Mad Mel un­der fire over his­tor­i­cal Jewish project

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News - By Don­ald Clarke

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?

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