Joe Eszterhas' Judah Maccabee script has the sort of bloody violence and catchy title that Mel Gibson should love
Though it wouldn’t seem to have enough fuel, the controversy over Mel Gibson’s proposed Judah Maccabee movie has continued to burn for nearly eight magical nights—and will likely go on for weeks to come, as Gibson remains sustained by his deep, abiding faith that the real problem with making a Mel Gibson Hanukkah movie is the script. Suggesting it has some slight doubts about that, The Wrap delves into the shelved screenplay, revealing that, Gibson’s assertions aside, Joe Eszterhas’ take on the story of Maccabee’s revolt against his Greek-Syrian oppressors is actually “remarkably faithful” to the original tale—a serious and reverent approach that nevertheless does not preclude it from being titled with the mysterious acronym M.C.K.B.I., perhaps because Fast And Hebrew-ious was deemed too silly. Mel Commentating Knowledgeably to Bunches of Israelites is also not what it stands for, but should, obviously.
By way of disproving Warner Bros.’ notion that Eszterhas’ lacked “feeling” and a “sense of triumph,” The Wrap details the movie’s many scenes of beheading, neck-snapping, “throat-slitting,” eyes being gouged out with daggers, hearts ripped from chests, and “miles of heads on stakes”—all of which sounds very triumphant and full of feelings indeed. “It’s a metaphor, you know, for the way Jews had their heads cut off and hearts ripped out,” Eszterhas probably said. Anyway, as The Wrap needlessly elucidates, that mix of ultra-violence with historical circumstance is a formula “Mel Gibson should absolutely love,” given that it replicates elements of past Gibson projects like The Passion Of The Christ and Braveheart and it even has a guy giving a big, platitude-filled speech about freedom. But of course, this isn’t the first time Gibson has been handed a story about a bunch of Jews getting killed and denied it.