Mel Gibson has gotten into a bit of a spat with famed Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) over his proposed big budget production chronicling ancient Jewish hero, Judah Maccabee, that the scribe was supposed to pen for Gibson to direct and possibly star.
Eszterhas went on an all out attack on Gibson after his script for the film was rejected by the superstar and funding studio Warner Bros. He basically said Gibson was only doing it for PR and made a series of anti-semitic remarks during meetings. Eszterhas has not come out of this well, and many outlets are questioning why he didn't pull out of the project sooner on moral grounds instead of waiting until his script was rejected. Gibson released the following response to the claims:
I have your letter. I am not going to respond to it line by line, but I will say that the great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in your letter are utter fabrications. I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script.
I will acknowledge like most creative people I am passionate and intense. I was very frustrated that when you arrived at my home at the expense of both Warner Brothers and myself you hadn’t written a single word of a script or even an outline after 15 months of research, meetings, discussions and the outpouring of my heartfelt vision for this story. I did react more strongly than I should have. I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive. Let me now clearly apologize to you and your family in the simplest of terms.
Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 years ago. I absolutely want to make this movie; it’s just that neither Warner Brothers nor I want to make this movie based on your script.
Honestly, Joe, not only was the script delivered later than you promised, 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.
I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication.
I loved Eszterhas' book Hollywood Animal - he's a real character. But this seems like a whole lot of back and forth over money more than anything. We await the Eszterhas' response.