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Mel Gibson turns from Christ's Passion to Mayan blood rites
The Observer (U.K.) ^ | 10/30/05 | David Smith

Posted on 10/29/2005 6:40:07 PM PDT by Pokey78

His most recent film, featuring flayings and floggings and with dialogue in Aramaic and Latin, was a worldwide hit. Now Mel Gibson has announced his next project will be set against the bloodthirsty backdrop of the Mayan empire - this time in an ancient dialect called Yucatec. Gibson's The Passion of the Christ last year became the most successful independent film ever made, grossing more than £200 million worldwide. It was also a hit in America's bible belt, which has long felt ignored by Hollywood. The star claims that his new thriller, Apocalypto, will champion another neglected cause, the millions of Maya who still live in Mexico and Central America, many of whom speak one of the Mayan languages.

Anyone who turned nauseous at the flesh-ripping carnage of The Passion should fear for their stomachs again. While Mayan civilisation thrived for nearly 2,000 years before its mysterious collapse, mastering astronomy and the construction of pyramids, it also carried out savage rituals of human sacrifice to appease the gods.

'Hey, this is for kids with strong stomachs,' said Gibson, 49, responding to a question about plans for children's movies during a press conference in the Mexican port city of Veracruz, where the conqueror Hernan Cortes landed in the early 16th century en route to demolishing the Aztec empire.

The devout Roman Catholic said that the plot of Apocalypto - a Greek word meaning 'new beginning' - concerns a Maya Indian family man who 'has to overcome tremendous odds to preserve what he values the most'. The action movie - directed, produced, funded and co-written by, but not starring Gibson - will employ relatively unknown actors along with hundreds of extras speaking the Mayan tongue of Yucatec.

'I'm hoping that by focusing on this civilisation we're able to be introspective about ourselves,' Gibson explained. 'It's set before the Conquest, so we are using mostly indigenous people and actors from Mexico City. There's a lot of mystery to the Mayan culture, but it's just the backdrop to what I'm doing - creating an action adventure of mythic proportions.'

The star has endeared himself to his hosts by offering £560,000 to reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Stan, which devastated Mexico and Central America this month. The Mexican media highlighted images of Gibson meeting with President Vicente Fox. Tourism officials are hoping that the film, due to begin shooting in mid-November, will pump £11m into the economy.

A vanished civilisation

1) Mayan civilisation stretched across much of what is now southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala and endured for nearly two millenniums, disappearing around AD 900.

2) Despite lacking the cartwheel or metal tools, the Maya built pyramids, palaces and courts for a ritual ball game. They inhabited vast cities such as Chichen Itza, Tikal and Uxmal.

3) Mayan astronomers mapped the phases of celestial objects, especially the Moon and Venus, and tracked a solar year of 365 days. They developed mathematics, using a base number of 20, and had a concept of zero. The civilisation was sufficiently stable to have a word for a 400-year time period.

4) The collapse of their civilisation, which occurred centuries before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, has long been a mystery. Theories include civil war, invasion, migration, disease, over-farming, over-population and drought.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: hollywood; maya; melgibson; thepassion
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1 posted on 10/29/2005 6:40:09 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78

I can't imagine what he's up to, but knowing Mel Gibson it will probably be terrific.


2 posted on 10/29/2005 6:42:15 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Pokey78

remotely related: a friend wrote a book about the Yanomamo tribe. Very eye opening. ("Spirit of the Rainforest," by Mark Ritchie).


3 posted on 10/29/2005 6:42:28 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (I must be a little punk, because coffeebreak said so.)
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To: Pokey78

Well, now we know what happened to them.

Katrina's mother and Andew's father paid them a visit.


4 posted on 10/29/2005 6:42:49 PM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: Pokey78
it also carried out savage rituals of human sacrifice to appease the gods.
'Hey, this is for kids with strong stomachs,' said Gibson, 49,

Yuk.

Why do movie-goers like being grossed out/scared/disgusted/etc? Blecch.

5 posted on 10/29/2005 6:44:59 PM PDT by Lizavetta
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To: Pokey78
His most recent film, featuring flayings and floggings and with dialogue in Aramaic and Latin, was a worldwide hit. Now Mel Gibson has announced his next project will be set against the bloodthirsty backdrop of the Mayan empire - this time in an ancient dialect called Yucatec.

Mel might find out the hard way that the violence and obscure dialect weren't what drew millions of people to the Passion.

6 posted on 10/29/2005 6:45:16 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: Pokey78

Zoykes. I've toured many an ancient Mayan city in Mexico. Ever stand next to a bottomless pool that was used for sacrificing children? Yeesh! They'd load them down with gold and jewels, then shove them over the edge to sink and drown...in hope of rain!

I get chills just thinking about it, and it was totally creepy standing next to one.

Yeah. People are going to need extremely strong stomachs for this one!


7 posted on 10/29/2005 6:48:25 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Pokey78

The article says the film grossed 200 million Brit pounds world-wide but in American dollars the gross was $611,899,420 (box office mojo) which I believe is more than the 200 million pounds stated. Either way it is still the most successful indie film ever especially in regards to the subtitles.


8 posted on 10/29/2005 6:49:19 PM PDT by torchthemummy ("Dems preach to their moonbat choir while the Pubbies sing to the audience. " - TTM)
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To: Pokey78

What's he gonna call this one, "Passion of the Quezelquoatl"?


9 posted on 10/29/2005 6:50:47 PM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: Onelifetogive
Mel Gibson has made a lot of movies that would not qualify as good Christian movies. He made one that does. It's not a commitment.
10 posted on 10/29/2005 6:54:21 PM PDT by CometBaby (You can twist perceptions .. reality won't budge!)
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To: torchthemummy
"...especially in regards to the subtitles"

And the R rating.

11 posted on 10/29/2005 6:56:07 PM PDT by monkapotamus
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To: Pokey78

I'd go see it. The Mayan civilization is still a mystery to many. They're still finding stuff buried in deep jungle that gives more information about the people.


12 posted on 10/29/2005 6:57:44 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Cicero

Mel makes great movies about patriotism and courage. Braveheart and The Patriot were two of the best in my book. And who doesn't love Mad Max as fantasy flicks?


13 posted on 10/29/2005 7:01:01 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Mel is fantastic. He will surely not disappoint us with this film.


14 posted on 10/29/2005 7:02:08 PM PDT by eleni121 ('Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!' (Julian the Apostate))
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To: cripplecreek

If I were a producer, I would LOVE to make a film about the conquest of Mexico or Peru, based on Prescott's classic accounts. They would be VERY violent and VERY politically incorrect.


15 posted on 10/29/2005 7:02:52 PM PDT by Clemenza (Gentlemen, Behold!)
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To: cripplecreek

Agreed on all of them.

It would be very, very difficult to top The Passion, so I don't blame him for trying something completely different.


16 posted on 10/29/2005 7:02:59 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: eleni121

I'm not worried about disappointment. I'm worried about being able to stomach it after personally witnessing where he's filming!

I barely, just barely made it through "The Passion." It was gut-wrenching. And life-changing. I don't think a Mayan story will touch me as deeply. Just a cultural thing, nothing against Mel, who has been entertaining me since his Mad Max days, LOL!


17 posted on 10/29/2005 7:08:55 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Cicero

I haven't seen The Passion but I suppose I will some day. Another I thought was good was We were soldiers.


18 posted on 10/29/2005 7:09:38 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
and it was totally creepy standing next to one.

Was it windy?
19 posted on 10/29/2005 7:11:13 PM PDT by quantim (Just be glad Detroit is not in a hurricane zone.)
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To: Cicero

2000 years seems a bit extreme unless the Toltec, Omec, etc. civilizations are lumped in with Mayan.

Maybe we will see a reenactment of the ball game though. I'm still not sure of the rules (but I did climb the pyramid and run across the ball court.)


20 posted on 10/29/2005 7:12:38 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

"They'd load them down with gold and jewels, then shove them over the edge to sink and drown"

Hmmm, I wonder what the Mayan word for "choice" was....


21 posted on 10/29/2005 7:15:02 PM PDT by fizziwig
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To: Pokey78

My prediction: a blockbuster smash.

1) Escapist
2) Interesting
3) No "message" or propaganda
4) Hidtorical (and accurate)
5) It's Mel! MEL!


22 posted on 10/29/2005 7:16:12 PM PDT by Killborn (Pres. Bush isn't Pres. Reagan. Then again, Pres. Regan isn't Pres. Washington. God bless them all.)
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To: Pokey78

I don't care what movie he makes, as long as it isn't another in the "Lethal Weapon" series.


23 posted on 10/29/2005 7:17:38 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Pokey78

"Despite lacking the cartwheel or metal tools, the Maya built pyramids, palaces and courts for a ritual ball game."

Such an innocuous prhase that -- "ritual ball game." It give no inkling of what the true story is...which, of course, is what you would expect from the MSM. Here's a few facts about that "ritual ball game" via Wikipedia...

"The ball game was extremely violent. Players wore heavy padding. Even so, there were often serious injuries, and occasionally death. On some occasions post-game ceremonies featured the sacrifice of the captain and other players on the losing side. The association of the game with sacrifice and death was particularly marked on the Gulf coast. A loser's skull might be used as the core around which a new rubber ball would be made. (Guides at Chichen Itza assert that the prize for the winning team was to be deified by losing their heads, supposedly at the hands of the losing team."

Come to think of it, it sounds a lot like Australian Rules Football...


24 posted on 10/29/2005 7:19:46 PM PDT by The Radical Capitalist
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To: cripplecreek

Also Signs. And don't forget Chicken Run.


25 posted on 10/29/2005 7:19:52 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Pokey78
"The collapse of their civilization, which occurred centuries before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, has long been a mystery. Theories include civil war, invasion, migration, disease, over-farming, over-population and drought ...

... or wiped off the face of the earth by 'aliens'. Woo Hoo! I find the Mayans fascinating. I have been fortunate enough to explore some of the Mayan ruins near Playa Del Carmen and Xel Hah, Mexico twice while on vacation. They were truly a bizarre, scientific, religious and unique culture.

26 posted on 10/29/2005 7:20:33 PM PDT by manwiththehands
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To: SuziQ

He had better get it done before 2012. That is when the Mayan calendar ends and supposedly, the world.


27 posted on 10/29/2005 7:21:18 PM PDT by Paloma_55 (Which part of "Common Sense" do you not understand???)
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To: quantim

"Was it windy?" (As in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" windy?) ;)

I wasn't worried. Eventhough there was NO guard rail, and any of us could've taken a header into the pool at any given moment, I don't think anyone would mistake me for a virginal 10 year old boy. Plus I save wearing my "bling" for special occasions. ;)

I will say that the park system in Mexico leaves A LOT to be desired. They don't care for their treasures as we do. Trash everywhere, grafitti on the temples, etc. It was pretty sad, actually. I spend half the afternoon climbing up a Mayan pyramid just to read "Chico Loves Maria" when I got to the sacred temple at the top? Yeah. Sure. Whatever. (Everyone knows it's "Joanie Loves Chachi!")

Maybe Mel will clean up the place? :)


28 posted on 10/29/2005 7:21:52 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Paloma_55

LOL! That is so cool that you know that. DH firmly believes that we are in the "End of Days" and that the 2012 prophecy will come true.

We're selling our business in 2010. Two years to party hearty and then the party's over. :(


29 posted on 10/29/2005 7:23:38 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Lizavetta

We're just trying to get our $10 worth.


30 posted on 10/29/2005 7:37:11 PM PDT by Terpfen (Libby should hire Phoenix Wright.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I will say that the park system in Mexico leaves A LOT to be desired.

It still is probably better than our border protection with Mexico.

31 posted on 10/29/2005 7:38:40 PM PDT by quantim (Just be glad Detroit is not in a hurricane zone.)
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To: Pokey78

Yes, but as David Edelstein (movie critic Slate Magazine) asked Mel Gibson before:

Is it good for the Jews?


32 posted on 10/29/2005 7:40:50 PM PDT by rcocean (Copyright is theft and loved by Hollywood socialists)
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bttt


33 posted on 10/29/2005 7:42:56 PM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: quantim

Yep. But having traveled extensively on both sides of our border, I can tell you that lazy people or hopeless people, or those that just don't give a chit can be found on either side.

Ask the next liberal you happen to meet. ;)


34 posted on 10/29/2005 7:49:26 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Cenote
Chac-Mol

Other buzz words from Chichen-Itza


35 posted on 10/29/2005 7:58:13 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Pokey78
Despite lacking the cartwheel or metal tools...

How advanced could they be? Any kid can do a cartwheel!

36 posted on 10/29/2005 8:15:40 PM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I spend half the afternoon climbing up a Mayan pyramid just to read "Chico Loves Maria" when I got to the sacred temple at the top? Yeah. Sure. Whatever. (Everyone knows it's "Joanie Loves Chachi!")

LOL.

37 posted on 10/29/2005 8:18:30 PM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: Clemenza
There is a script you can find, of an unproduced screenplay, called Cortes, about the conquest of the Aztecs. It was quite a good read, but very unPC. I think it's on Drew's script-o-rama or something.
38 posted on 10/29/2005 8:22:06 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Onelifetogive

Right on!


39 posted on 10/29/2005 8:26:10 PM PDT by cutexx
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To: Paloma_55

Wow, the pressure! ;o)


40 posted on 10/29/2005 8:38:12 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Pokey78

While Mayan civilisation thrived for nearly 2,000 years before its mysterious collapse,

1 It didn't last for 2,000 years
Classic Mayan civilation AD 250 - 900
2 Not really much of a mystery of why it collaped only weather it went fast or slow.


41 posted on 10/29/2005 8:44:38 PM PDT by Valin (Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum)
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To: PLMerite

That's the Aztecs


42 posted on 10/29/2005 8:46:36 PM PDT by Valin (Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum)
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To: Valin

"That's the Aztecs"

You've seen one pre-Columbian culture, you've seen 'em all. I get them confused. Aztecs, Mayan, Toltecs, Olmecs...


43 posted on 10/29/2005 9:23:41 PM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: Pokey78

I'll wait for the animated version.


44 posted on 10/29/2005 9:49:44 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


45 posted on 10/30/2005 1:55:26 PM PST by NYer (ôSocialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion")
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To: kstewskis
Did you see this?

Back safe and sound, albeit my luggage. Not to worry though... Midwest Express will deliver it tonight.

What beautiful country, AZ is.

46 posted on 10/30/2005 6:36:49 PM PST by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier)
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To: Pokey78

Let's hope that in a few years Mel can do:

"The End of the Islamics!"


47 posted on 10/30/2005 6:45:23 PM PST by aShepard
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To: NYer; Northern Yankee; kstewskis

As long as I see an accurate portray of history, it's fine with me. I'm not a PC person, in fact, I dislike the can’t-we-all-just-get-along-touchy-feely sweet history movies. Man, give me the real thing.


48 posted on 10/30/2005 7:07:02 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Northern Yankee; Victoria Delsoul
Did you see this?

Jay, do you misunderestimate me?

The one who gets all of the yahoo alerts any time Mel's name is mentioned in the news?

/G

Sure did! I have no doubt it'll be a great movie. Sounds like it could be a "Braveheart" type of movie, with a jalapenos and salsa instead of haggis!

Glad you're home safe! You have FREEPmail!

49 posted on 10/30/2005 7:48:37 PM PST by kstewskis ("I don't know what I know, but I know that it's big..." Jerry Fletcher)
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To: kstewskis
"Braveheart" type of movie, with a jalapenos and salsa instead of haggis!

I'm trying to picture that, lol.

50 posted on 10/30/2005 7:50:39 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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