Mel Gibson and often-controversial screenwriter Joe Eszterhas are teaming to create a presently untitled biblical epic about Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee at Warner Bros. Pictures says Deadline.
Maccabee, his father and four brothers teamed to lead the revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies that had conquered Judea in 2nd century B.C., Eszterhas is expected to write the script while Gibson will produce through his Icon Productions and has first option to direct.
The idea of Gibson and the writer of “Showgirls” & “Basic Instinct” working on a film deeply rooted in Jewish lore and spirituality has understandably raised a lot of eyebrows. In fact Reuters reports that The Anti-Defamation League has quickly raised objections to the film citing Gibson’s past history as well as his controversial take on “The Passion of the Christ”.
Yet this is not a new story. Back in 2005 there was word that Gibson was planning a biopic of late Pope John Paul II and at the same time was looking into a project called “The Revolt Of The Maccabees”, described as “the story behind Hanukkah” – essentially the same story.
Gibson has reportedly been pursuing a film adaptation of this story for over a decade, and the tale of Maccabee’s struggle for religious freedom against an oppressive and massive regime certainly pairs well with his past efforts such as 1995’s “Braveheart”.