At Passover-time, only one thing is as constant as the dry taste of matzo: the inevitable reruns of “The Ten Commandments.” While I have tremendous respect for the immovable classic, and Charlton Heston (or Old Stoneface, as he’s affectionately known in my family), 56 years is a good long run. It’s time for a change.
“But what about the Prince of Egypt!” you may cry out. I know, I know. But when you were gleefully singing along to “When You Believe,” did you realize that the person behind Moses’ voice was Val Kilmer? Or that Sandra Bullock played Miriam? I thought not.
After thinking long and hard about who could lead such an ambitious project, it hit me. Who better to lead a reinterpretation of Exodus than the king of historical reinterpretations?
Yes, you guessed it.
I give you my fantasy “Ten Commandments” remake, Quentin Tarantino-style (just imagine the parting of the Dead Sea scene. It already has the word “dead” in it).
Many Jewish moviegoers will be pleased to know that Mel Gibson has nothing to do with the soon-to-be-produced prequel to “The Passion of the Christ,” and that a young Israeli actress has quite a lot to do with it. Fifteen-year-old Odeya Rush has been cast for the title role in “Mary, Mother of Christ.” The movie will also star major talents Ben Kingsley and Julia Ormond.
The film, which will begin filming in Malta, Jordan and California this August, chronicles the life of the Virgin Mary from childhood through young adulthood. Producers decided not to hire a number of actresses of different ages, believing that Rush is up to the challenge of portraying Jesus’s mother from ages 8 through 19.
The sheriff’s deputy who arrested actor Mel Gibson and was the subject of his anti-Semitic rant should be able to take his workplace discrimination case before a jury, a Los Angeles judge ruled.
James Mee, who is Jewish, says he was subject to religions discrimination and a hostile work environment after arresting Gibson in 2006. He wants to take his case before a judge and jury.
Mee claims that his supervisors ordered him to remove Gibson’s anti-Semitic remarks from the official incident report, placing them instead in a confidential supplemental report. He claims he was passed over for promotions in the department because he complained about purging the report.
Mee was accused of leaking his original report to the media, but he was investigated and found to be not culpable.
The trial will begin next month. Gibson could potentially be called as a witness.
Mel Gibson, the Hollywood star so tarnished by anti-Semitism that a foul-mouthed tirade of bigotry can be called “doing a Gibson,” is in talks with Warner Brothers to develop a film about Judah Maccabee — the Jewish hero of Hanukkah, also known as Judah the Hammer.
Reportedly joining up with Hungarian-American Joe Eszterhas, who wrote “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls,” Gibson is, seemingly, attempting to resurrect a career which went south with the 2004’s oddball “The Passion of the Christ” and went souther when he told Jewish police officer James Mee, “F–king Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Although it’s not confirmed what part Gibson is looking to play, there would be a strange poetic justice if he were able to attain forgiveness from Hollywood and the cinemagoing public by playing a fundamentalist religious zealot who, by opposing the global superpower of the age using terrorism, was able to drive western civilization out of the Middle-East.
Of course, if he doesn’t want to play Judah Maccabee he could always play the antagonist: historical Jew-killer and opponent of Jewish self-governance, King Antiochus. Either way, forget about a drop of sanctified oil staying alight for the eight days that it took to produce more, the real miracle of Hanukkah will be Gibson avoiding getting a hammering for messing with the Maccabees.
Addendum: Jeffrey Goldberg details his meeting with Mel Gibson in which they discuss hanging weights on penises to reverse circumcision.
Here’s how it seems to work at the Cannes Film Festival: organizers are happy to show your film even if you’re famously anti-Semitic — please just don’t make any weird comments on the premises.
That’s one way to interpret the events of the last few days, particularly after today’s announcement that Lars von Trier, the oddball Danish director, has been officially declared “persona non grata” at the festival.
The designation follows von Trier’s totally bonkers performance yesterday at a press conference for “Melancholia,” his latest film, at which he — jokingly? — said he can “sympathize” with Hitler. (Poor Kirsten Dunst was trapped onstage, squirming with increasing discomfort as his bizarre remarks went on.)
Another day, another anti-Semitic tirade from a celebrity. This time, the culprit is John Galliano, fashion icon and (until about an hour ago) head designer of Christian Dior.
Galliano pulled a Mel Gibson last night at Paris’s trendy La Perle bar and restaurant, where he was arrested for hurling anti-Semitic taunts at a couple dining there. According to the London Telegraph, the 50-year-old mega-designer “swore heavily, using anti-Jewish insults, before attacking [the] couple.” (Making anti-Semitic remarks is illegal in France and punishable with up to six months in the slammer.)
Winona Ryder, the 90s star who can be seen starring alongside Natalie Portman in the newly released film “Black Swan,” is sharing some not-so-warm Mel Gibson memories. Turns out, Gibson’s racist tirades, which have come into the spotlight in the past few years, actually date back over a decade.
Ryder, 39, whose career was dampened due to a little shoplifting scandal, is now back on the acting scene, and she’s talking about the past. US Magazine reports that in an interview with GQ Magazine, Ryder discusses how 15 years ago, “at one of those big Hollywood parties,” Gibson had a few too many drinks and was acting out. She explains, “I was with my friend, who’s gay. [Gibson] made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it.”
It’s been quite the month for antisemitic comments and conspiracies. Just as the new ADL report reveals the continual presence of antisemitic incidents in American lives and online, a number of comments from celebs have brought the strain of bias back into the spotlight. First there was Mel Gibson’s alleged antisemitic threats against TMZ founder Harvey Levin, (really, Mel. We’re shocked. Shocked!) providing the backdrop for gossip wars between Radar and TMZ, the latter of which oddly claims the threats were negligible.
Then, hot on Mel’s bizarre and sad heels came the disheartening comments from Oliver Stone ( for which he has since apologized ), complaining about how the Jew-controlled media overemphasizes the whole “Holocaust” part of the Holocaust. This was particularly distressing news because darn it, Stone makes great movies!
Long before Mel Gibson’s racist, sexist rants to girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva went public, I had been a victim of Mel’s, in a way.
Gibson’s fans seem to be surprised at his transformation from legendary action hero to belligerent drunk. Yet, throughout his decadent decline — from making 2004’s “Passion of the Christ” to slurring Jewish epithets at police officers during a 2006 DUI arrest to his latest, perhaps most damning tirades — I remained nonplussed, even gleeful about his downfall. Fourteen years ago he had crushed my dreams.
As a 10 year old, I got a role as an extra on “Ransom,” a big-budget Hollywood production starring Mel Gibson and Renee Russo and directed by Ron Howard.