A former movie star repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism is teaming up with a Jewish co-star for a new film whose plot touches on a family that’s been at the center of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for over 100 years.
Mel Gibson is set to star with Shia LaBeouf in Rothchild, which is described as a “black comedy.” According to a plot summary by The Hollywood Reporter, the film stars LaBeouf as Becket Rothchild, the black sheep, out-of-wedlock son of the famous Rothchild family who decides to try to get access to his share of the family’s fortune. However, doing this requires him to go through several relatives, including his “sinister grandfather,” Whitelaw, played by Gibson.
Jon S. Baird, who made Stan & Ollie, is the director of the film, which is up for sale at the Cannes Film Festival this week. It’s one of three films involving Gibson that are up for bid at the famed annual film festival.
The Rothschilds are a real family with multigenerational banking wealth that has been the subject of conspiracy theories going back to the 19th century, often focused on the family’s Jewish roots and their supposed hidden hand in world affairs.
I guess they’re just doing full anti-Semitic movie franchises now? https://t.co/HfJYfQ0xqm— Jonathan M. Katz✍???? (@KatzOnEarth) May 13, 2019
Gibson was one of the world’s biggest movie stars throughout the 1980s and ’90s, with numerous hits as well as the Oscar-winning Braveheart in 1995. Gibson was first accused of anti-Semitism at the time of the release of his film The Passion of The Christ in 2004. Two years later, Gibson was infamously recorded during a DUI traffic stop in Malibu declaring that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!”
That arrest, and a later incident in which a recording leaked of Gibson viciously berating the mother of his children and also using racial slurs, led to the effective end of Gibson’s time as an A-list movie star. Nonetheless, he has continued to appear in films occasionally, including Daddy’s Home 2 last year and Dragged Across Concrete earlier this year.
“Here he has a chance to combine all his skills and bring to life a real twist on the classic rags to riches story,” Gabrielle Stewart, the managing director of the film’s international distributor HamWay Films, said of the project, per The Hollywood Reporter. “The divide between the super rich and the rest of the world is an ever growing one, and it’s both fun and fascinating to delve into its inner bowels along with our hero trying to scramble to the top and claim his piece.”