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Saturday, February 03, 2018
Mel Gibson making sequel to ‘Passion Of The Christ’ and why Jews should be worried
The Jewish Daily Forward
It was a cultural phenomenon that raked in $600 million at the box office and is still the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. Years
later people are still questioning just how anti-Semitic “The Passion
Of the Christ” really was. Mel Gibson, the star vehicle driving the
movie to its bloody, sadomasochistic conclusion, famously refused to
hire any Jewish consultants to oversee the film. The Jews in “The
Passion Of The Christ” relish their cruelty, kicking Jesus when he is
down, while the Romans of the film are shown occasionally behaving with
compassion towards Jesus. There was concern about how this would affect
inter-faith relations, dismay that the film perpetuated the anti-Semitic
idea that the Jews killed Jesus, and a entire ADL Q&A page about it.
Now, Mel Gibson is planning to do it again. Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in the first film, confirmed to USA Today that
he would be reprising his role in the sequel. “There are things that I
cannot say that will shock the audience,” he said. “It’s great. Stay
tuned.” In a November 2016 interview on
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Gibson reported that he already
begun to work on “The Resurrection,” as he was calling the sequel.
Gibson’s never been the biggest fan of the Jewish people. “The Jews are
responsible for all the wars in the world!” he shouted during a 2006 DUI arrest. In
2011, he pled no contest to battery charges against his girlfriend. On
his TV apology tour, he confessed that “Lebanon and Israel had been at
it that day,” and that “the Jews were not blameless.”
Mel Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, is an outspoken Holocaust denier. In 2003, he told the New York Times to
“Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what
it takes to get rid of a dead body. It takes one liter of petrol and 20
minutes. Now, 6 million?” Mel Gibson has never denounced, or
acknowledged, his father’s words.
world ready for a “Passion of The Christ” sequel? The polarized
political landscape of 2018 is very different from the environment the
2004 blockbuster was created in. Can a movie like this, propelled by the
star power of a man known for his anti-Semitic views, ever achieve the
same level of worldwide acclaim as its predecessor?
“I don’t understand why after 10 years it’s any kind of issue,” Gibson complained to Variety
recently. “I’ve also been around long enough to recognize that
Hollywood will welcome back just about anyone that might bring in a
dollar,” Joshua Malina, West Wing actor and one of Gibson’s most
outspoken critics, told the Post.
Passion Of The Christ” established that there was a market, both
American and international, for religious oriented films. It practically
created that market when it received a slew of endorsements from a
who’s who of American Christians, including a disputed one from the Vatican.
market his films at evangelical Christians, newly empowered in the
Trump presidency, and run the risk of alienating more moderate and
liberal viewers? And more importantly, in this era of increasing
anti-Semitism and hostility towards Jews, does the world need “The
Resurrection” at all?