Mel Gibson is set to work on a film about Judah Maccabee, the Jewish warrior whose ancient victory over the Greek-Syrian armies is celebrated by Jews worldwide with the festival of Hanukkah.
The LA Times reports that Gibson is developing the picture with Warner Bros. with his own Icon Productions sealing the producing deal. The star will decide if he'll direct - or maybe even act - in the film following the completion of the script, which is to be written by Joe Eszterhas. However, such news it likely to be met with controversy following ongoing accusations that the Australian is anti-Semitic; those claims came after Gibson was arrested in 2006, with subsequent remarks made while in custody viewed as racist and reported nationwide.
The Anti-Defamation League in the US has already issued a statement saying that "As a hero of the Jewish people and a universal hero in the struggle for religious liberty, Judah Maccabee deserves better," and going on to add "It would be a travesty to have the story of the Maccabees told by one who has no respect and sensitivity for other people's religious views."
Entertainment news site TMZ, meanwhile, spoke to RABBI MARVIN HIER - founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center that focuses on the travesties of racism and the holocaust - and were told that Gibson working on the movie is "like having a white supremacist portray Martin Luther King Jr." Such words are unlikely to deter the 55 year-old who previously met controversy when portraying religion while directing 2004's 'The Passion Of The Christ.'