Gibson's Viking film still alive and pillaging
It's fair to say that Mel Gibson doesn't tackle small projects, and the idea of a Viking epic has been something that's always been on his mind and has been mentioned a few times in the media. However it's never really come to fruition.
When news came that he was working on a film about Jewish historical figure Judah Maccabee it seemed the Viking film was taking a back seat. However Gibson has just revealed that's not the case and he's just received a second draft of a script for a film provisionally called Berserker.
Mel Gibson was at a special American Cinematheque Q&A session after a screening of Mad Max and he revealed that he has just received a second draft of a script about something very exciting. Obviously the audience wouldn't let him go with that one and he had to reveal what it was, and graciously he did. It's the Viking film, not the Judah Maccabee one.
"...got a couple of things on the boil, a couple of projects that I'm writing. I just got a second draft of something I'm really excited about today...
...it's actually a Viking thing. Vikings, as you know, are very unsympathetic characters...and these guys will be bad...I sort of hooked up again with Randall Wallace, who did the script on Braveheart. Yeah, it's pretty good. It's called Berserker."
He's very low key in the whole interview and he's really not the Mel Gibson (as in the media persona) that you expect, but it's an interesting conversation especially to hear such interesting commentary on the Mad Max film.
He reiterated the fact that this Viking film would be realistic, not the horned helmets or the Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis film The Vikings kind of film, and the news that the first attempt at the film didn't manage to make it through, the version that had William Monahan writing the script and now with Randall Wallace writing it could feel as epic and stirring as Braveheart but almost the antithesis of the characters in that film who were fighting for good, the Vikings are definitely not like that at all.
Gibson also talked about the Judah Maccabee project and what that has in store for us with that film, making it sound really exciting and being very impassioned about it, describing it as an epic western in feel and...
"It's an amazing story. It's heroic beyond belief. The entire might of the Seleucid Empire, which was Persia, their whole objective at the time was to wipe Judea off the map and they almost did it except for this little hold out that miraculously grew and wanted it all back again."
It's a fascinating interview that you can see over at L.A. Times and I would recommend watching it, there's plenty in there about Gibson himself, plenty about Mad Max, and some great comments about other films in his career.
However the exciting news is that he isn't done and the work on that Viking film that sounded so exciting is still going on.