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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Gibson plans Latin project
Mel Gibson
Gibson plans to film in both Latin and Aramaic
Actor Mel Gibson is to direct a film about Jesus Christ made entirely in the ancient languages of Latin and Aramaic - without any subtitles.

Gibson, currently starring in Signs, will direct The Passion, a drama focusing on the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ.

The film marks his first return to directing since he won an Oscar for Braveheart in 1995.

"People think I'm crazy, and maybe I am," Gibson said at a news conference in Rome. "But maybe I'm a genius.

"Hopefully I'll be able to transcend language barriers with visual storytelling.

Obviously, nobody wants to touch something filmed in two dead languages

Mel Gibson

"If I fail, I'll put subtitles on it, though I don't want to."

Gibson will not appear in the film, which will begin shooting at Rome's Cinecitta Studios in November.

Jim Caviezel, who appeared in The Thin Red Line, will play Christ, while Italian actress Monica Bellucci is currently in talks to co-star as Mary Magdalene.

Timeless

Gibson told reporters that so far no American studio had expressed interest in distributing the film in the US.

"Obviously, nobody wants to touch something filmed in two dead languages," he said.

"But I think this is a pretty timeless and timely story to tell, involving an area where there's turbulence now just as there was turbulence then because history repeats itself."
Braveheart
Gibson won an Oscar for Braveheart

The Passion will be only the second modern film to have been performed in Latin. The first was British director Derek Jarman's Sebastiane, which was set in the 4th Century.

Gibson has had a very successful year, scoring box office hits with both Signs and the Vietnam War drama We Were Soldiers.

He recently finished filming The Singing Detective, a film adaptation of the Dennis Potter play.

Gibson's previous directorial outing, Braveheart, won five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. His debut as a director was the movie Man Without a Face.

See also:

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