Warners has rejected the scriptThings seemed to be looking up for Mel Gibson last year, at least a little.
Despite his most recent starring role in The Beaver coming and going from most cinemas without much luck at the box office, he was at least forging ahead with a new project that, he hoped, might restore some of his personal reputation after numerous incidents and accusations of anti-Semitism.
But while the biopic of Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee had been developing slowly over at Warner Bros., the studio has now rejected the script, leaving the project in limbo.
Basic Instinct / Jade writer Joe Eszterhas had been toiling away on the screenplay which saw a n underdog army fighting for freedom against oppression, which is definitely in Gibson’s comfort zone.
In 165 BC, Jewish leader Maccabee led his brothers in revolt against the Seleucid Empire, ruled by Antiochus Epiphanes who had forbidden Jewish practices.
Full of spirit and triumph, it was, as Eszterhas remarked later last year, the chance for a Braveheart-scale epic drawn from Jewish history.
But he’s since launched an angry screed at Mel, complaining that Gibson's the real reason the flick has stalled.
The studio has only commented that it is analysing its options about what to do with the project and that the current draft didn’t pass muster.
And given the outcry from Jewish groups and the Anti-Defamation League over the idea in the first place, there’s a chance it’ll linger in limbo unless some other company decides to pick it up.
However it ends up, it appears this latest attempt at PR and career resuscitation isn’t working out quite like Mel Gibson hoped.