Skip to comments.Mel Gibson brings movie to city's church leaders
Posted on 06/28/2003 7:50:11 AM PDT by joobers
Mel Gibson brings movie to city's church leaders
By KAMON SIMPSON- THE GAZETTE
Actor Mel Gibson has been getting closer to God.
On Thursday, that led him to Colorado Springs, where he visited New Life Church and Focus on the Family and previewed his upcoming film, The Passion.
Gibson, star of such films as the Lethal Weapon series and Braveheart, said it was his Christian faith that inspired The Passion, which depicts the final 12 hours in the life of Christ.
Im not a preacher and Im not a pastor, Gibson said. But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize.
Although the film wont be released until March, Gibson brought it to Colorado Springs a national hub of evangelical Christianity for one day to make sure its depiction of the Gospel was acceptable to leaders at Focus on the Family and to hundreds of church leaders, including Ted Haggard, New Lifes pastor and president of the National Evangelical Association.
It conveys, more accurately than any other film, who Jesus was, Haggard said based on clips he viewed at New Life. You cant help but be upset when you realize the gravity of what Jesus went through.
As a Hollywood superstar, Gibson carries quite a bit of gravity himself. As word spread he was at Focus on the Family screening the film, almost 300 giddy staff members and visitors gathered outside the visitors center, hoping to catch a glimpse and get an autograph.
Gibson financed the $25-million film, which is seeking a distributor. He co-wrote the script, directed and produced the movie, which stars James Caviezel, a lesser known actor, as Christ.
On Thursday, he received feedback on the film, which has generated a buzz because it was shot in the Aramaic language of the time. Gibson, who has said the film will transcend language barriers with visual story telling, wants to release it without subtitles.
But subtitles were in place during Thursdays showing for a small audience at the Focus on the Family visitors center, and local religious leaders told him those subtitles should stay in place to help spread the movies message to those not familiar with the story.
Based on the reaction of those who saw the film, they enthusiastically endorse it.
I was very impressed, said Don Hodel, president of Focus on the Family. Its certainly the most powerful portrayal of the passion Ive ever seen or heard about. The movie is historically and theologically accurate.
Wearing a gray shirt and black slacks, Gibson appeared on stage at New Life Church before the screening to address an audience of more than 800 ministers gathered for the Life Giving Leadership Conference, an annual event.
He was candid in relating how events more than a decade ago led him to become a more committed Christian.
Ive been pastor at New Life Church for 18 years, and I dont remember anyone displaying a fear of God on our platform the way Mel did today, Haggard said.
A Catholic, Gibson attended Mass every morning during shooting because we had to be squeaky clean just working on this, he said.
It was a strange mixture of the most difficult thing Ive ever done, along with this incredible ease, Gibson said. Everyone who worked on this movie was changed. There were agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity.
When Haggard thanked Gibson for making the film, Gibson said, I was afraid not to.
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They might have a point. Gibson might want to consider what he wants he film to do and make his decision based upon that (art or spread the gospel). At any rate, he can have the DVD set up so people can turn the subtitles off.
Then again, people could take a copy of the New Testament with the them to the theater if they have trouble following the script ;-)
Sadly, far more than would've been the case just a few decades ago. I recently watched a DVD designed to coach Christians on witnessing. It included a lot of actual on-the-street witness attempts. I was shocked at how many people were positively clueless. It's hard to believe how far this society has slipped so quickly.
Brilliant timing (although I want to see it now!). The film will be released during Lent 2004.
I just checked and Easter 2004 is on April 11.