Gibson to direct ancient Jewish warrior film
The news sites are awash with the talk of Mel Gibson directing a film about a famous Jewish character celebrated for being one of the greatest Jewish warriors. Stories with words like "shock", "why" and "explanation" are appearing, as though it needed an explanation. He's a film-maker isn't he?
He's also created films about other characters from history, and taken liberties with their story too, but he's produced something powerful and those that feel the character belongs to them have taken the film to their hearts, so why not again?
Well obviously we know why it's making headlines, but the real surprise is coming out about the opposite side of the story where we discover that Mel Gibson has had his eye on this story for some time, as most film-makers do.
It doesn't appear to be that he's thought to salvage his career with a film about a famous Jewish person, not according to what he once said anyway. According to an interview that Mel Gibson did with The Atlantic he's been thinking about the project for years, and for very simplistic reasons, cinema.
"I just read it when I was teenager, and it's amazing. It's almost like" -- here, he grabbed my digital recorder, held it to his mouth, and spoke in a portentous movie-announcer voice -- "They profaned his Temple. They killed his father. They... all kinds of stuff. In the face of great odds for something he believed in" -- here he switched out of movie-announcer voice -- "Oh, my God, the odds they faced. The armies they faced had elephants! How cinematic is this! Even Judah's dad -- what's his name? Mattathias? -- you kind of get this guy who more or less is trying to avoid the whole thing, but he just gets to a place where had enough, and he just snapped!"
So to me that sounds like it's a very cinematic tale and might produce a rather epic tale, and yet there are many leaping up against Warner Bros. and Mel Gibson making the film for they believe he's going to destroy the view of Judah Maccabee, or Judas Maccabeus, who is credited with the first religious uprising using guerrilla warfare against the might of the Greek-Syrian armies who had conquered Judea in second century B.C.
The uproar, which I'm really not going to get into, just doesn't seem to go away. Gibson's drunken comments have never been allowed to leave him despite numerous apologies both publicly written and privately discussed. Forgiveness has not yet arrived and there are some very hateful comments and phrases spoken against him.
Perhaps then, despite what he previously said, there is still some element of penance in what he's doing, even though the story would make great cinema and there are parallels in this religious uprising story with so many other modern day tales, Gibson even states that there are parallels to church in today's society.
Would they really make a film that wasn't true to the original stories? One that would threaten to offend the Jewish community? I really don't believe they would, but you can guarantee it will be controversial, he's delivered plenty of that before.