TheWrap.com exclusively reported earlier today that Mel Gibson's proposed Maccabee film project has been shelved.
But the news for Gibson just got much, much worse. The accusations made by Gibson's collaborator on the project could do far more than kill a particular project if the source in this instance can be trusted. It could further tarnish Gibson's image, even if the actor vehemently denies the charges in question. (UPDATE: Gibson responds to the allegations)
Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, the mind behind "Basic Instinct," wrote the screenplay for Gibson's Maccabee film project. TheWrap.com is now reporting that Eszterhas wrote a nine-page letter to Gibson regarding the project, blasting Gibson as a Jew hater who repeatedly used anti-semitic slurs and had no intention of making a movie that paid tribute to a cherished Jewish figure.
In an explosive nine-page letter to Gibson obtained by TheWrap, the screenwriter wrote that the director of “The Passion of the Christ” never intended to make the movie about Jewish heroism, called “The Maccabees.”
Also read: Warner Bros. Shelves Mel Gibson Maccabee Movie (Exclusive)
Instead, Eszterhas said, Gibson announced the project “in an attempt to deflect continuing charges of anti-Semitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career.”
excerpt of eszterhas letter
He added: “I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make ‘The Maccabees’ is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews....”
On several occasions, said Eszterhas, Gibson “was wild, crazed, and explosive.”
The April 9 letter also recounts Gibson’s threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Gregorieva.
“You were raving at Oksana even after you’d reached a custody agreement over Luci,” their daughter, the letter says. “And then you were even more explicit about your threat: “I’m going to kill her! I’m going to have her killed!” You said you’d become friends with two FBI agents (or former FBI agents) and they were going to help you to kill her.”
Gibson’s anti-Semitic obsession was a leitmotif of working on the film together at Gibson’s homes in Malibu and Costa Rica, Eszterhas said.
"You continually called Jews 'Hebes' and 'oven-dodgers' and 'Jewboys.' It seemed that most times when we discussed someone, you asked 'He’s a Hebe, isn’t he?' You said most 'gatekeepers' of American companies were 'Hebes' who 'controlled their bosses' ... you said the Holocaust was 'mostly a lot of horseshit.' You said the Torah made reference to the sacrifice of Christian babies and infants. When I told you that you were confusing the Torah with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, ... you insisted 'it's in the Torah -- it's in there!' (It isn't)."
And he said Gibson told him that his intention in making “The Maccabees” was “to convert the Jews to Christianity.”
Is this a case of creative disagreement to the Nth power? Eszterhas has had a checkered past, leaving the film industry for an extended period and famously firing off a nasty letter to superagent Mike Ovitz with a litany of charges Ovitz denied. Could Eszterhas be taking advantage of Gibson's shoddy reputation at a vulnerable moment in the star's career? Would Gibson be so bold as to say such ugly things aloud?