Mel Gibson developing movie about Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee


Image Credit: Andrew H. Walker/

Hold onto your yarmulkes! Mel Gibson — the Oscar-winning actor-director whose star has faded these past few years amid anti-Semitic remarks, domestic violence allegations, and two box-office disappointments (Edge of Darkness and this summer’s The Beaver) — is now developing an untitled epic about the Jewish warrior hero Judah Maccabee, EW has confirmed. (Deadline first reported the story.)

Gibson is producing the film for Warner Bros. through his Icon Productions company. Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) has signed on the write the script, and upon its completion, Gibson will have the option to direct the film if he so chooses. 

Judah Maccabee, along with his father and four brothers, led the Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies of the Seleucid Empire during the second century BCE. His victory, and the subsequent restoration of Jewish worship at Jerusalem’s Holy Temple, is commemorated by the holiday of Hanukkah. Gibson has reportedly long been interested in the story of Maccabee, and once considered this project as a possible follow-up to The Passion of the Christ, which remains the highest-grossing R-rated film ever domestically ($370.8 million).

Read more:
Mel Gibson settles legal battle with Oksana Grigorieva with $750,000 in child support
Mel Gibson breaks his silence: talks about tapes scandal, his damaged rep, and why he doesn’t care if he acts ever again
‘The Beaver’ premiere: Jodie Foster defends Mel Gibson

Comments (91 total) Add your comment
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  • Bruce

    You know Mel will never live down his past. Especially when every gosh darn article begins with “whose star has faded these past few years amid anti-Semitic remarks, domestic violence allegations”.

    I mean we know what he did, can we move on and make it about the movies. I mean he said some stupid crap while intoxicated who hasnt? It just so happens that he is a celebrity for crying out loud. As far as his “domestic abuse allegations” Oksana is a fruit bat. Her past and present only show her for what she is a “gold digger” what you didnt hear on the stupid freaking tapes was how Oksana manipulated those reactions from Mel. She knew what to say to get a rise out of him, all trailer trash do.

    So lets stick to the movies folks. Please for the love of Christ.

    • Mary

      Bless this post!

      • remmez

        Bless this post double. People need to stop pointing at celebs.. Gibson is not an antisemist.. he really isn’t. He’s just a guy who went down a dark road and now is moving towards the light. People need to stop beeing so judgemental.. Isn’t that what killed Jesus? Yes it did.. people never learn. Long live Mel Gibson.. I love the guy! He is one of Hollywoods best actors. Period

    • Josh

      You become a violent, misogynistic racist when you’re drunk?
      I’ve been drunk many times, but I don’t have it in me to behave like a drunk Mel Gibson. Why are you defending him?

    • Fatima

      I kind of think it’s relevant to bring up his anti-Jewish tirades when he’s planning on making a movie about a Jewish hero. This isn’t exactly the Beaver.

      • Patrick

        …He’s trying to make a comeback because of what happened in 2006. I heard about anti-Semetic undertones in his Jesus movie, so it didn’t surprise me that he said what he did. But this is all a political ploy for all those to “forget” or “hesitate” with Mel. It’s not in his heart to make a movie about Maccabee, it’s in his heart to make $$$ and win the hearts and minds of studio execs and the general public. Bottom line: HE’S BROKE! F#@k you Mel!

    • Ruby

      This. Agree wholeheartedly!

    • cNow

      He’s a racist and so are all of you.

      • Jonathan

        I find your generalising comments offensive.

    • pie thrower

      Umm no we can’t move on, because I refuse to bury my head in the sand. 70 years ago (we are not talking ancient history mind you) did the German population regard Hitler as a “just move on” flash in the pan.

      Mel Gibson is a sick, racist, chaeuvanistic, anti-Semitic individual. Because of this his talent does not deserve any credit or special recognition.

      I only recognize his deluded and ill conceived character.

      • Ryan

        @pie thrower,

        Did you REALLY just compare Mel Gibson to hitler? Are you out of your effing mind?

        Christ it kills me that someone gets drunk, says some stupid crap and it is held over them the rest of their lives. The ex thing is just stupid and was clearly a gold digging ***** coaxing a reaction from him.

    • BYOB

      Um, if Mel weree the least bit intelligent, savvy he would’ve helped people move on from his anti-Semitic rants by, I dunno…not taking on a project involving Jewish people. That’s like Michael Richards producing a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King biopic. That’s not running away from a fire that’s jumping head first into the flames.

    • pie thrower

      Ryan: You are a fool. Yes, I did compare Mel Gibson to Hitler. Mel Gibson is person with a tremendous amount of influence. Many people flock to his “important” films like “Passion Of The Christ” which actually has anti-Semitic undertones.

      Adolf Hitler was a speech maker and author. Both use some form of media to carry out their views, and both carry the power of influence over a tremendous population.

      Don’t bury your head in the sand. His “mistakes” while he was drunk were in fact not mistakes but an actual surrender of his guard to only allow the truth to come out.

  • JD

    Mazal tov!

  • Kara

    So? He’s still a douche and an anti-Semite.

    • Peter

      I’m sorry, but you can’t force everyone in the world to like everyone else. There will always be someone, somewhere that doesn’t like you. Face it.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Because this will make up for everything?????

    • Zach

      It won’t when he makes it anti-Semitically.

      • snsetblaze

        Agreed. And it sort of says something that the guy who signed on to write the movie is a terrible writer — c’mon – the guy who wrote Basic Instinct and Showgirls?

  • DFSF

    What a supreme creep.

  • J

    The only question anyone should ask is, “Will it be a good movie?” Because if Roman Polanski can drug and forcibly rape a little girl, and Hollywood can look the other way because they like his movies, then I don’t see why Mel Gibson should be treated any differently.

    • dee

      Damn! I agree. i doesn’t really sit well but i agree.

    • Jessica

      Completely agree. Hate or love Mel Gibson, you have to admit he makes amazing movies and gives superb performances.

      I’m so sick of the hypocritical Hollywood mentality of punishing Gibson but loving Polanski. Gibson never raped a little girl.

    • cNow

      Polanski is an evil child rapist who is a fugitive, crazy European. Gibson’s a racist. Neither is forgiven.

      • sidsy

        how could you rape someone other than forcibly?

      • Barb

        When an adult has sex with a 12 or 14 year old that’s rape even if the child does not protest. In the case of Roman Polanski, however, the child DID protest, and a lot, even after he had drugged her.

        I DO NOT see Roman Polanski movies. I have not forgiven him, BTW, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Genius is no excuse.

        France has paid a price for hiding this rapist. The New York District Attorney knew that if he let Strauss-Kahn go, he’d never see him again, so he was forced to grab the guy off the airplane. How’d he know that? Roman Polanski fled to France AFTER being convicted! This guy was just accused.

        Back to Gibson. He does do a lot of violent movies, and the truth is the story of Judah Maccabee is among the most violent stories in the Apocrypha. In fact, the Jews specifically DO NOT celebrate the military victory at Hanukkah, but only the restoration of the temple and miracle of the oil.

        I just hope he gets it right. They won because Judah went to Rome and got the Romans to line their army up along the opposite boarder, forcing the Greo-Syrians to keep most of their fighting forces there. (The Romans didn’t attack, although they controlled the entire region eventually).

        The Maccabees did not restore the Davidian throne, they put themselves on the throne, and were considered among the worst rulers the Jews ever had when not occupied by foreign forces. When the Romans took over, some Jews actually thought they had a better chance of a restoration of the House of David under them than under the Maccabees.

      • Lyndsey

        Oh Barb, you not only used thoughtful reasoning but actual history to support your opinion! You’re my hero today!! :-D

  • Dave

    A talented filmmaker announces his latest project. Sounds good. I’d watch it. That is all.

    • Co


      • Levi

        Yeah right…if you say anything against the jews , youre racist, anti-semitic…blablabla…get a life..holocaust happened 60 years ago, and jews did genocide too before the holocaust, killing 10 million people in ukraine…

  • Zach

    Maccabees meet SHOWGIRLS???????????

    • Hobbes

      This. I was reading through the article, all of which was pretty much what I expected. Then suddenly the line that made me go, “wait, what??” Basic Instint and Showgirls?!!

      • tipsy

        LOl, I know, right? I mena, it isn`t impossible for Showgirl`s scribe to deliver a good script (isn`t Batman&Robin scriptwriter a multiple Oscar nominee/winner?) but this does sound like a joke at the moment.

  • DN

    This is so bizarre. The man makes a film with strong anti-Semitic allusions in it (“Passion of the Christ”), has an anti-Semitic rant when arrested, and now wants to make a movie about a Jewish hero?

    To those who have no issue with Gibson, would you feel the same way if he made remarks that offended you? It’s easy to be okay with something when you’re not the target of the offense. It says a lot about your morals.

    • Zach

      TITCR obvi

    • Peter

      Why do people have to be pro-semite? or anti-semite? I don’t get it. Why does everyone have to censor themselves because it offends someone else? There is no law that says people can’t be against any religion they want. Respect is important, but forcing people to censor themselves because of what they have to say about any particular religion, whether it be christianity, judism, or islam, is absurd and not really a valid argument. Some people even think they all suck, and you don’t hear people comparing them with hitler, do you?

      • Co

        racist peter

      • Z

        Nobody is censoring him. He has the right to feel however he wanst about Jews and say all the hateful things he wants. And we, the moviegoing public, have just as much right to call him out on his bigotry and not support his movies and call him out on his racism. Freedom of speech only protects you from punishment from the government…it does not protect you from backlash or consequences from the general public.

      • Zach

        Z is right.

      • Levi

        right Co, racist? so are you praising censure. I bet When some jews say we(Americans) have to fight fundamentalism islam you agree with it. Are you assuming being jew is like a race?

  • Mr Eko

    One of the top 5 directors in the business. Braveheart, The Passion, and Apocalypto were all brilliantly directed films. There should be no connection between his personal beliefs and his undeniable talent as a film maker.

    • Michael

      Thank you.

    • Jessica


    • mel

      long live mel

      • Co

        he’s horrible and so is your racist mother for birthing you.

      • Brandon

        CO….you are the horrible one. Every reply you’ve posted is just as full of bile as anything any racist could post, but YOU HAVE NO IDEA if these people are racists or not. If you can add anything but your bile to these posts….the stay off them you freaking hypocrite!

    • Elle

      Ben Affleck’s better and he isn’t racist.

    • Zach

      Please, he’s nothing close to top 5. He had ONE big hit (Braveheart), which is kind of clumsy anyway (I said it!). If he weren’t Mel Gibson, his directorial career wouldn’t be looked at with such scrutiny or hype either.

    • snsetblaze

      I have to disagree. I saw Braveheart. It was good but I didn’t feel that it was great but that was before his statements and behavior. I read and heard from others about the anti-semetic overtones to Passion. Why should I spend my money to go to a film and reward that? If I go to the movies, some of it does end up in his pocket. What a person is like and his or her beliefs do affect his or her “art”. I refuse to spend more money to knowingly so even though normally the subject matter in Apolyptico might have interested me (unlike Passion), I didn’t bother to go.

  • Josh

    I’m a Jew, and if Roman Polanski can win Oscars then Mel Gibson should be able to make movies. I’d personally rather he picked a different topic. This feels like pandering.

    • Josh

      Whoops. J beat me to that point. Well done J.

    • Co

      Go to hell child molester.

    • snsetblaze

      Roman Polanski’s situation aside, Mel’s choice is pandering.

  • Rew

    You need to replace “to” for “the” a couple times in this article.

  • Jack

    Mel Gibson is perhaps the worst director to have ever made an Oscar winning film. This project feels like pandering. May he never live down “sugar tits.”

    • Co


  • revjakey34

    I think this sounds amazing. It’s an incredible story, as actually belongs to Christian history as much as it does to Jewish history. We know Mel can handle the historically-slanted films (Braveheart, Apocalypto, Passion, even Hamlet and The Patriot) so I’m pumped for this one. And call it “The Hammer” or “Maccabee.” Done.

  • Barack Palin

    Mel Gibson making a film about Jewish warriors. I don’t see how this can go wrong. Who is financing-Hamas? Oy vey, something just ain’t kosher here.

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