The 'Braveheart' actor joins forces with 'Basic Instinct' scribe Joe Eszterhas to work on the project under his Icon Productions in conjunction with Warner Bros.
Mel Gibson, who was criticized by Jewish community a few years ago for making movie "The Passion of the Christ", is going to redeem himself by working on a Jewish hero movie. The former partner of Oksana Grigorieva is confirmed to team up with "Basic Instinct" writer Joe Eszterhas to get the work done.
The "Edge of Darkness" actor will make a movie about Judah Maccabee, a man who led the Jewish struggle against tyranny. The warrior defeated Seleucid king Antiochus IV and seized Jerusalem from the Greek-Syrian armies before re-consecrating the Temple. The victory was celebrated every year in Hanukkah holiday.
Gibson has long been fascinated by the great story of Maccabee, and once considered to make the movie about this hero as a possible follow-up to "The Passion of the Christ". He said back in 2004, "The story that has always fired my imagination ... is the Book of Maccabbees. ... The Maccabbees family stood up, and they made war, they stuck by their guns, and they came out winning. It's like a Western."
A source familiar with the project claimed that the actor, who was also slammed for his anti-Semitic remarks while in custody for a 2006 DUI arrest, had done a lot of research about the story ever since. Back then, his interest to bring the story to the big screen faced objection from the critics including the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman.
If Gibson made the film, "We'll lose. He'll write his own history," he said before adding, "I would prefer to leave the fate of Jewish history and Hollywood to Steven Spielberg. The Maccabees ... are our sacred history." Whether the protest will resurface, now that the project is closer to come to fruition, remains to be seen.
Despite the objection, the 55-year-old actor himself had the experience of bringing rebellion story to the big screen. In 1995, he successfully directed and starred in "Braveheart", an Academy Award-winning movie about the heroic Scottish leader. "Like William Wallace in 'Brave Heart', it's a charismatic warrior leading a small army against a massive one -- and kicking their ass," said his associate of the Maccabee movie.
Gibson reportedly had discussion with several big studios to develop the film under his Icon Productions, but eventually closed a producing deal with Warner Bros. The decision whether or not the actor will direct and tackle one of the roles will be made once the script is done.