Players: Mel Gibson, actor who will never live down his DUI incident in 2006; Joe Eszterhas, the screenwriting mastermind who brought you Basic Instinct and Showgirls, who will not let Gibson live down his anti-Semitic comments
The Opening Serve: Mel Gibson's Maccabee project has garnered a fair share of attention ever since it was announced that Mel Gibson, the guy who used to be known as Mad Max but is now known as the guy who said those really misogynistic and anti-Semitic things on that fateful night in 2006 and his widely-criticized film The Passion of the Christ, said he was going to produce a movie about the Jewish Maccabee revolt in 2nd Century B.C. Yes, all that really happened. Fast forward to Wednesday, when Warner Bros. announced that it was passing on Joe Eszterhas's script. Those in the know told The Wrap's Sharon Waxman that Eszaterhas's script didn't pass the muster, but Eszterhas thought differently and expressed those to Gibson (in a very, very public letter). "Let me remind you of some of the things you said which appalled me," Eszterhas wrote. "You continually called Jews 'Hebes' and 'oven-dodgers' and 'Jewboys.' ... You said the Holocaust was 'mostly a lot of horseshit.'" Eszterhas added, "I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews." You can read the full letter here.
The Return Volley: Since the news broke on Wednesday, Eszterhas has gotten the not-afraid-of-a-spat Anti-Defamation League on his side to condemn Gibson. "Jewish history will be better off without Mel Gibson playing Judah Maccabee," one Rabbi told The Wrap. Gibson responded on Wednesday with a letter of his own. "I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter," wrote Gibson. "In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor. I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication." You can find the full letter here. Eszterhas responded in a Today Show appearance, and is claiming he has tapes of Gibson's anti-Semitic rants.