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By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Michael Fleming Delivers The Mel Details

From Variety
Posted: Sun., Jul. 24, 2005, 10:00pm PT
Mel tongue-ties studios
‘Apocalypto’ to be filmed in obscure Mayan dialect
By MICHAEL FLEMING
When production chiefs from selected studios trooped to Icon Prods. headquarters after an invite to read the film Mel Gibson planned for summer 2006, they were surprised at the very first page of the script.
“The dialogue you are about to read will not be spoken in English.”
Gibson, who last made the most successful Aramaic-language film ever, is at it again.
“Apocalypto” hardly fits the traditional definition of a summer film. Set 500 years ago, pic will be filmed in an obscure Mayan dialect, presumably with the same kind of subtitles Gibson reluctantly added to “The Passion of the Christ.” It will star a neophyte cast indigenous to the region of Mexico where Gibson will shoot in October. And it likely will carry an R rating, unless Gibson tempers the onscreen depiction of violent scenes he wrote in his script.
Since Gibson’s bankrolling his pic and will sell foreign himself, studios were offered only a rent-a-system deal, such as George Lucas had with 20th Century Fox for his last three “Star Wars” films. And because “Apocalypto” is not a religious pic, there’s no guarantee of an encore turnout of the church groups and hardcore Catholics who made “The Passion of the Christ” a nearly $1 billion box office/DVD bonanza.
‘Passion’ prediction
At least three studios passed on the project before Disney bought it. Nevertheless, the fact that more than one studio bid for the project shows Gibson’s viability and makes laughable last year’s prediction by the New York Times that Gibson would be blackballed by Jewish executives after the “Passion” controversy.
That charge never really had much traction, said sources within Gibson’s agency, ICM. There was a post-“Passion” pile of scripts with $20 million-plus offers for Gibson’s acting services. While that paper piled up on ICM co-prexy Ed Limato’s desk, Gibson was accumulating pages of his own, scribbling “Apocalypto” in his office and becoming so passionate about it that he changed his plans to star in the Icon-produced drama “Under and Alone” for Warner Bros.
Even though studios including Paramount and Universal walked away from “Apocalypto” either for creative reasons or because Gibson’s asking price of a high P&A commitment was too high, Disney’s agreement to step up shows how much things have changed for Gibson since he struggled to get backing for “Braveheart.” Gibson felt he was too old to play William Wallace, preferring to cast Jason Patric, but he was hard-pressed to raise coin even when he agreed to star.
Paramount wouldn’t make “Braveheart” without a partner, and before Fox (which passed on “Passion”) stepped up, Gibson had a demoralizing meeting with his longtime haunt Warner Bros., which wanted another “Lethal Weapon” as a condition of the deal. Gibson made “Braveheart” on a shoestring, won picture and director Oscars and made money for both Paramount and Fox.
Happy with Disney
Now content to bankroll his vision and armed with his own overseas distribution and sales company, Gibson no longer goes hat in hand. Sources said at least two studios wanted the pic, but Gibson liked Disney, where he has a good relationship with Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. For its part, Disney agreed to Gibson’s tough deal terms.
Already, there is talk that Disney will program “Apocalypto” against the Warner Bros. film “Lady in the Water,” which just happens to be the first M. Night Shyamalan-directed film Disney hasn’t financed since the filmmaker’s breakthrough, “The Sixth Sense.”
For his part, Cook said he was confident “Apocalypto” fits the summer bill.
“We couldn’t be more excited about working again with Mel and his team,” said Cook. “This is one of the most original and unique scripts we’ve had the opportunity to read recently, and we plan for this to be an anchor of our summer schedule.”

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119 Responses to “Michael Fleming Delivers The Mel Details”

  1. Rory says:

    Mel might have left this planet sometime late last year, and we are now just discovering it has happened. Why would anyone want to see this film? Im a history nut that might get me in the theatre. Besides that group, whose going to see this flick? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Jim? Uncle Buck?

  2. lindenen says:

    Mayans will see this film!

  3. PastePotPete says:

    Maybe he can get Cruise to star in this. Just change it from Mayans to aliens who live in volcanoes and hate psychiatry. Oooh make it about Mayans who meet aliens who live in volcanoes and worship them. Or beat them for 45 minutes. Whatever works.

  4. KamikazeCamel says:

    I’ll see Lady in the Water if that’s the case, thank you very much.

  5. bicycle bob says:

    who won’t take a chance on mel? the guy is a proven moneymaker. in whatever language.

  6. Bruce says:

    Mel is great to work with from what I hear. Very focused. Very dedicated. Who isn’t interested in what he has to say? He proved with passion he can bring in a crowd.

  7. Terence D says:

    Rory, did you say that same thing before The Passion came out? I think a few people ended up seeing that. Mel is laughing at you all the way to the bank and then some.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    I am really interested to see how this one turns out, especially since he has stated that it has nothing to do with religion. I wonder if he will receive support from the religious community again, just because they feel a kinship to him after Passion.

  9. Cryptic Ned says:

    I would guess that maybe one in every thousand people who went to see The Passion of the Christ because of the subject matter will go to this movie if it has nothing to do with religion.
    It’s not like these people sit at home week after week, waiting for a movie from Mel Gibson. There’s lots of specifically Christian entertainment out there.

  10. BluStealer says:

    Christians like to see good movies too. I love how everyone thinks Christians just sit around waiting. Like they didn’t see Lethal Weapon and What Women Want and can actually think for themselves and see whatever strikes their fancy.
    Some people look upon religious people like they’re in a cult. That’s really sad.

  11. Andrew says:

    I never saw POTC but I love what Mel is doing. He has more money than God and is using it to make the movies he wants to make — how could anyone be against that?

  12. Stella's Boy says:

    I didn’t think that they sat around week after week waiting for a movie from Mel Gibson. But I think he has a lot of new fans after Passion, people who didn’t see his R-rated action flicks. I wonder how much interest they’ll have in this one, if they will make an effort to support him in the future because of Passion.

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    I am not talking about all Christians or all people who went to see Passion. But didn’t a lot of people who normally don’t care much for violent, R-rated movies go and see Passion because of what it’s about?

  14. BluStealer says:

    Now you’re double talking. You just said that
    “I am really interested to see how this one turns out, especially since he has stated that it has nothing to do with religion. I wonder if he will receive support from the religious community again, just because they feel a kinship to him after Passion.”
    So you think all these people will just follow him now because he made a movie about Jesus. I’m sure a few of these people took the time out to see Mad Max and Lethal Weapon.
    Faith based people get a bad rap from people not into faith and religion.

  15. Josh says:

    The guy does what he wants and makes what he wants. If he has new fans then thats great for him. But I really doubt that a huge portion of the population now sits around waiting for his next movie.

  16. Lota says:

    Blustealer–I thought Stella’s Boy was very clear and what he stated was not negative in any way. “Feeling a kinship”, as he said is NOT “so you think all these people will just follow him now becasue he made a movie about Jesus” which is what you said–how can you extrapolate that out of SB’s statement?
    I am also interested to see how this next movie turns out–if Mel attracted so many viewers solely becaue of the subject matter or will the same large numbers go to Mel’s next movie becasue they liked him/trust him to entertain as a filmmaker.

  17. Stella's Boy says:

    I clarified, BluStealer, because I realized that I wasn’t being specific enough. I didn’t mean to be so general. I realize that plenty of Christians saw Mad Max and the Lethal Weapon flicks. But isn’t it true that a large portion of Passion’s audience were people who normally wouldn’t see a violent, R-rated movie? Those are the people I wonder about. If they have completely moved on, or if they will continue to make an effort to support Gibson because of Passion.

  18. BluStealer says:

    He was really vague on the subject at first. Even he said as much so I asked him about it. Thats what discussion and the back and forth is all about, right?
    I’m sure a lot of people who saw The Passion were not big Mel fans until the movie. I’m sure a lot were. But thats a general statement that is really vague.
    I’m sure his new fans will be excited to see his next movie even if its not religiously based. It would be a phenomenon if it made Passion type money and the audience was solidly behind him.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m just trying to avoid trouble. Don’t want things to turn ugly.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    I respectfully suggest that it might be a good idea for all of us — yes, me too — to be careful while tossing around the word “Christian.” Because in many cases, what we really mean is some specific subset of Christians — born-agains, Evangelicals, Christian Conservatives, etc. And it’s worse than unfair, it’s downright inaccurate to tar everyone with the same brush. I mean, look, I am a Christian, but I don’t feel like I have a lot in common with, say, Pat Robertson.

  21. Lota says:

    So PAt Robertson dosn’t drink malt liquor?

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    What would be more appropriate terminology in this case Joe?

  23. Lota says:

    There is such a range re. Christians/christians–culturally Christian can mean a person doesn’t attend church/religious school ever but was baptized, all the way to acitivtist Christians who have some set of politics (liberal to conservative). But yes one word to describe all is impossible, but that seems to be the same with all religions as many people are in a culture but there is no faith base/overt practice.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    Lota: I suspect Pat is one of those folks who insist that Jesus turned the water into NON-ALCOHOLIC wine. (Don’t laugh: There are some Christians who make that argument.)
    StellBoy: That’s tricky. “Passion” definitely had more direct appeal to the Evangelicals and the Born Again crowd. But — and, oddly enough, this is one aspect of the movie’s success that I haven’t seen much written about — the movie also appeared to play VERY strongly with Hispanic Christians in Southwestern markets. Also, did this story get much play out side Houston: A guy who saw “Passion” went to the cops afterwards and confessed he had killed his wife or girlfriend (I forget which), long after he’d succeeded at making the death look like an accident. The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    I remember reading about that guy Joe. Everyone talks about how it played with Evangelicals and Born Agains and Christians. How did it play with Catholics? My parents are Catholic, but neither of them saw it. My Catholic friends had mixed feelings about it. I’m a lapsed Catholic and I hated it. But overall, I don’t remember much discussion about how Catholics felt about it.

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    Lapsed or devout? Catholics, I mean.

  27. Lota says:

    I am devoutly lapsed RC and half Jewish and I did not like Passion. But maybe that’s becasue we had Aramaic transl. in school and coptic history to boot so I had some issue with interpretations of the material and how Jewish folks were depicted in the picture.

  28. Lota says:

    by the way–the Pope liked it and told Mel so, he represented the very conservative wing of the RCs since “devout” does not mean conservative in the RC church. I know many devout RC who didn’t agree with the Pope on most things–they seemed to dislike Passion, whereas those who are more in tune with the Opus Dei seemed to hail the Passion.

  29. Nicol D. says:

    I agree. There is no market for this whatsoever. Mel Gibson has no track record for this sort of thing. The public will not go.
    The public wants more big budget vehicles about Che Guevera and homicidal lesbians. That’s where the money is!
    The track record shows this to be true. I’ll take the combined grosses of Motorcycle Diaries, Monster and Kinsey over this obvious crap anyday.
    Kudos to those execs that passed. Raises all around!

  30. Panda Bear says:

    No market for this? You wonder how many out of work suits said that about The Passion? Mel has earned the right to do whatever the heck he wants to. And even if he gets 30% of the audience The Passion did he’ll make a ton of cash.

  31. The genius of The Passion was his ability to turn a movie release into a cause celebre. THE LIBERAL ELITE DO NOT WANT YOU TO SEE THIS FILM. An R rated foreign language movie featuring native Mayan descendants speaking in dialect is not exactly Tarzan. It’s National Geographic. That will be the image he has to tackle in marketing this, IMO.

  32. Eric says:

    Wow, I admire many of you guys. After reading the initial report my first response was to think of Bill Goldman’s “In Hollywood nobody knows anything.” If this was anyone other than Mel (and that includes Mr. Lucas, Mr. Spielberg, or Mr. Bruckheimer) I’d dismiss it as laughable.
    But honestly, after spending much of last spring arguing with people on the Internet that the Passion was going to be “VERY successful” (in February I said it would make about $60M domestic, i.e., double Mel’s investment) and proven to correct (but ultimately WAY OFF), I can’t muster up enough courage to come up witha prediction on this one.
    Hell if I know anything.

  33. Clay says:

    I would say a “Christian” is somebody who believes Jesus Christ died for humanity’s sins and then rose from the dead.
    And I don’t see what separates that from a cult, aside from the number of adherents.

  34. Terence D says:

    Wow. Clay has said now the dumbest thing I have ever read here. And that is saying a lot. What goes through some peoples heads? I don’t think I want to know.

  35. Clay says:

    Why is that dumb? It’s not meant as an insult.
    I believe that is pretty much the dictionary defintion of Christianity.

  36. Jerri says:

    After POTC I was convinced that Gibson is a marketing genius.

  37. LesterFreed says:

    Clay quit while your ahead. Your slandering of Christians isn’t what this thread is all about. if you hate religious people so much I’m sure you can find a nice board for you and your hateful people to talk in. It’s really flat out insulting and ignorant.

  38. Clay says:

    My sincere apologies to anybody offended by my post, which I assure you was not intended to offend.
    I assure you, I do not hate religious people. (Let me clarify that, I’m sure there are certain religious people I hate, but I do not hate religious people as a rule any more than I hate people who wear hats or people who drive Fords).
    My point — which was a late response to someting BluStealer typed earlier in the thread — was that belief systems needn’t be measured against each other according to their perceived merit.
    If a “cult” is a group of people who believe extraordinary claims and follow a charismatic leader… aren’t most religions cults? (And should ‘cult’ be considered a bad word? I don’t consider it one.)

  39. bicycle bob says:

    u called religion and christianity a cult. how is that not offending anyone? u can say whatever u like. it is a free country but some things are just too wacky for words. thats one of them.

  40. Bruce says:

    All members of religion are now members of a cult. I have now heard it all.
    David Koresh was sane.
    I’m interested in any movie that Mel Gibson brings out. I like the fact that he doesn’t play it safe.

  41. Stella's Boy says:

    I think he asked valid questions (If a “cult” is a group of people who believe extraordinary claims and follow a charismatic leader… aren’t most religions cults? And should ‘cult’ be considered a bad word?) and neither of you made any attempt to answer them.

  42. Bruce says:

    Obviously, some people here are anti religion. That is fine. It is your right. But it doesn’t mean anyone has to listen to it or anyone isn’t insulted by your insensitive remarks. Grow up a little bit. Keep your focus on movies not on some space cadet crap.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    Some of you guys are way too sensitive. You’ve gotta be toughter than that, be able to take it without whining.
    Oh, I’m sorry, I was channeling someone else.

  44. bicycle bob says:

    some of u guys are really out of ur element when not sticking to discussing movies. its funny.

  45. anonymous says:

    i’m sorry bob, i forgot you have a PHD in film studies and work in hollywood. enlighten us.

  46. Josh says:

    Us Jews are a cult. Like Hare Krishna’s. It’s the whole brain washing thing. Come one, Come all.

  47. bicycle bob says:

    thats alright “anonymous”. u keep up the good work by preaching about how organized religion is really cults. i just like to sit back and listen and laugh. i’m not a talker. i just like learning from really smart people like u about these things on a blog about movies.

  48. BluStealer says:

    Just what this blog needs. A holy war fought by faith haters.
    Can we stay with movies and leave the religion stuff out of this? If you hate organized religion then go post about it on some other blog. Unless you aren’t reasonable.

  49. Lota says:

    I don’t think Clay meant “cult” in any negative way, and from my language studies I remember the root of the word is NOT negative: [ONLINE WEBSTER DICTIONARY]
    Main Entry: cult
    Pronunciation: ‘k&lt
    Function: noun
    Usage: often attributive
    Etymology: French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate
    1 : formal religious veneration : WORSHIP
    2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
    3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
    4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
    5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

  50. Stella's Boy says:

    Who said they were a faith hater? I missed that.

  51. BluStealer says:

    Lota,
    Why are you always defending what people say and trying to figure out the meanings of what they post? It’s right there in black and white. You can’t blame people for thinking he meant cult as in the cults you too thought he meant. These guys who have the courage to write about it can defend what they do say. Otherwise they shouldn’t go out on a limb like they do and post it especially here.
    Let’s end this holy stuff since it really has no place on this board.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, Lota, how dare you try to think about what people say?

  53. Lota says:

    I think it is better to figure out the meaning or try to get clarification before making assertions/assumptions that someone is double talking, or starting holy wars.
    Discussion religion/faith re. movies is an interesting subject as long as it is attempted with objectivity.
    Lastly,
    Lota is an equal opportunity Defender of peace, justice, honest blog postings, and David P’s “I have a dream” speeches on No Slump.
    [just kidding Dave…doesn’t seem much like slump this year]

  54. LesterFreed says:

    Talk like this makes my proud Church going Momma roll over in her grave. And she is mighty large and doesn’t like to move much. I do miss her cooking though. She made the best jerk chicken ever.
    i hope Mel Gibson can make this into a film as good as The Passion was. Then he’d continue making fans and believers. We can start a cult. The cult of Mel.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Back to the original topic: so Mel Gibson is sort of turning into a big-budget Werner Herzog, eh?

  56. Lota says:

    Maybe he should call his new picture “even Mayans started small”.
    Comparisons of Gibson to Herzog make me a little frightened Jeff.

  57. bicycle bob says:

    mels got the cash now to do whatever his heart desires. i like that he is taking real chances and not doing lethal weapon 8.

  58. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    “THE LIBERAL ELITE DO NOT WANT YOU TO SEE THIS FILM.”
    What an idiotic thing to say. One of the founding bases of liberalism is multi-culturalism (unlike right-wingers, who see everything in us-vs.-them terms). This sounds like a simple adventure film, with characters speaking in their native tongue instead of English. No liberal would ever object to that.
    Another basis of liberalism is the right to your own beliefs. Unlike right-wingers who boycott films with liberal stars, we’re perfectly content to see films by and with conservative talent, be it John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart or Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood. (The Duke once defined a liberal as “someone who’s gotta like everybody.”) In attempting to politicize a film that hasn’t even made yet, you betray your own prejudices.

  59. Clay says:

    Stella’s Boy and Lota understood what I was trying to say, and again, I didn’t mean to offend anybody.
    How thin a skin must you have to call me “ignorant,” “faith hater,” and “anti-religion” and accuse me of slander based on that post??
    Back to the subject at hand… good for Mel. It’s fascinating to see a legitimate Hollywood superstar “follow his heart” (God, that’s a sickening cliche) and make the movies he wants to make.

  60. Terence D says:

    Why would right wingers ever boycott a film with Liberal stars? Considering Hollywood is for the moment run by Liberals. That would mean 55% of the country boycotts most of the films out there and if that were true this slump talk would actually be true.
    Some Liberals live in paranoia.

  61. bicycle bob says:

    i guess u can call liberalism a cult since it is a dying movement now run by fanatics. when even its most hardcore members won’t even call themselves liberal u got a problem. but u don’t have that problem ldb. ur at least proud of who u are which is refreshing here.

  62. Clay says:

    I don’t think 55% of the country can be accurately described as “right-wingers.” And I don’t think the other 45% can be described as “liberal.”
    The extremists on the right are more likely to boycott a work of art based on its content (or who created it). The extremists on the left are more likely to defend any conceiveable piece of crap in the name of free speech. And that’s a relatively small number of people in each group.

  63. Josh says:

    Now I know why Cults are bad and should be avoided at all costs. I wouldn’t wish that Cult on my worst enemy.
    Mel deserves to do what he wants. He toiled for years making crap to finally get to this point. A point where he can make a movie with subtitles and have studios bidding for it.

  64. RP says:

    Brotherhood wrote: “THE LIBERAL ELITE DO NOT WANT YOU TO SEE THIS FILM.” What an idiotic thing to say. (snip) In attempting to politicize a film that hasn’t even made yet, you betray your own prejudices.
    Bro, the quote from Steve that you’re objecting to reflected his take on the marketing/publicity tactics employed by Gibson on The Passion…*not* what he predicts will be the focus of the Apocalypto campaign.

  65. jeffmcm says:

    Bob, I don’t think LDB/JW is on this page. He has a very distinctive writing style.

  66. Mark says:

    There Liberals go again. Making an issue about nothing. Why does there have to be a huge explanation for the success of The Passion? Now everything Mel Gibson does will be viewed skeptically by a select portion of the crowd.

  67. jeffmcm says:

    What are you talking about? Of course there needs to be a huge explanation for The Passion. It was an unusual movie and it made an exceptional amount of money. Usual explanations don’t apply.

  68. Mark says:

    Maybe it was what they call a phenomenon. If you didn’t hate religion you might run with that idea. I know what you people are trying to do with it. Blame religion and religious groups. They must be crazy people. Not everyone hates organized religion. Even some Liberals.

  69. Stella's Boy says:

    Did jeff say he hates religion and religious groups? Did anyone here say that? Did anyone here call religious people crazy? I must have missed all that.

  70. jeffmcm says:

    To say that The Passion’s success was “a phenomenon” is to decide to not want to understand it’s success, which was obviously grassroots marketing and interest in the source material, plus a well-crafted product. There’s not much mystery.
    What do you think I was blaming religion for? Success?

  71. Angelus21 says:

    I didn’t realize there were so many Jesus haters here.
    You guys obviously don’t sit around praying that Mel fails. Hoping is more like it.

  72. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m not hoping Gibson fails. I’m hoping that I like his next movie more than I liked Passion. That’s all.

  73. Mark says:

    Religion and this crowd really don’t go together.

  74. Stella's Boy says:

    Religion and what crowd?

  75. jeffmcm says:

    Same here. I liked Braveheart. Weren’t Terrence Malick and Gibson teaming up on some project? Could it be this one?

  76. jeffmcm says:

    Mark, you’re not making yourself understood.

  77. Joe E says:

    Many people have gotten rich off of Jesus’ name. Mel is just one of them. I think if you put THAT SAME MOVIE out in theaters, except with Quentin Tarantino’s name on it, there would have been riots. Christians saying that Hollywood “bloodied up” there savior. But no, it was directed by a fundemental christian and the masses took notice.

  78. Stella's Boy says:

    That’s an interesting point. What would have happened if Tarantino made the exact same movie rather than Gibson? Change nothing, save for QT in place of the name Mel Gibson.

  79. Joe E says:

    That’s what I thought was brilliant about the selling of the movie, “This is fundamental Christian Mel Gibson’s movie, not liberal hollywood’s. Bring the family.”
    So why I thought it was crazy how open Mel was with his strict views of church, this garnered others to rally and see the movie.
    I didn’t hate this movie, but I hated what a big deal was made of it.

  80. Lota says:

    Jeffmcm:
    do you mind that i put your quote on my stationery /memos for awhile?
    “Yeah, Lota, how dare you try to think about what people say?”
    It looks good with my confused cartoon face. Just asking, thanks (seriously).

  81. Rory says:

    Okay. I have the first post in this topic discussing Mel being a space case, and that I would probably see this film. Due to my love of history and the such, and this Terence D guy attacks me out of the bat? Terence, please learn to decipher when a person is talking about Apocoalypto and not the Passion. There are serious marketing and a distribution aspects about a film, using a foreign language, not with the help of one of the greatest stories ever told, and so on. How can these points not be seen as valid? Now we cant question Mel Gibson? Did he become infallable because of one film, or are some of you fine people deciding to just ignore Lethal Weapon 4? The Passion has nothing to do with this film. New film, new story, and so on.
    Also, as a person who believes in God, her kid, and that kid’s shadow. In what world does this religious furor on this site bear any difference between that of Red Sox and Yankees fans? Nothing has ever been wrong with faith. Yet, carrying on as if religion is a sporting event. Absolutely baffles me. Disagree with me all you want. Yet, what about Christ’s message ever dealt with insulting people because they do not agree with YOUR accessment. About the religion created from his teachings. Celebrate Diversity for Christ’s sake.

  82. RP says:

    Comment: That’s an interesting point. What would have happened if Tarantino made the exact same movie rather than Gibson? Change nothing, save for QT in place of the name Mel Gibson. >>>
    Ask Martin Scorsese. 🙁

  83. oldman says:

    Just what is the story of this movie?

  84. joefitz84 says:

    You really have to give Mel Gibson credit. He really doesn’t care what the industry or people think and he makes what he wants. Anyone that can respect that type of freedom is lying to themselves.

  85. PastePotPete says:

    It’s about Tom Cruise and the Mayan alien worshippers. The aliens live in volcanoes and the mayans beat them. Kirsty Alley plays either a pyramid or a volcano, I forget.

  86. joefitz84 says:

    Taking religious advice from the posters here? Do yourself a favor and don’t.

  87. Lota says:

    “Ask Martin Scorsese. 🙁 ”
    by that RP I presume you mean The Last Temptation of Christ.
    I read that book when I was 10 and thought it was just beautiful. The movie was pretty good, but I couldn’t help but feeling slight letdown with the interpretation even though Willem Dafoe is one of my favorite people. I think books that have a lot of psychology/imagination/magic are really hard to make a movie of that would be short enough (and it already was ~2.5 h as it was).
    The protests about this movie were unreal–often people protesting it had no idea what the movie was about nor did they read the book. I’m glad I saw it in Europe.

  88. Stella's Boy says:

    Good point Rory. Jesus would not tolerate insulting people.

  89. joefitz84 says:

    Jesus would also not want someone disrespecting his life and religion and the people that devote their lives to his teachings.

  90. Josh says:

    The Passio of The Christ was a much better effort than Last Temptation. This is coming from a big fan of Marty S. I liked Last but it didn’t bring what The Passion did.

  91. Lota says:

    The only thing I can see that Passion brought to the screen that Temptation didn;t was a very long execution & blame for the crucifiction by Inference.
    I just don’t feel like the Passion had a plot but a series of scenes. I don’t think Temptation was MS’s best movie but there was a story/plot easier for me to make sense of than the sort of violence that was in Passion.
    mel said in several interviews that the movie was in part attonement for his bad behavior towards his family (drinking & treatment of his wife etc) so maybe the graphic violence in Passion was his Own mourning rather than the Anointed One’s.
    It certainly wasn’t a documentary.

  92. Stella's Boy says:

    Who is disrespecting Jesus and his teachings around here? Nothing but love for Jesus in these parts. And I hated Passion. Temptation is a vastly superior film.

  93. Panda Bear says:

    How is Last Temptation a superior film? They’re completely different films.

  94. Panda Bear says:

    Do Lota and Stella’s Boy agree on every issue and everything that comes up or they just the same guy? They’re like the Batman and Robin of the board sans the whimsy.

  95. Lota says:

    Lota and Stella’s Boy do not agree on every issue and do not necessarily like the same movies. i have a feeling our favorite movies would differ quite a bit since I am partial to pre-code.
    Lota does not drink Malt Liquor or Cisco unlike “the men of the Ho Blog”.
    Lota is female, type B blood(don;’t get carried away Dave if you truly are a vampire as per Hot Button today), and a warrior built to outlast even the dumbest innuendo on this board.
    Sorry to disappoint Panda.

  96. David Poland says:

    Just wanna say… some challenging stuff going on here today… and pleased that it never seems to have gotten petty and inappropriately personal. Thanks.

  97. Rory says:

    Joe, I doubt Jesus would care. His beliefs, and your beliefs, should not require that other’s mandatorily adhere to them. If you have a problem with such a point. Then the onus, dear sir, has been put on you. Not any other poster on this blog.

  98. jeffmcm says:

    Comparing Last Temptation and The Passion is actually a really interesting question, and they’re kind of mirror images of each other, I think. The Passion reaches for its spirituality via physicality and up-close images of a tortured body. Last Temptation is a more intellectualized movie that reaches for its spirituality in defiance of physicality (in this case sex). Please note that I’m not assigning value to either version. I’m interested in knowing how others compare them.

  99. KamikazeCamel says:

    Just thought I’d ask: If they actually advertise this as from the director of Passion of the Christ, sure it will get some extra bums in seats but will it also take some out?
    I know a few (inc. christians) who have no desire to see anything related to PotC because that was so bad.
    Another thing: Somebody up there said they like Gibson because he doesn’t keep it safe. Apart from PotC what exactly hasn’t been safe? The romantic comedies? the buddy cop movies? a historical epic or two?
    I used to like him but I lost interest long ago. Passion just confirmed that even moreso.

  100. Lota says:

    i kinda think the opposite Jeff–Temptation was very mystical and avoiding the intellectual (and the book had no intellectualism at all-it was all the way into the mystic) whereas I saw POTC rushing headlong into the physical with very little thought given to the multidimensional mystic he must have been, even in his last hours.

  101. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe I’m stating myself wrong then – if LT isn’t intellectual, then it’s certainly neurotic and thoughtful in a way that Passion isn’t, with it’s emphasis on direct visual agony. LT has a complicated plot. Aside from the various visions I didn’t think of it as especially mystical.

  102. Lota says:

    i am probably remembering some of the mysticism from the book more than the movie, but it is more mystical than POTC. STop posting so I can make my deadline (which I actually missed already). dammit

  103. Joe Leydon says:

    Lota: Men of the Ho Blog? You rang?

  104. Lota says:

    “Men of the Ho Blog”
    Maybe y’all should do a calendar. I think I’d prefer the NY firefighters calendar, but heck I might even buy one, moved by pity when sales are poor.
    Each one of you could pose with your favorite bottle of alcoholic swill. Dave probably should get two months, one for the Ho Blog and one for the Ho Button, since he’s the Boss Ho and all.
    Send it to the studio heads, that’d put the fear in ’em [and they thought all this time they were the biggest Hos]

  105. bicycle bob says:

    compared directly i would go with passion. but for rewatching i’d go with last temptation. once maybe twice is all u really need from the passion. scorsese wasn’t into goring his audience. he leaves that to the mobsters.

  106. SRCputt says:

    I would definitely argue Braveheart was a gutsy move. Epics were not exactly in vogue at that time, and to try and tackle an epic in only your second directing job?
    I have to admire his decision to make Passion as it was a decision not decided by marketing or by profit but made purely for other reasons. Now that Mel has a few hundred million in his pocket is what is so intriguing. He could literally make 8 25 million dollar movies, have them all bomb, and still be fine. So what does a man in that position do?

  107. Rory says:

    Playing it safe might have led to Mel filming a battle that occured on a bridge, and put it onto a field in Braveheart. That always bugged and confused me. He couldnt think of a way to shoot a bridge? Come on.

  108. Lota says:

    There were alot of complaints in the UK and France when Braveheart was getting close to completion about the historical inaccuracies etc. Still was an enjoyable movie. I LOVE McGoohan! (The Prisoner rocks), and David Ohara (In order to converse with an equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.) was stereotyped but still very funny. SO Mel made it colorful enough it wasn’t a bore despite the incoherent history and the desperate bad DUran Duran blow dry hair of “Robert the Bruce”.

  109. jeffmcm says:

    If you have a tight budget, one of the easiest decisions to make is going to be to move a battle on a bridge to a field. How do you even FIGHT a battle on a bridge?

  110. Lota says:

    Jeff–
    very carefully.

  111. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    “Brotherhood wrote: “THE LIBERAL ELITE DO NOT WANT YOU TO SEE THIS FILM.” What an idiotic thing to say. (snip) In attempting to politicize a film that hasn’t even made yet, you betray your own prejudices.
    Bro, the quote from Steve that you’re objecting to reflected his take on the marketing/publicity tactics employed by Gibson on The Passion…*not* what he predicts will be the focus of the Apocalypto campaign.”
    Well, if that is indeed true–although I didn’t interpret that way–then the statement is even more idiotic. What producer or rep would alienate half the audience by proclaiming that they’re trying to bury the film? Pure and simple, he’s attempting to score points by introducing a political agenda to a film that in all likelihood doesn’t have one.

  112. Clay says:

    Brotherhood, you still aren’t getting it… his “LIBERAL ELITE” comment was about The Passion, not about this new film.
    And he’s right… the film was marketed (at a grass roots level) as something the “elite” were against because of its core values. That’s one of the reasons churches were busing people in to see it.
    It was a brilliant strategy, really.

  113. Brotherhood, if you weren’t aware of the publicity campaign Mel used to see “The Passion” — characterized by me as “THE LIBERAL ELITE DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE THIS PICTURE” — then you weren’t paying attention. Mel characterized the film as “the real Jesus story” that Hollywood is afraid to tell. It was promoted to churches as an evangelical tool. His entire marketing campaign was “underground” to the evangelical Christian community. It was invisible in the major media except to people like Frank Rich who he was able to use to his advantage.
    >This sounds like a simple adventure film, with characters speaking in their native tongue instead of English. No liberal would ever object to that.
    Well, that was my point. The natural audience for the new film is liberal film lovers, the very audience Mel chased off from “The Passion.” This new one sounds more like a film Herzog might make. It’ll be interesting to see how he markets this. Ya gotta give Mel credit. He does know how to market his movies.

  114. Sanchez says:

    Liberal Elite is becoming an oxymoron. Like Jumbo Shrimp.

  115. jeffmcm says:

    Another thing liberal elite and jumbo shrimp have in common: they’re awesome! especially in fajitas.
    What are the ‘core values’ of The Passion that the ‘elite’ were against? Bloody sacrifice?

  116. Rory says:

    How on earth can one have discourse with another. When one group, for some unknown reason, feel as if they are morally superior? How exactly does this work? It’s as if some on here just do not respect some people’s views. Yet when their views get challenged. They attack in ways the likes of which the internet has always seen.

  117. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    “Brotherhood, if you weren’t aware of the publicity campaign Mel used to see “The Passion” — characterized by me as “THE LIBERAL ELITE DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE THIS PICTURE” — then you weren’t paying attention. Mel characterized the film as “the real Jesus story” that Hollywood is afraid to tell. It was promoted to churches as an evangelical tool. His entire marketing campaign was “underground” to the evangelical Christian community.”
    I acknowledge my mistake in attributing it to the wrong picture, but that still doesn’t change the core contention: that alienating a large segment of your audience is no way to do business. Now you may reply, “But PASSION did $370 million!” To which I reply, “But if the publicity hadn’t been so negative, it might’ve been $570 million!” I find it difficult to believe that conservative Christians went to see the movie solely because they thought doing so would piss off liberals.

  118. >What are the ‘core values’ of The Passion that the ‘elite’ were against?
    Evangelicalism. The movie was being promoted as a way to evangelize your neighbor. This was “the real Jesus,” according to Mel. Of course, evangelicals (and I used to be one) weren’t savvy to realize that what Mel filmed was the Catholic doctrine of pain=glory. Flog yourself into heaven.
    >I find it difficult to believe that conservative Christians went to see the movie solely because they thought doing so would piss off liberals.
    Then you know nothing about conservative Christians. They’d do ANYTHING to piss off liberals. 🙂

  119. Cat says:

    This project reminds me of a movie that was made in the 70’s called “Chac”. It used indigenous actors from the Chiapas area of Mexico spoken in the native Mayan dialect. A beautiful little film about a village’s quest for rain to end a drought. Perhaps Mel’s movie will spur interest in this film too.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt