General News

Mel Gibson Says His Religious Film Won't Offend Anyone

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Jun 16, 2003 | 10:11am EDT

Actor and director Mel Gibson vehemently supports his new film, The Passion, saying it will "inspire not offend" Catholics and Jews, The Associated Press reports.

"My intention in bringing it to the screen is to create a lasting work of art and engender serious thought among audiences of diverse faith backgrounds," Gibson said in a statement to Variety on Friday.

His statement came after the film--which looks at Christ during the last 12 hours of his life and features dialogue only in Latin and Aramaic with no English subtitles--received criticism from religious factions as being anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. Yet as Gibson was making his remarks, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had been critical of The Passion, apologized for attacking a film that is still unreleased, AP reports.

"If the intense scrutiny during my 25 years in public life revealed I had ever persecuted or discriminated against anyone based on race or creed, I would be all too willing to make amends. But there is no such record," the actor's statement read in Variety.

Directed by Gibson, the reported $25 million production stars Jim Caviezel as Jesus and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. The film has not yet found a distributor.

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