By Tom Quiner
This could be the answer to a prayer.
The Hollywood Reporter claims Mel Gibson is contemplating a sequel to “The Passion of the Christ” based on the rich resurrection stories found in sacred scripture.
His script writer from the 1995 smash-hit “Braveheart,” Randall Wallace, is apparently at work on a script. Wallace studied religion at Duke University and approaches the story with the dignity it deserves:
“I always wanted to tell this story. The Passion is the beginning and there’s a lot more story to tell.”
The Hollywood Reporter mischaracterized the controversy surrounding Gibson’s 2004 blockbuster:
“While the original was heavily criticised due to the staggering level of violence used as it told the story of Christ’s crucifixion, the new film is likely to have a far more upbeat tone.”
If you recall, Hollywood wouldn’t touch the project before a single frame was shot. And since when has Hollywood shied away from violence? Ever seen a Tarantino or Scorcese film?
The controversy was grounded in Gibson’s decision to make his movie unapologetically Christian. The Jewish community was concerned that the movie would portray Jews as “Christ killers,” even though Christians generally, and the Catholic Church specifically, do not blame the Jews. In fact, it was the Romans who actually carried out the execution.
Here’s a sampling of the outrage directed at Gibson and “The Passion of the Christ:”
“Only for sadists, only for masochists could this [film] be beautiful. And for him [Mel Gibson] to say, ‘I’m doing this because God commanded me’—there’s a certain arrogance. He’s on another trip. But that’s fine, you know? It’s his money. As long as we don’t pay the price!” ABRAHAM FOXMAN, National Director of the Jewish Anti Defamation League
“Mel Gibson could have made a thoroughly Christian Passion play without beating up on the Jews, vilifying my religion, my people, as he’s done. It’s also a sadomasochistic film.” RABBI JAMES RUDIN
“Catholics who take seriously Pope John Paul II’s commitment, made during his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in March 2000, ‘to genuine fellowship with the people of the Covenant’ should ask whether it is acceptable for a filmmaker—even though he repeats the teaching of the Council of Trent that Christ died for the sins of all humanity—to combine scenes from the four Gospel accounts with many unbiblical elements so that the malice of the Jewish characters is magnified.” PHILIP CUNNINGHAM, THE AD HOC COMMITTEE OF CATHOLIC AND JEWISH SCHOLARS
“He [Mel Gibson] has featured the single-most divisive issue in Jewish-Christian relations….He has taken this potent, dangerous issue and put fire to it….This is the religious equivalent of road rage.” SISTER MARY C. BOYS
You get the idea.
But Gibson had a singular goal: to make audiences realize the depth of Christ’s sacrifice … for ALL of mankind. As Fr. John Riccardo once said regarding Christ’s flogging and crucifixion:
“If this is the cure, can you imagine the disease?”
Gibson, being Gibson, wanted to portray this disease without pulling any punches. He showed the “cure” in seemingly non-stop floggings and gruesome crucifixion. Movie goers accepted the premise and took this bitter dose of cinematic medicine to pay tribute to their Savior.
Mel Gibson knows how to tell a story. Christians flocked to this movie which Hollywood refused to fund. Gibson had to use $30 million of his own money to direct and produce a movie that grossed some $612 million. Says Mr. Wallace:
“The evangelical community considers The Passion the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood, and they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger.”
Rumor has it that now Hollywood is licking their chops to cash in, but Wallace won’t have any part of it:
“It’s too early to talk money. This is such a huge and sacred subject.”
Entertainment Weekly ranked “The Passion of the Christ” as the most controversial film in history.
Even more controversial than “Deep Throat” which celebrated fellatio.
Even more controversial than the ultra violent “Clockwork Orange.”
Even more controversial than “Last Tango in Paris” which mainstreamed sodomy.
Mel Gibson’s foibles as a human being are public knowledge. A guy who fights anger and alcoholism, and lost his family because of it, understands the terrible price of sin. This is the type of guy who understands why we so desperately need Christ.
He served up a dose of medicine dramatizing death in The Passion.
I can only imagine the beauty of the resurrection story in his hands. The world is ready for a helping of spiritual dessert.