The roller coaster that is Mel Gibson just got thrown for yet another loop.
It looks like Gibson and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas won't be collaborating any further on that epic about Jewish hero Judah Maccabee, as Eszterhas' script has been rejected by both the director and Warner Bros., according to The Wrap.
Jewish groups were outraged after news broke last September that Gibson — who had delivered a now-infamous anti-Semitic public rant back in 2006 — had reached a production deal with WB to direct the story of Judah Maccabee, whose victory over Greek and Syrian armies in 2nd century B.C. is celebrated at Hanukkah. One Jewish group called it "a moral lapse in judgment."
Eszterhas, who wrote such B-movie guilty pleasures as "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls" as well as politically- and religiously-charged thrillers such as "Betrayed" and "Music Box," delivered a draft of the script (called "The Maccabees") in late February. Both Gibson and Warner Bros. have passed on it, with Warner production president Greg Silverman described it as lacking in "feeling" and "a sense of triumph." The studio has put an official hold on the film, with a WB spokesman telling The Wrap, "We are analyzing what to do with the project."
Eszterhas has since responded to the rejection by writing another epic: a nine-page letter to Gibson that paints a disturbing picture of the filmmaker as a potentially dangerous man who's obsessive anti-Semitism has rendered him completely psychotic.
"I've come to the conclusion that the reason you won't make 'The Maccabees' is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews," writes Eszterhas — and that's one of the nicer things he says about Gibson in his letter, which describes in great detail the angry, passionate and even dangerous rants in which the filmmaker would indulge during their collaboration.
Gibson has since responded to Eszterhas with a considerably shorter and much calmer letter, which was posted on Deadline. Gibson writes, "Both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor."
Gibson also attempts to put an end to the entire matter by closing with, "I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication."
We wonder if that's going to be the case. This could certainly end here — or this could be only the beginning to the Gibson-Eszterhas War. Stay tuned for any and all updates on this situation that has set a new standard for the term "creative differences."
Meanwhile, we're picturing WB execs nervously fidgeting in their seats and musing, "Um, maybe we should just make another 'Sherlock Holmes' movie ..."