Benedict FITZGERALD - Screenwriter, Producer (1949-2024)


Benedict Fitzgerald co-wrote the screenplay for 2004 blockbuster THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST with it's director, Mel Gibson. The film, financed entirely by Gibson, turned into the most successful independent motion picture in history!


Budget $30.000.000

Opening weekend $83.848.082

Gross (US & Canada) $370.782.930

Gross (World) $612.054.428

Release date

Feb 25, 2004 (United States)

Nominated for 3 Academy Awards (Oscars). Another 31 wins & 21 nominations


© 2019 Olimpia 


Benedict worked in 2019 as a Consulting Producer on the new CBS-Show EVIL for fall which is one of the most successful shows for CBS. Creators are Michelle and Robert King ("The Good Wife"). The show follows a skeptical psychologist (Katja Herbers from HBO´s "Westworld"), a priest in training (Mike Colter from Netflix's "Luke Cage") and a contractor as they investigate possible miracles, demonic possessions and other unexplained phenomena. 


As son of famous American poet, critic and translator Robert Stuart Fitzgerald whose renderings of the Greek classics like Homer's The Odyssey and The Iliad became standard works in USA for a generation of scholars and students, Benedict first began to write what he thought were screenplays when he was in university (Harvard, class of 1971) that was when his interest in cinema took root.   


Along with friends he helped start the first in-house film club (Kirkland House Film Society) – the small group of film enthusiasts would, once a week, clear the tables and chairs in the house dining room, set up a portable screen and project old (and sometimes new) films with a 16mm projector. They paid for their efforts by charging a small fee to the student audience.  After Benedict lived for a time in Umbria (Italy) where he continued to try to write proper screenplays, very much on his own, and without any real experience beside his love of motion pictures. Olive farming kept him busy while he struggled to find a profession that would fulfill his ambitions. A long voyage by sea on a friend's sailing trawler contributed to his hunger for adventure, as well as to his conviction that all good stories are voyage tales. Out of his condition in life drove him back to the states, where, in New York, he took a modest job with magnum photo-journalists' cooperative. At night he worked on his first screenplay adaption of Flannery O' Connor's first novel Wise Blood. He and his brother Michael had agreed to work on the project together.


The story is almost straight out of a motion picture dream. When the script was finished, they decided to mail it directly to John Huston – the legendary film director was semi-retired and living in Mexico. Three days after mailing the script to Huston, the director called and expressed his wish to direct the film. Michael moved heaven and earth to gather up enough financing to pay for the adventure. His and Benedict’s careers had begun. Michael went on to produce until now, Benedict to be a screenwriter.



With a legendary agent, Robbie Lantz, as guide, Benedict began to be hired as a writer. Many assignments, but few of these efforts ended up on the screen – it is one of the frustrations of screenwriting to watch one’s work end up gathering dust on a shelf. Motion pictures are an expensive form of entertainment.


Many of the assignments Fitzgerald took on were adaptations, or else vaguely related to literary figures. The pictures that ended up on large or small screens were often directed by fine, talented directors such as George Kaczender, Pat O’Connor, Jonathan Kaplan, Nicolas Roeg – the results mixed. some very successful commercially, others less so. 


Benedict was contacted by Mel Gibson in 1999 and asked if he would be interested in scripting The Passion of the Christ. After nearly a year and a half of research and constant revisions and improvements on the unusual approach Gibson wanted to achieve, as well as adding his own perspective (the point of view of Mary, mother of the Christ) the script was ready for production.


The movie was able to record a box office success of 212 million dollars at the box office on the second weekend in the USA. The film thus achieved the third-best box-office result in the USA after twelve days. In addition, The Passion of the Christ was able to enter the top 50 most successful films in the USA already after the second weekend. After three days in German cinemas, over 200,000 visitors had seen the new Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. On its launch weekend, the film reached between 38,000 and 40,000 viewers in Austria.  In 2004, 1,349,020 Germans watched the film, which was re-released on March 24, 2005 with over 140 copies in German cinemas throughout Germany. About 67 million people in the USA saw the film. With a worldwide box-office takings of more than 612 million US dollars, The Passion of the Christ was able to enter the Top 100 of the most commercially successful films... According to Guinness Book of Records (Hamburg) in the 2006 edition, The Passion of the Christ is the most successful religious film of all time. The DVD and video version have also achieved record results to date. 2.5 million of a total of 15 million copies were sold in the USA on the first day! (Wikipedia)


Benedict has continued to write since that time. He has, for example, adapted one of the best known American short stories (A good Man is hard to find, by Flannery O’Connor) and other projects, some of his own, others by assignment. He is still very active, still the movie enthusiast he has always been.


Show EVIL (CBS in the United States & on Global in Canada) October 2019 - Consulting Producer: Benedict Fitzgerald


THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth's life. The film begins in the Garden of Olives where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within.


ZELDA  TV Movie (1993): Co-Author: Benedict Fitzgerald


"Wise Blood" (1979) - Official Trailer. Screenplay by Benedict Fitzgerald based on Flannery O' Connor's first novel Wise Blood. Director: John Huston


"In Cold Blood"- Trailer: Teleplay by Benedict Fitzgerald based on the book of Truman Copote.