CATEGORIES Movie NewsMel Gibson has some company in his quest to bring the story of Jewish leader Judah Maccabee to theaters. Producer Bruce Nash ('Modern Marvels') is planning his own version of the Hanukkah origin story, with eyes on making it either a film or a television miniseries. Obviously Nash isn't as high-profile as Gibson, but he also doesn't have Gibson's scandalous anti-Semitic baggage either. Nash's project has another edge: a finished script by Scott Abbott, who wrote 'Winchell' and co-wrote 'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' for HBO.
Gibson's project is set up at Warner Bros., but the script -- by 'Basic Instinct' screenwriter Joe Eszterhas -- is still in development. Despite his past, Gibson explained that he was inspired by the story of Maccabee, which features Old Testament-style battles involving elephants and a lead character who "just snapped."
Naturally, Jewish leaders have not been happy with Gibson's plans to tell the story, calling the project "an insult to Jews." Rabbi Marvin Hier of Los Angeles's Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance said, "Casting him as a director or perhaps as the star of Judah Maccabee is like casting Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or a white supremacist as trying to portray Martin Luther King Jr."
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