Mel Gibson’s new film “Maccabee”, about the Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee who led his army against Greek and Persian forces in the story of Hanukkah, has been shelved by Warner Brothers.
“We are analyzing what to do with the project,” a studio spokesman told TheWrap.
The move comes just days after the film’s scriptwriter, Joe Eszterhas, published a scathing letter to Gibson.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews,” Estzerhas wrote.
Gibson responded by saying the quality of Eszterhas’s script was the reason the film’s production was put on hold.
“In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor.”
Gibson’s portrayal of the Jewish warrior has sparked controversy since the news broke that the actor would star in the Maccabee film.
“Not only has Mel Gibson shown outward antagonism toward Jews and Judaism in his public statements and actions, but his previous attempt to bring biblical history to life on the screen was marred by anti-Semitism,” the Anti Defamation League said.
A Rabbi representing the Simon Weisenthal Center said that casting Gibson as Judah Maccabee was like “casting Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
In 2006, Gibson was stopped for driving while intoxicated in California and proceeded to yell at police, saying that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” As The Algemeiner reported back in February, Eszterhas, who once denied that Gibson showed a hatred towards Jews, changed his stance after the 2006 incident.
“So that was it. Ball game. Open and shut. No doubt now. Mel was a raving antisemite. The man who had composed his prayer of a movie about Christ shared the mind-set of Adolf Hitler,” he wrote in a memoir.
This is not the first time a Warner Brothers film involving Gibson has had issues since his 2006 tirade. The actor’s role in The Hangover Part II was taken away after members of the film crew protested Gibson’s involvement.