Apocalypto — in ancient Mayan!

The news regarding Apocalypto, Mel Gibson’s follow-up to The Passion, just gets better and better. Variety now reports:

When production chiefs from selected studios trooped to Icon Prods. headquarters after an invite to read the film Mel Gibson planned for summer 2006, they were surprised at the very first page of the script.

“The dialogue you are about to read will not be spoken in English.”

Gibson, who last made the most successful Aramaic-language film ever, is at it again.

“Apocalypto” hardly fits the traditional definition of a summer film. Set 500 years ago, pic will be filmed in an obscure Mayan dialect, presumably with the same kind of subtitles Gibson reluctantly added to “The Passion of the Christ.” It will star a neophyte cast indigenous to the region of Mexico where Gibson will shoot in October. And it likely will carry an R rating, unless Gibson tempers the onscreen depiction of violent scenes he wrote in his script.

Since Gibson’s bankrolling his pic and will sell foreign himself, studios were offered only a rent-a-system deal, such as George Lucas had with 20th Century Fox for his last three “Star Wars” films. And because “Apocalypto” is not a religious pic, there’s no guarantee of an encore turnout of the church groups and hardcore Catholics who made “The Passion of the Christ” a nearly $1 billion box office/DVD bonanza.

I cannot help but wonder whether those church groups are happy to see what Mel is doing now with all the profits he raked in, after some of them bought up the tickets for entire theatres and gave them away! For months, there were rumours that he would put the money towards making a movie about the Maccabees or the Apostles or Saint Francis of Assisi — but apparently not.

Incidentally, there is a sentence in the second-to-last paragraph quoted here that is a bit puzzling, since earlier reports indicated the film would be taking place 3,000 years ago, not 500 years ago. The disinformation campaign has apparently already begun!

And as for the language thing, it pre-dates even The Passion — as I note here, Gibson apparently would have liked to film Braveheart in subtitles, too, or so he says in that film’s DVD commentary.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • Anonymous

    I cannot help but wonder whether those church groups are happy to see what Mel is doing now with all the profits he raked in, after some of them bought up the tickets for entire theatres and gave them away!

    As someone who on the surface should be a member of those “church groups”, I’m siding with Mel on this.

    He’s making it with his own money (and at least some of the returns from The Passion), in his own style. It’s his project out of his pocket; the “church groups” do not own him or his projects, no matter what delusions of grandeur they might have.

    The all-Mayan dialogue will probably relegate it to the art-film circuit, but Apocalypto will be its own unique film. I would like to see these flicks start at least a niche market in grittily-accurate historicals.

  • http://t93z.com/~dudley-eicher Dudley Eicher

    hehe =)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X