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STIGMATA

About The Production
"I had always been intrigued by the idea of a member of the Vatican who would be involved in pursuing those events that can't be explained in the world," says producer Frank Mancuso, Jr

"I had always been intrigued by the idea of a member of the Vatican who would be involved in pursuing those events that can't be explained in the world," says producer Frank Mancuso, Jr., who has guided such recent films as Species, Ronin and Hoodlum to the screen. "It was kind of a funny coincidence that I would meet with Rupert Wainwright about another film I was planning only to find that he had something of his own that was closely linked to this idea."

Wainwright, an acclaimed commercial and music video director who had also directed the features The Sadness of Sex and Blank Check, had been tracking the availability of Tom Lazarus's script for some time as it came in and out of turnaround.

"I was fascinated with the idea that it was a deeply religious story about someone who wasn't religious, an unbeliever who is touched by religion in a most powerful and disturbing way," says Wainwright.

The potent combination of down-to-earth characters facing dangerous, unexplainable manifestations appealed to the filmmakers. Wainwright and Mancuso were determined to keep its supernatural elements grounded in reality yet aware of the mystery surrounding one of the world's most enduring religious institutions: the Roman Catholic Church, centered in the Vatican in Rome.

"We wanted to focus on the life of this girl and how the unexplained phenomena in her life makes no sense to the Catholic Church, yet intrigues its emissary whose religion defines only a portion of who he is," Mancuso notes. "After all, this woman is experiencing the wounds of Christ - the stigmata - yet she is not a religious person herself as all stigmatics have been."

Stigmata - bleeding wounds of the head, hands and feet that mirror the wounds of Christ on the cross - have appeared over the centuries on the bodies of deeply religious people all over the world. They have remained unexplained phenomena. But one thing has always been true: they appear only on the bodies of believers. In Stigmata, Frankie Paige has no religious affiliation, only the carefree swagger of a young woman who confronts the world head-on.

"There is very little research existing on stigmata," observes Wainwright, who extensively studied not only stigmata, but the origins of the Catholic church, the Bible and the history of Jesus in preparation for the film. "But the existence of the Roman Catholic Church and its impact on the world is profound. We are talking about an institution that has lasted longer than any empire in the history of civilization. It has lasted three times longer than the Roman Empire, twice as long as the longest Chinese dynasty. If we were to take on such a provocative subject, we decided we owed it to ourselves to be detailed and organized in our research."

Several experts in the field of early religion were brought in to help fill in the blanks regarding religious phenomena, including priests who had assisted in actual exorcisms as well as academics versed in the ancient history that surrounds the awakening of today's modern religions.

"There were a number of people who we enlisted for help in these areas," Mancuso reflects, "from Catholic priests to people who have experienced bizarre things in their own lives, all of whom led us to better inform ourselves on the reality of our film."

Mancuso notes t

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