Mad Mel under fire over historical Jewish project
Will we ever be set free from Mel Gibson news? Earlier this month Joe Eszterhas, the volatile screenwriter, released a letter repeating claims that Gibson was an aggressive anti-semite. The two had fallen out when Mel rejected Joe’s script for his proposed film called The Maccabees, about a second-century Jewish revolt.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews,” Eszterhas wrote. “You continually called Jews ‘Hebes’ and ‘oven-dodgers’ and ‘Jewboys’. It seemed that most times when we discussed someone, you asked ‘He’s a Hebe, isn’t he?’”
Gibson responded that the script was rejected because he had “never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time”.
There it might have died out, until the Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the studio to drop the project.
“In view of the outrageous anti-semitic and bigoted statements recounted in Joe Eszterhas’ letter to Mel Gibson,” the prominent Jewish rights organisation said in a statment, it was calling on Warner Bros to permanently shelve the project as long as Gibson was associated with it.
It’s a tricky one. By his own admission, Eszterhas is a loose cannon, and Hollywood doesn’t want to get into the business of blacklisting actors or directors. On a more trivial level, if Gibson’s Apocalypto is any guide, The Maccabees could have been absolutely terrific. Reel News bets it will never see the light of day.
The saga of fighting Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee (above) – a perfect fit for Gibson?