Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Mel to do a 'Prequel?' is reporting that he hasn't ruled it out. I think many of us are hoping that he would. I picked up a DVD of the 25th anniversary of The Jesus Film last week, which is a 3 hour movie on the life of Christ as depicted in the Gospel of Luke. It has been shown to billions around the world for evangelizaton quite effectively. My thoughts are that it will make for a nice "prequel" each Lent before watching the DVD of The Passion of the Christ when it's released. But a sequel by Mel? Vunderbar!

When action star Mel Gibson and his production firm, Icon, produced "The Passion of the Christ," they planned on making only that religious-themed movie - and then move on to other motion picture projects.

But they never dreamed of the film's controversy - and runaway success. It could turn out to be one of the biggest blockbuster movies of all time!

Recently we chatted with a source close to Icon and Mel, and asked, "When is the prequel coming out?"

Our friend did not dismiss the idea, and said that because of the success of "The Passion," nothing was off the table.

A prequel would be a powerful film. No doubt James Caviezel, who has won raves for his role as Jesus in "The Passion," would be a huge draw.

And the prequel would answer critics who say that Gibson's "Passion" focuses only on the violence of Jesus' death, and not on his life and teachings.

Gibson himself has already stated that he is interested in religious-based movies.

In an interview on Sean Hannity's top-rated radio show, Gibson told the host: "There's some wonderful stories ... particularly from the Old Testament. I think that some of those stories are just remarkable and astounding in ... just the level of heroism and human nature and what they can tell us about ourselves."

And the producer of "The Passion of the Christ" has one story in mind, he told Hannity.

"The story that's always fired my imagination ... is the Book of Maccabees.

"It's about Antiochus, the king who set up his religion in the Temple, and forced them all to deny the true God and worship at his feet and worship false gods," Gibson explained. "This Maccabee family stood up, and they made war, they stuck by their guns, and they came out winning. It's like a Western."

According to Reuters, the Maccabees led a three-year war, some 200 years before the birth of Jesus, against Antiochus, a king who forced the Jews to worship false gods. The war led to the liberation of Jerusalem and rededication of the Temple that is celebrated in the Hanukkah holiday.

Gibson's interest in Jewish history failed to impress "Passion" critic Abe Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League's National Director.

He said he would not want Gibson to depict the Jewish people in film.

I also find the Maccabees intriguing as a movie project. Would Mel in this instance gain the support of the Jews, but lose the support of the evangelicals who have helped drive the success of TPOTC? The two books of Maccabees are found in the Catholic bible, but not in Protestant bibles. It will be interesting to see where Mr. Gibson goes from here.


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