuster films, such as Flashdance, Jagged Edge, and Basic Instinct, and raking in million-dollar paychecks. Known for living the full ‘Hollywood lifestyle’, Eszterhas gave it up to move home to Ohio with his wife and children in the late 1990s.
In 2001, faced with throat cancer resulting from his smoking and alcohol addictions, which threatened to kill him, Eszterhas turned to God in desperation.
"Seven years ago, I sat down on a curb near my home, sobbing, and asked God to help me," he writes in a September 2008 Washington Post article. "I cried and begged God to help me … and He did. I hadn’t prayed since I was a boy. I had made fun of God and those who loved God in my writings. And now, through my sobs, I heard myself asking God to help me … and from the moment I asked, He did."
God, he says, cured him of his disease, but, more than that, He gave him the strength to turn away from his worldly life and back to the Catholic faith. "Not only did He give me the strength to be able to defeat my addictions," he wrote, "He saved my life. My throat surgeon … told me seven years after the surgery that I am ‘cured.’ Not that I am in remission, but that I am cured. … My life has turned inside-out. I have stopped my excesses and replaced them with prayer and long walks. I am carrying the cross as often as they’ll let me at Holy Angels Church in Bainbridge Township, Ohio. And I have written a book as a thank-you to God. Not just for saving my life, but for saving me."
Eszterhas shares his story of conversion in his 2008 book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith .
This summer it was revealed that Eszterhas will be writing the screenplay for a new movie about Our Lady of Guadalupe. He is calling it a "labor of love," and has indicated that he had been "hoping for some time to write a film that is both entertaining and inspiring."
The Guadalupe story is indeed inspiring, especially for those concerned with the defense of human life in our day. The Catholic Church has declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the official patroness of the unborn.
Appearing miraculously on the cloak of a young Aztec peasant, St. Juan Diego, in 1531, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is credited with inspiring the conversion to Christianity of some 9 million natives from a violent pagan religion that gloried in human sacrifice.
The film, currently unnamed, will be produced by Mpower Pictures, the company founded by The Passion of the Christ producer Steve McEveety. The company was launched with the film Bella, winner of the 2006 People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
According to McEveety the film should be made because of the significance of the Guadalupe event. "Guadalupe changed the course of history for the indigenous peoples of Mexico," he said. "It had a transformative effect on their culture, and especially their faith."