Last September we learned that Mel Gibson was planning a movie about Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee with Basic Instinct scribe Joe Ezterhas writing the screenplay. The film would center on the Maccabee-led revolt against the Selucid Empire around 167 BCE in Judea. Now, in not super surprising news, Warner Bros. has decided to pass on the project. Apparently Ezterhas turned in the script in late February, and WB brass wasn’t exactly thrilled with the results.
Hit the jump for more.
Per The Wrap, the script was described as “lacking in feeling and a sense of triumph.” The studio has officially put the film on hold and are analyzing what to do with the project. Given the reaction many had to the idea of Gibson handling one of the most famous Jewish warriors in history, WB’s decisions isn’t shocking. Moreover, the studio has been hesitant to greenlight big-budget projects as of late—they put both Arthur & Lancelot and Akira on hold to address budget concerns.
Ezterhas’ sexual thriller-heavy resume didn’t exactly inspire confidence that he could write a moving, reverent, and uplifting take on the Maccabee story, so maybe Gibson will now put a different writer on the project. This is going to be a tough one for Gibson to get off the ground no matter how you slice it, though, so it might be best if he just moved on. He hasn’t given up on his Viking movie that he was previously developing with Leonardo DiCaprio, as he recently revealed that he co-wrote a new draft with Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace.