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mel gibson interview (was: 'Passion' shaping up as Gibson's lethal
 Peter T. Chattaway
 Aug 16, 2003 17:05 PDT 

On Thu, 14 Aug 2003, Michael D. Findlay wrote:

Thanks! I've only listened to the Mel Gibson interview (dated March 14)
so far, but I was surprised by this, at the 14:28 mark:

   Raymond Arroyo: There's a lot of Emmerich in here.
   Mel Gibson: There is, yeah.
   Arroyo: How did that -- how did you come across --
   Gibson: I thought you meant *Roland* Emmerich [who directed Gibson in
      The Patriot and also directed Godzilla and Independence Day]!
   Arroyo: No, no, not Roland Emmerich! [laughs] *Catherine* Emmerich!

And then there is this exchange, at the 29:24 mark, when Gibson is asked
to describe some of the "signs" which indicate, to him, that he has a
spiritual vocation to make this film -- he first talks about how various
religious groups have been getting rid of their libraries, selling them
off for a buck a book, and how he bought one of these libraries:

   Gibson: I was reaching up for a book one day, and I pulled it out, and
      the cover caught on the book next to it, and the book next to it
      fell out, and that was the Emmerich book, right?
   Arroyo: Dolorous Passion.
   Gibson: And I started looking at that and going, 'Oh, that's
      interesting! Wow, hey, wow, well, this is answering a lot of
      questions I've been asking!' And, um, uh, there was that.

He then goes on to describe how a total stranger happened to give him a
piece of Emmerich's habit out of the blue.

So ... after months of assertions by reporters, critics, scholars, and fan
web sites, this is the first time I have heard Gibson *himself* say that
the film is based on the visions of this stigmatic nun (visions which,
according to at least some scholars, reflect an anti-Semitic bias, but I
have not read the visions myself and couldn't say either way).

But wait -- hasn't Gibson been saying lately that Emmerich's visions do
*not* form a big part of his film? How is that possible, when everyone
who has read the script after shooting finished has claimed that it
borrows heavily from her visions, and when Gibson himself has made this
nun so central to his understanding of the passion?

Elsewhere, in light of the anti-Semitism debate, I thought this portion of
the interview was really interesting (beginning at 20:14):

   Gibson: I'm trying to make it as authentic as I possibly can, right
      down to the clothing, right down to the eating customs of the Jews
      of the old law, and to make it truly about people, a man born into
      the house of David, in Jerusalem -- I mean the Pharisees are all
      there and the --
   Arroyo: I saw Jim [Caviezel] the other day. This is the most Jewish
      looking Christ I've seen on film.
   Gibson: Well he should be!
   Arroyo: Yeah, normally he looks so Aryan -- I mean, gosh!
   Gibson: Sure, yeah, they've usually got that blue-eyed guy, and Jim has
      blue eyes --
   Arroyo: Yes he does.
   Gibson: -- but I'm going to change that, digitally; I'll make his eye
      colour different, it'll be more like that Coptic look, you know? And
      of course we fiddled with his facial features a bit, and made him
      look like he comes from a more rugged time, and to make him look
      like he comes from the Middle East. He looks Semitic; the way he
      looks, looks Semitic.

Also bizarre to hear Gibson's claim that Martin Scorsese asked him to play
Jesus in _The Last Temptation of Christ_. Don't know if that would have
been in the early '80s, when Scorsese was developing the film at Paramount
and Aidan Quinn almost played the part (until Paramount pulled the plug),
or in the late '80s, when Universal produced it and Willem Dafoe played
the part. If the latter, then that would have been around the time Gibson
starred in _Tequila Sunrise_ and between the first two _Lethal Weapons_.

--- Peter T. Chattaway --------------------------- pet-@chattaway.com ---
Nothing tells memories from ordinary moments; only afterwards do they
   claim remembrance, on account of their scars. -- Chris Marker, La Jetee
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