Looks like Mel Gibson is going to be teaming up with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Betrayed, Music Box) to produce a movie about Judah Maccabee.
I know. Weird, right? And on so many levels. Many felt that Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ depicted Jews in a negative manner (Hellooo, christ killer, hello!). In 2006, after Gibson was pulled over for drunk driving, he said to the arresting officer “Fucking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson is also a Traditionalist Catholic who reject the reforms of Vatican II and his father is a conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier. And yet… he’s been working on this movie about a man who is arguably the most celebrated Jewish hero ever. Well, at least judging by Hanukah standards. Others see Judah Maccabee, who defeated the Greek-Syrian armies in the 2nd Century BCE, as a kind of blood thirsty Jewish fundamentalist.
But whatever, I have no idea what Gibson is thinking. Might this be an attempt to regain favor with the Jews in Hollywood? His last film, Jodie Foster’s Beaver, was a total financial failure. Maybe a Jewish Braveheart might not be such a bad idea after all? But will the Jews ever forgive him? I guess we’ll see.
UPDATE: Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic has a uhm… fascinating conversation with Mel Brooks about the Judah Maccabee project. And circumcision…