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UPDATED: Mel Gibson’s Latest Religious Picture a No-Go

Mel Gibson in 'Edge of Darkness'
Warner Brothers

Often when filmmakers go through a rough patch in their career they return to material that’s worked for them before. So it’s no surprise that Mel Gibson – after a couple of years drenched in tabloid attention – would return to the Biblical stories. But Warner Brothers has rejected the script that Gibson commissioned from Hollywood legend Joe Eszterhas.

The project was controversial from the start as the film would be about Judah Maccabee, who led the revolt that brought about the holiday of Hanukkah. As Gibson’s reputation with Jewish leaders was shaky to begin with – partly because of some public outbursts, partly because of his father’s beliefs – the film had already engendered controversy. But though Warner Brothers passed – as The Hollywood Reporter noted – they haven’t fully given up on the project.  They just don’t like the script.

And that could be a case of Eszterhas’s material being sub-par. Though famous for the sale of some spec scripts in the early 90′s, his work on such films as ‘Basic Instinct’ and ‘Showgirls’ is often laughable and in those films director Paul Verhoven treated the material as camp. As much as the film could be a hot button target for controversy because of Gibson’s involvement, Eszterhas has never been a great writer.

Gibson is currently starring in ‘Get the Gringo,’ which will hit VOD on May 1.

UPDATE: Well, this turned into a war. Joe Eszterhas sent a letter to The Wrap, where he said “I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make ‘The Maccabees’ is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews.” It looks like their collaboration was strained. Gibson responded on Deadline Hollywood, where he said “I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script.” It don’t get no uglier.


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