Warner Bros Passes On Joe Ezsterhas' Script For Mel Gibson's Macabee Movie
It sounded like a good idea at the time. Wait. No it didn't. Of all the people one might select to produce and possibly direct the story of Judah Maccabee, Mel Gibson would probably be rather low on the list. Well, that's if you've been paying attention to his not-so-personal life over the last few years. If this was, say, 1996 and he just won two Oscars for Braveheart, a similarly epic tale of revolution, he'd probably be the prime choice to hop on board the story of the Macabee's victory over Greek and Syrian armies. Now, not so much. That's not even mentioning that the script he was going to work with was being penned by Joe Eszterhas, the writer of Basic Instinct, Jade and Showgirls.
According to The Wrap, it was that very script that got the project temporarily rejected by Warner Bros. Why the studio went ahead with it at all is a mystery, as there is nothing on Ezsterhas' resume that suggests he was capable of crafting a script worthy of such a well known and important tale of the Jewish revolt in the 2nd Century B.C. Since Gibson planned to produce through his Icon label, he could always put his Passion of the Christmoney where his mouth is and go it alone once again, but something tells me he's not as willing this time around. And let's be honest, after the VOD effort that was Get the Gringo, not to mention the dealings with WB and the The Hangover Part II cameo situation in 2010, this red light was a long time coming.
Personally, I think Mel Gibson is a talented director and often fantastic actor who, like many artists, has some really deep seeded personal issues, and while I definitely still check out his projects (including Gringo and The Beaver), this is probably not the film for him to make. Minus the religion factor, it sounds like an epic perfectly suited for the Braveheart helmer, but sometimes you have to see the writing on the wall and in this case 'Shalom' means goodbye. Warners was quick to note that the project isn't officially dead or shelved, only being placed aside until they decide how to move forward. I heard they are looking for James Dearden to do a re-write with Lars von Trier in talks to direct (Yes, that's a joke).
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