Gale Ann Hurd Talks 'Magdalena,' Religious Controversies and Possible 'Witchblade' Crossover

'Magdalena'We here at MTV are always trying to keep our eyes peeled for the next big thing when it comes to movies -- even if it’s based on cultish material that much of the world hasn’t been turned onto yet. Most recently, we’ve been all over “Twilight” for this very reason – and looking to the future, we’re keeping a close eye on projects like “Magdalena.”

Over at Splash Page, we ran a whole week of news about the 2010 film. And when I caught up with super-producer Gale Ann Hurd recently, I wanted to make sure we got the latest.

“We’re in the early script phase at the moment,” explained Hurd, mastermind behind the “Terminator” and “Hulk” franchises. “There should be some [casting announcements] within the next month and a half on this.”

So far, the only actors cast in “Magdalena” are Jenna Dewan (“Step Up”) and Luke Goss (“Hellboy II”), with more on the way. Based on the Top Cow comic, the flick will tell the story of Patience (Dewan), a tough warrior who can trace her lineage back to Mary Magdalene. This being a comic, the character’s path has sometimes crossed with “Witchblade,” but the producer could neither confirm nor deny that the movie would have a similar crossover.

“I can’t speak to that,” she insisted. “That would be something for a Top Cow or Platinum Studio person.”

Hurd was eager, however, to address the rampant rumors that her film would be forced to trim back religious aspects of the comic to appease mainstream audiences. “I don’t think you can separate ‘Magdalena’ completely from the legacy of her descent or the fear of destiny or many things that are connected with her as part of the comic book franchise,” she explained. “But at the same time, it’s not a religious movie in that respect. We’re not going to disregard it, but if you’re familiar [with the comic] it is not a movie that examines religion per se, but it’s a character who comes from a religious tradition.”

Taking things a step further, Hurd compared the film to “The Da Vinci Code” franchise in that religion is present, but mainly in the background to set up story. “That’s a perfect analogy,” she said. “Same thing with ‘The Omen,’ or films like that. It’s a jumping off point. It is not untrue to its background, but that’s not what the story is about.”

Finally, Hurd promised us that Dewan is about to undergo some serious training, so she can continue the producer’s impressive history of giving us strong, no-nonsense cinematic heroines. “Being a dancer, she’s in great shape already, and she’s done quite a lot of action training in the past so I think she’ll pick it up very quickly,” the producer explained. “I’ll tell ya, Jenna is all for it. She is ready to get in there and kick some butt.”

Do you think films like “Magdalena” should try to walk the line by watering-down their religious roots, or simply keep the story the same and let the chips fall where they may?