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Posts tagged ‘Mel Gibson’

Plea to Take Mel Gibson Off ‘Blacklist’ Sparks Hollywood Debate.

Image: Plea to Take Mel Gibson Off 'Blacklist' Sparks Hollywood Debate

Eight years after Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant during a drunk-driving arrest, Hollywood is debating the rehabilitation of an Oscar winner who was once one of the industry’s most bankable stars.

The heated discussion was sparked by a March 12 opinion piece in Deadline Hollywood by Allison Hope Weiner, a freelance writer who covered Gibson’s infamous spiral out of favor and now considers him a friend. Her appeal for an end to what she called a “quiet blacklisting” has generated more than 5,700 comments on’s movie page and more than 800 on the Deadline Hollywood site, which is read by many in the industry.

“He has been in the doghouse long enough,” Weiner wrote. “It’s time to give the guy another chance.”

Gibson’s movies, from “Mad Max” to “Braveheart” and “Apocalypto,” have grossed $3.6 billion, according to Rentrak Corp., providing an incentive for studios and agencies to consider absolution. His particular transgressions, and the number of them over the years, mean it’s unlikely to come easy.

Forgiving Gibson “is not the same thing as forgiving Lindsay Lohan for partying too late,” said Elizabeth Currid- Halkett, author of “Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity” and an associate professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “Anti-Semitism is not just behaving badly.”

While the 58-year-old still directs and acts — he recently completed production as a co-star with Sylvester Stallone on “Expendables 3” — major studios “are either wary of him or prefer not to work with him,” said Michael Fleming, Deadline Hollywood’s film editor. “I am surprised this has lasted this long. The guy has made a lot of people a lot of money.”

Malibu Tirade

The back-and-forth by commentators on Weiner’s piece boils down to a bygone question in Hollywood: whether what someone says or does off screen, however repugnant, should have any effect on his fitness to make movies.

Gibson is a long-running case in point. The hits to his reputation aren’t limited to those from his tirade about Jews being “responsible for all the wars in the world,” delivered as he was arrested in 2006 in Malibu, California. In 2010, audiotapes of threats he made to his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva — laced with racial epithets — surfaced. The next year he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge after a dispute with Grigorieva, the mother of his youngest child.

In 2004, he came under fire for what the Anti-Defamation League and others saw as anti-Semitism in “The Passion of the Christ,” a blockbuster he directed, co-produced and co-wrote. He reacted to a Frank Rich column about it in the New York Times by telling the New Yorker, “I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog.”

‘Harmful Words’

In 1992 he offended the gay community with remarks in a Spanish newspaper interview and later told Playboy that he would apologize “when hell freezes over.”

He did apologize after his Malibu arrest for what he said were his “vitriolic and harmful words,” and after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor drunk-driving charge was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Alan Nierob, a Rogers & Cowan publicist who represents Gibson, said his client should be allowed back in the fold. “People should know that he is now healthy once again, both physically and mentally after suffering a breakdown,” Nierob said. “He is an artistic genius, and the industry should benefit once again from his enormous talent.”

‘Harsh Language’

Weiner, describing herself as an observant Jew, said in Deadline Hollywood that Gibson today “is clearly a different man, one who has worked on his sobriety since that awful night in Malibu.” And the movie industry, she said, is hypocritical, willing to “work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson.”

She cited Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist who has been in the “Hangover” films. Gibson was dropped from a cameo in “The Hangover Part II” in 2010 after “a lot of people” working on the film protested, Todd Phillips told the Hollywood Reporter.

“Gibson has been shunned not for doing anything criminal; his greatest offenses amount to use of harsh language,” Weiner wrote in her more than 3,400-word piece. She said she chose to publish it on the 10th anniversary of “The Passion of the Christ,” which she described as “about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice.”

The independent release grossed $612 million at the global box office, and Gibson personally made $210 million in 2004, according to Forbes. His fortune was estimated at $850 million by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and People magazine reported that his 2011 divorce halved that.

Befriending Rabbis

In recent years, Weiner said, Gibson has befriended rabbis, attended Passover Seders and donated to Jewish causes. He invited to coffee the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who took him into custody in Malibu. He was at Weiner’s son’s bar mitzvah, where she said he charmed her family.

“My friendship with Gibson made me reconsider other celebrities whose public images became tarnished by the media’s rush to judge,” Weiner wrote. “Whether it’s Gibson, Tom Cruise or Alec Baldwin, the descent from media darling to pariah can happen quickly after they do something dumb.”

Hollywood is littered with stars who fell from grace — Charlie Sheen after a rant against the producer of “Two and a Half Men,” Robert Downey Jr. after arrests for illegal drug use, Cruise after jumping on Oprah’s couch and admonishing Brooks Shields for treating her postpartum depression with pharmaceuticals — and who bounced back.

Two Oscars

Downey, Gibson’s co-star in “Air America” in 1990, has been among his staunch defenders. He asked that Gibson be on stage to present him with a life-achievement award from American Cinematheque in 2011, and said in his acceptance speech that his friend deserved from Hollywood the same forgiveness it had afforded him. Gibson had helped revive Downey’s career when he was considered uninsurable by paying his insurance bond for 2003’s “The Singing Detective.”

Gibson rose to international fame with the “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” films and won Oscars in 1995 for best picture and best director for “Braveheart,” in which he also starred. He garnered acclaim for “Apocalypto,” about the end of Mayan civilization, which he financed through his Icon Productions LLC; Walt Disney Co. distributed it.

Released five months after the Malibu arrest, it did well at the box office. “Say what you will about him — about his problem with booze or his problem with Jews — he is a serious filmmaker,” wrote New York Times critic A.O. Scott.

Bypassing Theaters

One of Gibson’s big hits as an actor before Malibu was “Signs,” a 2002 thriller by M. Night Shyamalan that grossed $228 million. One of his biggest flops ever was “The Beaver” in 2011 with Jodie Foster, which made less than $1 million in U.S. theaters, according to the Internet Movie Database.

He bypassed theaters with “Get the Gringo” in 2012, releasing it instead on pay-television. Last year he was a co- star with Sheen in “Machete Kills,” which wasn’t a critical or commercial success.

In Hollywood, “there are some who may forgive and some who never will,” said Michael Sitrick, chairman and chief executive of Sitrick Brincko Group LLC, a Los Angeles-based public relations and crisis-management firm that has represented rapper Chris Brown, baseball player Alex Rodriguez and socialite Paris Hilton. “It’s not about spin. It has to be genuine.”
© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


‘The Bible’ Movie Adaptation ‘Son of God’ Trailer Released.


'Son of God'
Diogo Morgado stars as Jesus in ‘Son of God,’ set to release Feb. 28. (YouTube)

Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey will bring the life of Jesus to theaters in February with their filmSon of God. The theatrical trailer released this week, giving audiences a first glimpse of the movie.

Son of God, set to hit theaters Feb. 28, will include footage from the hit television series The Bible as well as new scenes.

“Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer,” the movie’s website says.

“Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus as the film spans from His humble birth through His teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection,” it continues.

The Bible miniseries director Christopher Spencer directs the film, the first major motion picture about the life of Jesus since Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ, which released in 2004. Son of God will be distributed by 20th Century Fox.


Reflections of a Hollywood Missionary.


When Ted Baehr asked me to write an article for him on the Hollywood Ministries, I have to confess, I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach the subject. What is happening with these ministries is in some ways unprecedented in the history of the church.

Over the last few years an entire generation of believers has descended on what’s been called “the most influential mission field in the world.” They are actors, writers, producers, directors, pastors, teachers—combinations of these and more. Many are highly trained, many have no training whatsoever, but most have come out of some sense of God’s calling. Some have come to create evangelistic Christian films, some have come to create moral, uplifting content, others have come just to create and be “salt and light” in the secular arena.

It is a work that has been growing for many years—most notably the last few. It is a movement that invites the full support of a church, which is just beginning to learn of what God is doing here.

I have been working in the Hollywood mission field for several years. A graduate of Fuller Seminary with a pastor’s heart, I refer to myself as an ordained actor-producer. This label may raise more questions than answers, but it reflects the uniqueness of this work of God.

From the moment the Lord first drew me to the Hollywood mission field until now, I have found myself in the company of some remarkable people. In the decade preceding my arrival here, a generation of pioneers had a vision of God’s heart for Hollywood and began laying the groundwork.

Beside Ted Baehr, who grew up in the entertainment industry with a father (whose stage name was Bob “Tex” Allen) and mother (Evelyn Peirce) who were Hollywood stars and who has had the Christian Film & Television Commission/Movieguide ministries since the late 1970s, the late David Schall (ActONE/Actor’s Co-Op), Larry Poland (MasterMedia), Karen Covell (Hollywood Prayer Network) to name a few, who established a beachhead in the heart of an industry that has responded to the church at best with misunderstanding and at worst with outright hostility.

Over the past few years, that beachhead has grown into an impressive support network for the body of Christ in Hollywood. From the practical training seminars of Ted’s “How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul,” “Act One” and “Hollywood Connect,” and film screening/discussion panels of “Inter-Mission”to personal intercessors of “The Hollywood Prayer Network” and myriad small group ministries—the result is a substantial framework for any Believer who feels called to this mission field.

Bright-eyed and brimming with purpose they have risen up, established and aspiring artists alike. On arrival, “newbies” fresh off the boat (or Greyhound) have been met with many sobering challenges: the high cost of living in L.A., insufficient housing, and tremendous isolation. If there are 45,000 actors already established in Los Angeles, maybe 2 percent of them make a living at it. So, you can see that breaking into “the business” is a little like walking on water.

Over the last few years, established and aspiring Christian contenders in this arena have come to discover the Hollywood Ministries as a lifeline. They have begun to take advantage of these resources and have spread the word to others.

Recently, both Hollywood and the church have begun to take notice. The phenomenal success of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ was a watershed event, which ostensibly unlocked the door for Believers in Hollywood. Once unlocked, however, the door remained to be fully opened. It’s been said, it takes 10 years to “make it” in Hollywood. If this is true then my own journey has just past the halfway mark! So, where is the body of Christ in Hollywood now? Well, the best analogy I can think of for the current state of this work is a story of Peter.

Getting Out of the Boat
We’re all familiar with Matthew’s story of Jesus’ walking on the water. After dismissing the dinner crowd, Jesus, not unlike a mother shooing her kids out of the kitchen, tells the disciples to get into the boat “immediately!” and head across the Sea of Galilee—all this so he can steal away to pray and get refreshed. Dinner for 5,000 can really take it out of you, even if you’re Jesus, I guess. A little puzzled, the Disciples climb into the boat and start rowing. Meanwhile, Jesus takes time alone with the Father, recharging his batteries.

A few hours later the disciples were a long way out in the middle of what is technically a large lake. A curiosity of nature in that part of Israel, the winds can whip up a storm almost without warning, which is exactly what happened next. The winds picked up and the waves started rocking the boat. Oh, and it was also 4 in the morning—perfect setting for an M. Night Shyamalan thriller! We don’t know who saw Jesus first, but it was decidedly unexpected, and a cross between spooky and awe-inspiring.

Why Water?
Now, walking on water is pretty amazing, but why is it particularly significant? Because the moment Jesus walked on water, he was demonstrating something profound. Prophets and people of God had performed plenty of miracles before, but none had ever walked on water. According to Job: “[GOD] alone treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8). Jesus was telling the disciples he was more than a prophet, teacher and healer; he was telling him he was God.

We may understand now the reality of who Jesus is, but at 4 a.m. in the middle of a storm, on a lake, in a fishing boat, with a tired and panicked motley crew—I can understand why they might have been a little distracted at first. Give Peter credit for being the first to at least respond in the moment. He took the initiative asking Jesus to call him out onto the water. Can’t you just see Jesus at that moment, donning a big proud-Papa grin on his face?

So, Peter turns to get out of the boat. Now, I’ve been on a boat or two in my time, and even in calm waters getting over the side can take some doing. This was no Windjammer cruise; it was a first-century fishing boat—open aired, maybe a 20-footer. Cue the wind, cue the waves and perhaps a little rain starting to coat the pitch-sealed insides of the boat, and I think Peter had a little trouble getting out of the thing.

Slipping and sliding with the rocking of the boat, he manages one leg over the side, then another. Finally, he straddles the side of the boat, both legs dangling for a moment. What now? Does he just leap? Does he gingerly step out? If I know Peter, he took the plunge without thinking twice.

Taking the Plunge
In the spring of 2000 the Lord called me as a missionary to Hollywood. For a Bible-belt born and raised preacher’s kid, these waters were decidedly unknown. Nonetheless, full of faith I responded, not unlike Peter, without really thinking twice. I leapt full force into it. I began taking acting classes (three at a time!), I tracked down talent agents, managers, casting directors.

By trial and error I learned the game and pressed forward not just because the Lord called me to make a difference in the Entertainment Industry, but because He made me fall in love with it, and its people. This is why years later, as one actor in 45,000, I’m still here.

I am not alone. I have a large and growing family. In addition to the dedicated support of my loved ones at home, I have brothers and sisters here. Each one is bound to another through a sovereign work of God.

For some, such as myself, this is a time of giving birth. Business and marketing plans (as well as screenplays) are being written, rewritten and honed to perfection. Production companies are starting up. It is a work, caught in between two moments—the moment Peter’s heart responded in faith to get out of the boat, and the moment his feet actually walked on the water. We are a generation of sons and daughters who have responded in faith to God’s calling. Now we are in process of getting out of the boat. The question of the hour, I believe is this: is this really about walking on water, or, is this about something greater?


Another Movie Inspired by ‘Last Temptation of Christ’ Author Underway.

Christ Is Risen
(Grindstone Pictures)

Grindstone Pictures has picked up the rights toChrist Recrucified, a 1948 novel by Nikos Kazantzakis (The Last Temptation of ChristZorba the Greek), the company announced on Monday.

Grindstone CEO Vincent Miller (Gabriela) will produce the big-screen adaptation of the novel about a Greek village’s attempt to stage a traditional and intense Passion Play—a task so difficult, it is only done once every seven years. The movie, however, will take place in Mexico and will be retitled, Christ Is Risen.

Manolios, the small town’s resident rebel, is cast as God’s son even though he hasn’t stepped foot in a church for years. Against the expectations of town leaders, he renews his faith and, in the face of horrific events, inspires others to find redemption through rebellion, becoming less of a savior and more of a destroyer in the eyes of those who picked him to play the part.

Gil J. Botello and Vincent Baksanski are attached to write the script.

The announcement follows the astonishing ratings success of The Bible, a Mark Burnett-produced miniseries airing on the History Channel. Grindstone hopes to market the film to the same faith-based audience, while also attracting the same broader group of adults that have made seven of nine 2013 Best Picture Oscar nominees accumulate over $100 million at the domestic box office.

“The film is being targeted to the ‘adult drama’ audience that is drawn to such mainstream but profound films as ArgoLincoln and A Beautiful Mind,” Miller said in a statement.

Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ, which was as controversial as it was successful when released in 2004, grossed $611,899,420 worldwide.


© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

A Celebration of Freedom.

John 8:31-36; Galatians 5:1, 13-15

Introduction:  William Wallace asked the right question. If you saw the movie Braveheart, you know the story of the Scottish patriotMel Gibson directed and starred in the 1995 movie about the Scottish revolt in the 1400’s.  At one point in the movie, Wallace prepares a rag tag band of rebels for battle.  They must face a larger and better-armed English army.

His says to his men—”I am William Wallace, and I see before me an army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. You are free, free from badges, free from flesh and free to love. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?”

A tall soldier near the front eyes the huge opposing forces arrayed across the valley and then answers, “Fight against that? No, we will run, and we will live.”

Wallace responds, “Ay, fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. At least a while! And dying in your beds many years from now, you would be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.”

What will you do with your freedom? That’s a question to ask ourselves on the 4th of July. It is a good thing when the 4th falls on a Sunday.  That way we are more apt to pause to give thanks to the One who bestowed our freedoms upon us.  We make a tragic mistake when we separate God from our freedom.  Without God, our concept of freedom can easily degenerate into selfishness.  Wise men have always known that real freedom can only exist hand in hand with responsibility.  William Wallace asked the right question, “What will you do with your freedom.”

We naturally think of our national freedom on July 4th.  We should.  That’s the great legacy of our founding fathers.  We live in a land blessed with freedom.  Few nations have ever known such liberties.  We are free to gather in worship.  No government official tells when, or how, or what to worship. We can speak our minds.  A free press keeps us informed about our world.  We choose where we live and what we do to make a living.  We select our own leaders from dogcatcher to president. Many peoples around the world only dream of such privileges.

We celebrate July 4th because on that day our nation’s founders signed the Declaration of Independence on that date in 1776.  Many call it our country’s Birth Certificate.  Do you remember its opening words from your grade school social studies class?

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare …

By Roger Thomas

Is Hollywood Out of Step With Middle America?.

The Passion of the Christ Scene from Mel Gibson‘s “The Passion of the Christ

Domestic ticket sales for movies continued to plummet in 2011 from their highs in the early 2000s, when The Lord of the Rings, The Passion of the Christ and Spider-Man ruled the box office, according to figures released recently by Hollywood.

Media scholar Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, thinks many in Hollywood have lost touch with Middle America.

“They don’t know how to market to the average American who is a churchgoing Christian who believes in God, country and family,” says Baehr.

For instance, Baehr notes that industry figures show that Hollywood is making more and more R–rated movies, even though such movies are making less and less money.

According to The Numbers, a box office website, Hollywood released 205 R-rated movies in 2011 but only 184 in 2009, and 193 in 2010. Yet, the average R-rated movie in 2011 made only $10.8 million in 2011, compared to $12.6 million in 2010, and $14.9 million in 2009.

In comparison, G-rated movies averaged $34.6 million in 2011 when 18 G movies were released, $56.6 million in 2010 when nine G movies were released, and $19.9 million in 2009 when 15 G movies were released.

“That means G-rated movies can make up to three or five times as much money as R-rated movies,” Baehr says. “They also far outperform R-rated movies on DVD and Blu-ray. PG movies also do much better on average.”

Baehr will release more statistics on what movies did the best at the box office and on home video at the 20th Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, to be held Feb. 10 at the Universal Hilton Hotel in the heart of Hollywood.

“Year in and year out, our statistics show that moviegoers prefer family-friendly movies with positive Christian, wholesome, patriotic, conservative, and traditional moral values,” Baehr says.

“Middle America wants to see, rent and buy entertaining movies with Christian, biblical values that they can show to their whole family. They want to see good triumph over evil, justice to prevail, truth to defeat falsehood and purity to conquer lust. They reject movies with explicit, graphic sex and violence.”

By Charisma News Staff .

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