Skip to comments.Mel Gibson turns from Christ's Passion to Mayan blood rites
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.
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.
That's the Aztecs
"That's the Aztecs"
You've seen one pre-Columbian culture, you've seen 'em all. I get them confused. Aztecs, Mayan, Toltecs, Olmecs...
I'll wait for the animated version.
Back safe and sound, albeit my luggage. Not to worry though... Midwest Express will deliver it tonight.
What beautiful country, AZ is.
Let's hope that in a few years Mel can do:
"The End of the Islamics!"
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 cant-we-all-just-get-along-touchy-feely sweet history movies. Man, give me the real thing.
Jay, do you misunderestimate me?
The one who gets all of the yahoo alerts any time Mel's name is mentioned in the news?
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!
I'm trying to picture that, lol.
And here we thought Gibson's heart was for the gospel message... yuck! He definitely took a wrong turn at Acapulco.
What was I thinking?!!!
Victoria, Knowing how Mel kept faithful to The Passion, with all the flack he was getting from the USCC, I am willing to bet he will stay on target.
P.S. Karen... the luggage arrived last night around 11:00 p.m. They left it on the front porch. I found it this morning.
Still waiting for my left ear to pop. Uggghhhhh.....
If he is, I hope he's more obvious about it.
Perhaps, but wasn't Juan Diego an Aztec? This movie's about the Mayans.
San Juan Diego may very well have had Mayan blood considering Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered Mestizo, a racial mix of Mexican and Spanish blood. Most, in not all, cultures today are a massive genetic blending of multiple peoples.
I'll go see this one. It won't do as well as the Passion, but I suspects Mel Gibson knows this going in.
Thank goodness they didn't make you trudge all the way back to the airport for that! *Denim shirt* and flight jacket and all!
Still waiting for my left ear to pop. Uggghhhhh.....
Well, speaking from a scuba divers perspective on plugged ears, the "diver dance" won't do much for it (jump up and down on one leg and tilt your head towards the ground)...but you might get a curious smile or two from your friends :o)
Knowing how Mel kept faithful to The Passion, with all the flack he was getting from the USCC, I am willing to bet he will stay on target.
Ya gotta wonder who's gonna try to rag...er...criticize his work on this picture this time....something tells me that we shouldn't put it past the NY Slimes...
I concur with you. I'm sure he'll do a good job.
The MSM -the Slimes included- activist groups, you know... all the usual suspects.