Mel Gibson Developing a Film About Jewish Warrior Judah Maccabee
In what seems like a move to get back in the good graces of those offended by his anti-Semitic remarks made during his highly publicized arrest in 2006, actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson is working on a film that will tell the story of Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee. Deadline reports Warner Bros. has made quite a strange move in getting Gibson to work with Basic Instinct and Showgirls writer Joe Eszterhas to script the revered story about how Maccabee teamed with his father and four brothers to lead the Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies that had conquered Judea in the second century B.C.
Of course, religious material like this isn't outside of Gibson's wheelhouse after his tackling of The Passion of the Christ, and Maccabee isn't much of a far cry from William Wallace in Braveheart either. Frankly, I'm less confused by Gibson's hiring for this project rather than Eszterhas whose credits also include Flashdance. However, Deadline points out the writer has worked on two films with Jewish themes: "the 1987 Betrayed, which starred Debra Winger as an undercover FBI agent probing white supremacists, and 1989’s Music Box, which starred Jessica Lange whose Hungarian immigrant father is accused of engaging in atrocities during World War II." So I guess it's not all that strange of a pairing.
Personally, I'm of the mind that an actor's personal yet publicized issues don't influence my opinion of their work in front of and behind the camera. I'm always ready to see Gibson work on another film, and it sounds like in addition to helping Eszterhas write this film, he could also end up directing it. However, I was a bit more keen on his promising Viking epic that still needs to get off the ground. All I know is that The Beaver is still one of my favorite films of 2011 (read my review right here), and if Gibson can deliver just as fine an effort behind the camera, then audiences won't be disappointed.