Biblical 'Western' to follow Passion

Now he's given us his version of the crucifixion in the new film, The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson has set his sights on another religious epic: he wants to bring the story of Chanukah to the big screen.

Now he's given us his version of the crucifixion in the new film, The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson has set his sights on another religious epic: he wants to bring the story of Chanukah to the big screen.

In the wake of accusations of anti-semitism in his treatment of Christ's death, he now says he's planning a movie based on the famous Jewish rebellion 200 years before the birth of Christ.

"The story that's always fired my imagination is the book of Maccabees," he says.

"It's about Antiochus, the king who set up his religion in the Temple and forced them all to deny their true God and worship at his feet and pray to false gods.

"Maccabees stood up and they made war, they stuck by their guns and they came out winning. It's like a Western," he says.

The victory of the Maccabees and a priest named Mattathias led to the celebration of Chanukah.

Judging by the success of his latest film, The Passion Of The Christ, the new one is likely to be another huge box office blockbuster.

Gibson is well known as a Republican supporter of President George W Bush. But the star is thinking of changing his allegiance because he disapproves of Bush's handling of the Iraq War.

"It's all to do with these weapons of mass destruction that we can't seem to find and I wonder why did we go over there?"

He says he's been "having doubts of late" about the President but in the run-up to the American Presidential election, Gibson does not say whether he'll give his support to presumed Democratic candidate, John Kerry.

Actors including Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon have all spoken out against the Iraq conflict.

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