As Mel Gibson considers creating more stories depicting biblical times, “The Passion of The Christ” director says evil is “all around us.”
“Absolutely,” Gibson said, “I mean you just have to look at a newspaper and read about this guy that knocked his family off,” referring to Marcus Wesson of Fresno, Calif., who is accused of murdering nine members of his own family amid reports of incest and polygamy.
“It’s all around us,” Gibson explained, “and people are susceptible to the influences of either good or evil, and all that it requires for you to sort of fall into the abyss is not to maintain the good aspects of duty.”
Hannity re-emphasized the point during a public appearance last night in Las Vegas sponsored by KXNT Radio.
“Evil exists and wants to destroy what is good,” Hannity told the standing-room-only crowd. “You cannot negotiate with it.”
Throughout his film, Gibson shows Satan the devil and demonic forces monitoring and influencing the final events leading to Jesus’ death.
With “The Passion” on its way to becoming the biggest R-rated movie of all time, Gibson is not apologizing for violent scenes which earned the film’s designation.
“They talk about, ‘Hey this film is R-rated.’ Well, the Bible is R-rated,” he said. “I mean it’s the most R-rated book I’ve ever read. There’s murder and adultery all through it.”
Mel Gibson stressed realism in ‘The Passion of The Christ’ (courtesy Icon Distribution)
“It’s a hard R,” Gibson continued. “It’s got a good rating and it’s got that rating for a reason. I mean it gets pretty heavy. I don’t believe any of the violence is gratuitous. I do believe there’s a purpose for it. But it needs to be hard, I think, to show the enormity of the sacrifice and to show that there’s forgiveness for that, how much did [Jesus] have to overcome.”
Gibson said it’s important to portray the ferocity and reality of actual events.
“This is to me the whole problem with biblical movies, particularly this story … one never got the idea that it was anything more than a fairy tale. It was as if you were looking through a wrong end of a telescope and it didn’t seem real at all. And that was because it was kind of glossed over and sanitized, and I believe going for the reality of it is what gives it its power. It’s believable now.”
Regarding questions as to the historical accuracy of the Gospel, Gibson points out the apostle John was at the crucifixion site as Jesus was being slain.
“These people were eyewitness, and if they weren’t eyewitnesses, they were writing for people who were eyewitnesses, so that the historical aspect of the four Gospels of the New Testament is beyond question as far as I’m concerned.”
Mel Gibson says there’s a hunger for stories from biblical times (courtesy Icon Distribution)
Some critics have alleged the film is anti-Semitic, putting the blame for Jesus’ death on Jews, but Gibson points to the first scene in his production to refute that belief.
“It opens up in the scene in the garden where it’s pretty clear to the audience that what will occur is part of a preordained, divine plan. This should take the attention away from any idea of blame. It’s all of us. It’s ordained by God, it’s accepted by Jesus, and the reason why He’s doing it is for the transgressions of all humankind.”
Gibson thinks people who have a problem with the movie often have a problem with what’s written in the Bible, as his film simply recounts events in the New Testament.
“It doesn’t stray very far,” he said, “It adhered to the four Gospels – it doesn’t contradict them, it supports them. Of course, there’s room there for artistic interpretation. I’m an artist, for Pete’s sake. I have to get out there and make the film the way I see it, the way I visualize it. And it’s not outside the realms of possibility that that’s the truth. …
“Reaching for something higher is what we do when we commit art to screen or to the canvas or to music or to any of these things, and it demands more of us.”
With three weeks of receipts totaled through Tuesday, “The Passion of The Christ” had grossed $270.7 million according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, and will soon eclipse the $281.6 million in ticket sales for “The Matrix Reloaded” to become the No. 1 R-rated movie ever.
“Now of course I’m being credited with masterminding this whole controversy as a marketing ploy,” Gibson said. “I would never do that. I mean why would I invite insults and pretty nasty editorials and having my family insulted and offended … ?
“Nobody likes being dragged out in public and … having lies put out about them from supposedly reputable publications, beacons of journalistic integrity like the New York Times.”
Gibson believes there’s a hunger among the public for stories from biblical times due to a void that has not been met by Hollywood since the 1950s. But other stories about Jesus are not immediately on his front burner.
“There’s some wonderful stories in [the Bible], and particularly from the Old Testament. I think that some of those stories are just remarkable and astounding in … just the level of heroism and human nature and what they can tell us about ourselves.”
When asked by Hannity which stories he might be inclined to do, Gibson responded:
“The story that’s always fired my imagination … is the Book of Maccabees.
“It’s about Antiochus, the king who set up his religion in the Temple, and forced them all to deny the true God and worship at his feet and worship false gods. This Maccabees family stood up, and they made war, they stuck by their guns, and they came out winning. It’s like a Western.”
The Maccabees led a three-year battle which led to the liberation of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Temple which is now celebrated as Hanukkah. The conflict took place some two centuries before the birth of Jesus.
Upon hearing Gibson’s consideration of the story, Anti-Defamation League Director Abe Foxman – who originally voiced but later recanted charges of anti-Semitism toward Gibson – did not jump on the Maccabees bandwagon.
“My answer would be ‘Thanks but no thanks,’” Foxman told Reuters. “The last thing we need in Jewish history is to convert our history into a Western.”
“In his hands we may wind up losing,” Foxman joked.
Regarding politics, Gibson had both positive and negative things to say about President Bush in one comment.
“A lot of what he does is good,” Gibson said. “I’ve been having my doubts of late, and it’s all to do with these weapons [of mass destruction] that we can’t seem to find, and like, why did we go over there [to Iraq].”
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Editor’s note: Coinciding with the release of Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ,” WorldNetDaily has issued one of the most extraordinary editions of its monthly Whistleblower magazine ever produced, titled “THE DAY JESUS DIED.”
Read WorldNetDaily’s extensive coverage of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”