Hollywood star Mel Gibson has said Catholics and Jews should not be upset about his new film about Christ, saying the movie will "inspire not offend".
Gibson's Christ film will not feature English dialogue - or even subtitles
Gibson's is the director of The Passion, which stars The Thin Red Line's Jim Caviezel as Christ and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. It features Latin and Aramaic dialogue and no English subtitles.
"The Passion is a movie meant to inspire not offend," Gibson said in a statement printed in film industry paper Variety on Friday.
"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 (or none) who have varying familiarity with this story."
His statement comes after accusations from Catholic ministers that the film is anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had been earlier been critical of The Passion, apologised for attacking the film, which is unreleased and has to find a distributor in the US.
The furore over the $25m project began in March after a profile in the New York Times about Gibson's father Hutton Gibson. It said Gibson senior was a Holocaust denier.
Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote to the Braveheart star concerned the film would show Jews in a negative light.
"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," Gibson said.
"But there is no such record. Nor do I hate anybody - certainly not the Jews."