Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Mel Gibson’s next movie?

I saw a headline on the Internet Movie Database: “[Mel] Gibson Planning Jewish Movie.” I read it aloud, and Heather asked, “You’re not reading The Onion, are you?” No, it turns out that Gibson

has hinted he may make a filmed account of the Revolt Of The Maccabees, the story behind Hanukkah. The 46-year-old says, “The story that’s always fired my imagination is the Book of Maccabees. “The Maccabees family stood up, and they made war. They stuck by their guns and they came out winning. It’s like a western.” The Maccabees led a three year war, 200 years before the birth of Jesus, against Antiochus, a king who forced the Jews to worship false gods. The war led to the liberation of Jerusalem.

Gibson’s interest in Jewish history concerns the Jewish Anti-defamation League. National director Abe Foxman says, “My answer would be, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ The last thing we need in Jewish history is to convert our history into a western.”

Let the speculation about casting begin!

5 Comments

  1. It certainly is a good story, and maybe I’ve got my interpretation of the controversy over “The Passion” all wrong–maybe Mel is unusually PRO-semitic and wants to use up all the great stories featuring historic Jewish reactions to godlike figures other than the publisher of the Ten Commandments. Maybe he just thinks that he’s going to corner the winter holiday market by co-opting both Christmas AND Hanukkah for his purposes, and he’s actively scouting for good Ramadan and Kwanzaa stories next. I don’t know.

    I could see casting Jason Patric as Judah Maccabee and using a tagline like, “It was like the Alamo…but the good guys won!”; Antiochus, of course, would be Hristo Shopov, who’d then achieve status as the bad guy in all of Mel Gibson’s new series of biblical tales. Actually, why not use Jim Cavaziel as Judah, and confound and confuse the stories such that people think Hanukkah really DOES have something to do with Christmas?

  2. mel gibson is the greatest movie director/actor of all time. in braveheart he played the fearless william wallace who was the greatest and most courageous man who ever lived. and now my next favorite movie is “passion of the christ” this has got to be the best movies ever. i am very religous. i cried watching that movie. i cried. so i know that if mel gibson makes another movie. it’s gonna be the best damn movie that any person has ever seen. at least the smart people anyway.

    all in all i’d give passion of the christ a 9/10 and i think his next movie will be the same or higher.

  3. The story of the Hasmonean revolt is an incredibly riveting and exciting story. It is much more in line with Braveheart or the Patriot than the Passion was. If anyone can make this story exciting, Mel can.

    What people don’t understand is that Gibson just trying to be true to his faith. In the Passion, it is obvious that he was attempting, first, to be true to the texts themselves. Those who want to claim anti-Semitism should level the claim against the gospels themselves.

    Nevertheless, we all bring our baggage to the story of Jesus. We all approach as outsiders, and we all view the story through our cultural lenses. It is clear that Gibson approached the texts from a Westernized Roman Catholic perspective, and filled in the gaps with historical scholarship. One might have wished he had taken historical scholarship as his starting place instead, and then filled in the gaps with insights from his personal faith. But the artist has the freedom to tell the story as he sees fit.

    Undoubtedly, Gibson will also “Catholicize” the story of the Maccabees, but there’s just not much he can do to it. I’m sure he’ll emphasize the prayer for the dead found in 2 Maccabees (which has been a point of dispute between Catholics and Protestants since the Reformation began). But all in all, people bring a lot less baggage to the story of the Maccabees. I don’t see how he could “screw it up.”

    “The Jews” come off poorly in a Catholic reading of the gospels. They come off well in the Maccabees stories. Gibson is not trying to be anti-Semitic, nor is he trying to “redeem” himself from those accusations. He is simply trying to be a good Catholic.

  4. mel is one of the greatest filmmaker.His research work always impresses me.his movies are of pure quality and his latest flick apocalypto was just amazing.hope he stands again to revive his wonderful work in movies like brave heart and the patriot.he’s a master piece.kudos

  5. mel is one of the greatest filmmaker.His research work always impresses me.his movies are of pure quality and his latest flick apocalypto was just amazing.hope he stands again to revive his wonderful work in movies like brave heart and the patriot.he’s a master piece.kudos

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