Mel Gibson’s new movie about the Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee has been put on hold by Warner Brothers. Warner says that the script that Joe Eszterhas turned in earlier this year was not what they were hoping for. Ezterhas, however, said in a nine page letter that the movie should be scrapped due to Gibson’s anti-semitic past.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make ‘The Maccabees’ is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews. (Mel Gibson announced the project) in an attempt to deflect continuing charges of anti-Semitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career.”
Gibson, of course, denies that the Maccabee movie is his attempt of gaining favor with the Jewish community. Gibson said that he’s been working on this movie for years. In an interview with The Atlantic last year, Gibson said:
“I read [Book of Maccabees I and II] when I was teenager, and it’s amazing. They profaned his Temple. They killed his father. They … all kinds of stuff. In the face of great odds for something he believed in. Oh, my God, the odds they faced. The armies they faced had elephants! How cinematic is this! Even Judah’s dad — what’s his name? Mattathias? — you kind of get this guy who more or less is trying to avoid the whole thing, but he just gets to a place where had enough, and he just snapped!”
Warner Brothers didn’t comment on the feud brewing between Gibson and Eszterhas. The film company simply stated that Eszterhas’ script “didn’t pass muster.”
“Both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor.”
Warner Bros. said that it is “analyzing what to do with the project,” but according to Gibson’s statement, it looks like the movie will proceed with a new screenwriter.
Do you think the Maccabee movie will ever get made?