Skip to comments.Mel tongue-ties studios;'Apocalypto' to be filmed in obscure Mayan dialect (MEL GIBSON ALERT)
Posted on 07/25/2005 5:20:32 PM PDT by Liz
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.
At least three studios passed on the project before Disney bought it. Nevertheless, the fact that more than one studio bid for the project shows Gibson's viability and makes laughable last year's prediction by the New York Times that Gibson would be blackballed by Jewish executives after the "Passion" controversy.
That charge never really had much traction, said sources within Gibson's agency, ICM. There was a post-"Passion" pile of scripts with $20 million-plus offers for Gibson's acting services. While that paper piled up on ICM co-prexy Ed Limato's desk, Gibson was accumulating pages of his own, scribbling "Apocalypto" in his office and becoming so passionate about it that he changed his plans to star in the Icon-produced drama "Under and Alone" for Warner Bros.
Even though studios including Paramount and Universal walked away from "Apocalypto" either for creative reasons or because Gibson's asking price of a high P&A commitment was too high, Disney's agreement to step up shows how much things have changed for Gibson since he struggled to get backing for "Braveheart." Gibson felt he was too old to play William Wallace, preferring to cast Jason Patric, but he was hard-pressed to raise coin even when he agreed to star.
Paramount wouldn't make "Braveheart" without a partner, and before Fox (which passed on "Passion") stepped up, Gibson had a demoralizing meeting with his longtime haunt Warner Bros., which wanted another "Lethal Weapon" as a condition of the deal. Gibson made "Braveheart" on a shoestring, won picture and director Oscars and made money for both Paramount and Fox.
Happy with Disney
Now content to bankroll his vision and armed with his own overseas distribution and sales company, Gibson no longer goes hat in hand. Sources said at least two studios wanted the pic, but Gibson liked Disney, where he has a good relationship with Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. For its part, Disney agreed to Gibson's tough deal terms.
Already, there is talk that Disney will program "Apocalypto" against the Warner Bros. film "Lady in the Water," which just happens to be the first M. Night Shyamalan-directed film Disney hasn't financed since the filmmaker's breakthrough, "The Sixth Sense."
For his part, Cook said he was confident "Apocalypto" fits the summer bill.
"We couldn't be more excited about working again with Mel and his team," said Cook. "This is one of the most original and unique scripts we've had the opportunity to read recently, and we plan for this to be an anchor of our summer schedule."
Filming in dead languages worked for "The Passion" because there was a built-in audience already interested in the subject, and willing to tolerate anything that would give the presentation of Jesus more authenticity.
That special kind of audience won't be there for this film. If actually made in Mayan I suspect this film will turn out to be a major bomb.
Already been done. Here at FR its known as the Clinton Administration
Oh! Oh! Heathcliffe! :o)
Oh, Brother. When did my husband start posting here? LOL! He gives me constant updates on his "End of the World" scenario, based on the Mayan Calendar...and he's a Swede!
I sure hope he's wrong; if not, I've made my peace. ;)
Yeah, just like that "Dances with Wolves" movie, where they spoke Lakota.
What is rent-a-system and P&A? Does anyone know?
This could be very interesting.
A cast "native to the region" in a "Mayan dialect" with "onscreen depiction of violent scenes." Could this be the answer both to the critics of the violence in Passion of the Christ and to the Azatlan fanatics pushing bizarre fantasies about who "owns" the northern parts of Mexico and the western parts of the United States? (FYI, Aztec and Mayan cultures never spread farther north than about 50 miles north of what is now Mexico City and did not spread coast to coast in Mexico, therefore the fantasy of Azatlan being some sort of Mexican "homeland" is offensive, particularly to nations that do have a heritage based claim to those lands, like the Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo,Western Apache,and Zuni - they killed Mayans and Aztecs for fun...)
Show the "peace loving nature loving native culture" of the Mayans and Aztecs for the bloodthirsty, brutal and grotesque thugs that they were, particularly if you can convey just how tiny their actual holdings were, and you might just reshape the landscape of multiculturism in the southwestern US.
Add to that the knee jerk reaction of most PC critics to defend or even celebrate violence committed by "indegenous peoples" as culturally protected, imune from moral judgement, and Gibson may just put his critics into an unbearable position.
And "Apocalypto" is a Greek term meaning "an unveiling" or "new beginning."
I think Mel may have been misunderestimated.
Is Mel still thinking about making a film about the Maccabean revolt? Why can't he do that instead of this obscure-sounding subject?
Nope, that was JIVE. Completely different.
Attendant: Can I get you something?
Jiveman #2: S'mo fo butter layin' to the bone. Jackin' me up. Tightly.
Attendant: I'm sorry, I don't understand.
Jiveman #1: Cutty say he can't hang.
Barbara Billingsley: Oh, stewardess, I speak jive.
Attendant: Ohhhh, good.
Barbara Billingsley: He said that he's in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
Attendant: Would you tell him to just relax and I'll be back as soon as I can with some medicine.
Barbara Billingsley: Jus' hang loose blooood. She goonna catch up on the`rebound a de medcide.
Jiveman #2: What it is big mamma, my mamma didn't raise no dummy, I dug her rap.
Barbara Billingsley: Cut me some slack, jack! Chump don wan no help, chump don git no help. Jive ass dude don't got no brains anyhow.
Smart move , Disney.
IMHO the only M. Night film even close to being watchable was Signs. And that one was so-so.
Why doesn't Gibson do a 9/11 movie, for God's sake?
What a rip.
You might think that those who fell for it the last time... nahhh.
Those who love him simply call him ~eccentric~
I have to respond: "Why not?"
I think it reaches a point where the artist is not considering his audience.