Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mel Gibson interviewed about Maccabean movie

MEL GIBSON is interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic about Mel's Maccabean movie project: "Mel Gibson on Judah Maccabee, Christopher Hitchens, and Circumcision." Excerpt:
Let me dispense first with the famous anti-Semitic blow-up. I asked him why it happened, and he answered me directly: "I was loaded, and some stupid shit can come out of your mouth when you're loaded."

But from what dark corner of his soul did this terrible accusation -- that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world -- emanate? He said, "That day they were marching into Lebanon. It was one of those things. It was on the news."

The "they" in question is the Israel Defense Forces. I found this answer to be proof, of course, of Gibson's anti-Semitic tendencies. Most drunk people, when stopped by the police, don't launch into tirades against Jews. He was obviously preoccupied with the putative sins of Jewish people, which raised the obvious question, why would he seek to make a film about one of the great Jewish heroes of history? Money, he said, was not a motivator.

"If you're looking to make money out of this, forget it," he said, citing the costs of staging period spectaculars. "Even Braveheart didn't make much money."

His interest stemmed, he said, from the simple fact that the Book of Maccabees (I and II, he said) are "ripping good reads."

"I just read it when I was teenager, and it's amazing. It's almost like" -- here, he grabbed my digital recorder, held it to his mouth, and spoke in a portentous movie-announcer voice -- "They profaned his Temple. They killed his father. They... all kinds of stuff. In the face of great odds for something he believed in" -- here he switched out of movie-announcer voice -- "Oh, my God, the odds they faced. The armies they faced had elephants! How cinematic is this! Even Judah's dad -- what's his name? Mattathias? -- you kind of get this guy who more or less is trying to avoid the whole thing, but he just gets to a place where had enough, and he just snapped!"

In other words, Judah Maccabee, his father, and his brothers, are like the heroes of every Mel Gibson movie.
Worth reading in full, but if you are fainthearted, be warned that there is strong language as well as a discussion of epispasm that may involve too much information.

Via Cinema Blend. Background here.