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Mel Gibson is not giving up or going away - words on Vikings, Maccabees, and Mad Max

02.08.2012

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Mel Gibson, as we all know, has had a rather rough go of it of late. And yet, despite all he has said and the fact that I myself am Jewish, I still root for the guy. I'll admit that. He's made some of the best, most entertaining, and most affecting films I have ever seen, and for that I will gladly respect and appreciate the man. So it gives me great joy to report to you that two of Gibson's past-mentioned projects are in no way dead due to his troubles, but are instead making slow but steady progress towards production.  It was at a recent MAD MAX screening event in Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre where Gibson spoke, revealing some interesting insights:

On Vikings:

"Vikings, as you know, are very unsympathetic characters and these guys will be bad. I sort of hooked up again with Randall Wallace who did the script on Braveheart.  Yeah, it's pretty good. It's called Berserker." And upon being asked whether the Viking helmets would bear horns as per some previous depictions, Gibson said "they did not have horns. No, I don't think they had horns. They're going to look real.  They're not going to be running around like the '50s (referencing Richard Fleischer's 1958 pic The Vikings starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis). I want to make something real and visceral."  Once upon a time Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to star and William Monahan (THE DEPARTED, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN) was set to write the script, but they've long since left.  Which is just fine by Gibson.  "Things begin and people wander off and do their thing and I do my thing. I just took my stuff and wrote it with Randall. Where it goes from here is anyone's guess."  Sadly, Gibson gave no insight as to whether the film will still be in the Old Norse and Anglo Saxon languages.

Mel Gibson wields a broadsword

On Maccabees:

"I'm working with Joe Eszteras on that. That's from the last two books of the Old Testament, which is like; [turns to audience] just read it some time. Maccabee 1 and 2. Just read it, it's like a Western. It's an amazing story. It's heroic beyond belief. The entire might of the Seleucid Empire, which was Persia, their whole objective at the time was to wipe Judea off the map and they almost did it except for this little hold out that miraculously grew and wanted it all back again."

Mel Gibson wears makeup and a suit

On MAD MAX:

"I like that kid [George's] got, Tom Hardy. He's a very interesting actor. He reminds me of one my sons a bit but I had lunch with him, he's a firecracker. It'll be good. He was already cast [at the time], he just wanted to check in. I don't know, maybe it was like 'Is it okay?' I was like 'Sure, it's fine. Have a ball, knock yourself out. I got better things to do.'"

Mel Gibson directing Apocalypto

You can watch the full interview/Q&A in its entirety here. Is Mel Gibson making a movie about the Maccabees by way of "apology" as some people have claimed? I don't know.  I also don't care.  The man makes damn fine films that affect, entertain, and inspire me in the way I believe films should, and I know I'll be there opening day.  Also, and I don't know if you caught this already when it last made rounds on the internet, but below is a video of Robert Downey Jr. (another guy who once upon a time had some very rough and harmful years) asking forgiveness for Mel Gibson.  And considering the two standing ovations Gibson received at the recent MAD MAX screening, maybe it's time after all.

Extra Tidbit: From what I understand, the MAD MAX project with Hardy is the same story that was going to be shot with Gibson back in 2003 - that project was delayed due to the impending invasion of Iraq and eventually fell by the wayside.

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