Hold onto your yarmulkes! Mel Gibson — the Oscar-winning actor-director whose star has faded these past few years amid anti-Semitic remarks, domestic violence allegations, and two box-office disappointments (Edge of Darkness and this summer’s The Beaver) — is now developing an untitled epic about the Jewish warrior hero Judah Maccabee, EW has confirmed. (Deadline first reported the story.)
Gibson is producing the film for Warner Bros. through his Icon Productions company. Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) has signed on the write the script, and upon its completion, Gibson will have the option to direct the film if he so chooses.
Judah Maccabee, along with his father and four brothers, led the Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies of the Seleucid Empire during the second century BCE. His victory, and the subsequent restoration of Jewish worship at Jerusalem’s Holy Temple, is commemorated by the holiday of Hanukkah. Gibson has reportedly long been interested in the story of Maccabee, and once considered this project as a possible follow-up to The Passion of the Christ, which remains the highest-grossing R-rated film ever domestically ($370.8 million).