Mel Gibson’s long-gestating film about Jewish hero Judah Maccabee hit another bump in the road yesterday when it was reported that screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (who left the project in February) wrote Gibson a nine-page letter that accused Gibson of using anti-Semitic slurs and ultimately concluded, “You hate Jews.” Gibson has responded to the Basic Instinct scribe, calling the allegations “utter fabrications.”
Per a Deadline report, Gibson called into question not only the work Eszterhas put into his script, but also Eszterhas’s “purported” principles for not pulling out of the project sooner. “I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script,” wrote Gibson. He addressed Eszterhas’s alleged altercation by admitting that “like most creative people I am passionate and intense,” then apologizing once more for his prior conflicts with Eszterhas. However, he did challenge the writers’ assertions that the Maccabees project was only a stunt to recover Gibson’s reputation, noting that development has been public knowledge for nearly a decade.
“Honestly, Joe, not only was the script delivered later than you promised, both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time,” wrote Gibson. “I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication.”
Click through to the next page to read the letter in full.