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Posted: 3/19/2006 6:24:12 PM EDT
www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1174684,00.html

Apocalypto Now
EXCLUSIVE: You'd think Mel Gibson was all done with violent movies about the past told in a foreign tongue, right? Think again
By TIM PADGETT/VERACRUZ

Posted Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006
"I need to see the blood!" shouts Mel Gibson. "Your character is going to die soon!" He picks up a bullhorn: "Attention! We are all dying here! We are all dying!" The Oscar-winning director is standing in a rock quarry near Veracruz, Mexico, shooting a hellish scene for Apocalypto, his action epic about the ancient Maya. Hundreds of local extras--many of whom have never seen a movie, let alone acted in one--are pounding fake limestone to build a temple used for human sacrifices. Gibson wants one of the extras, covered in white lime dust, to visibly cough up a glob of fake blood. But something keeps getting lost in translation. Take after take, the young man, who speaks only Spanish, politely covers his mouth as he hacks. A second candidate for the role does the same. Gibson finally lets out a tortured howl, digs vainly for a cigarette in his empty pack of Camels and turns the set into his own Thunderdome. The translator does his best to convey the passion of the Mel.

The blasts turn to laughs soon after when, to lighten the mood, Gibson has the crew bring out a stuffed jaguar and leads the extras running away in mock terror. But later he admits to TIME, which this month was given the first look at Apocalypto's production, that the utter inexperience of most of the cast is a price he's paying for the authentic feel he wants in the film, in which dialogue is spoken solely in Yucatec Maya. If people were imagining that Gibson, 50, might coast a little after his 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, inspired not only months of controversy but also nearly $1 billion worth of ticket sales, the director has given his answer: Nope. If anything, this film is a more ambitious project than The Passion--although success does make some things a mite easier. Gibson had to walk a via dolorosa to find a distributor for The Passion and ended up distributing it more or less himself, but Disney's Touchstone Pictures needed only to read Apocalypto's script before signing on to release it in early August.

The Passion experience--especially the part in which critics hurled anti-Semitism charges at Gibson, an ultraconservative Roman Catholic whose father has questioned whether the Holocaust happened--thickened Gibson's hide along with his wallet. So if there are complaints about Apocalypto's portrayal of human sacrifice by the Maya, whose mostly impoverished descendants today are a cause célèbre for liberals, Gibson says he won't care. "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying f___ about much of what those critics think."

Still, he likes to confound expectations--he wears a cross containing relics of martyred saints, but he can swear like a Quentin Tarantino character--and those who peg him as a reactionary may be surprised to learn that his new film sounds warnings straight out of liberal Hollywood's bible. Apocalypto, which Gibson loosely translates from the Greek as "a new beginning," was inspired in large part by his work with the Mirador Basin Project, an effort to preserve a large swath of the Guatemalan rain forest and its Maya ruins. Gibson and his rookie cowriter on Apocalypto, Farhad Safinia, were captivated by the ancient Maya, one of the hemisphere's first great civilizations, which reached its zenith about A.D. 600 in southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. The two began poring over Maya myths of creation and destruction, including the Popol Vuh, and research suggesting that ecological abuse and war-mongering were major contributors to the Maya's sudden collapse, some 500 years before Europeans arrived in the Americas.

Those apocalyptic strains haunt Apocalypto, which takes place in an opulent but decaying Maya kingdom, whose leaders insist that if the gods are not appeased by more temples and human sacrifices, the crops will die. But the writers hope that the larger themes of decline will be a wake-up call. "The parallels between the environmental imbalance and corruption of values that doomed the Maya and what's happening to our own civilization are eerie," says Safinia. Gibson, who insists ideology matters less to him than stories of "penitential hardship" like his Oscar-winning Braveheart, puts it more bluntly: "The fearmongering we depict in this film reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys."

But the project also fulfills Gibson's need for speed. The hunk who played Mad Max 27 years ago wants to "shake up the stale action-adventure genre," which he feels has been taken hostage by computer-generated imagery (CGI), stock stories and shallow characters. To rattle the cage, he says, "we had to think of something utterly different." The Mad Maya hero in Apocalypto is Jaguar Paw. His escape through the Mexican rain forest will "feel like a car chase that just keeps turning the screws," says Gibson, flashing one of his patented bug-eyed expressions. True to the no-pain, no-gain credo of his other films, Apocalypto seeks to deliver enough pre-Columbian punishment--like the decidedly non-CGI mauling of a character by an animal--to rival the medieval gore of Braveheart. "I get pretty banged up in some pretty awful ways," says film newcomer Rudy Youngblood, 25, the Comanche and Cree Indian from Texas who plays Jaguar Paw.

Gibson is betting the chase will feel even hairier thanks to a new digital camera system, Panavision's Genesis, that yields a "tremendous sensation of velocity," says cinematographer Dean Semler, who won an Oscar for Dances with Wolves. All the doom and zoom sound fun, but the ancient Maya are also called the Greeks of the New World--they invented the concept of zero, built astonishing cities and used a more complex calendar than ours. Gibson insists the glory gets its close-ups too. Says Richard Hansen, a Maya scholar at Idaho State University, head of the Mirador Basin Project and a consultant for Apocalypto: "This is by far the best treatment--the first treatment really--of the Maya any film has ever done. I'm amazed at the detail Mel's shooting for."

In fact, says veteran production designer Tom Sanders, Apocalypto "is the hardest show I've ever worked on." Stacks of archaeology books and magazines are strewn about a massive warehouse in Veracruz, where an army of costume and makeup artisans from Mexico and Italy are painstakingly re-creating feathers of the nearly extinct quetzal for royal headdresses and long, looping earlobe extensions for warriors. (Because those prostheses are difficult to apply, the actors must wear them for days on end, which rather spooks fellow guests at the Fiesta Americana Hotel.) This month Gibson starts filming at a sprawling and meticulously appointed city of Maya pyramids and markets that Sanders' crew spent six months building outside Veracruz. It all suggests a Titanic-size budget, but Gibson will say only that his production company, Icon, is spending less than $50 million. (The Passion cost $30 million.)

Given that controversy hit his last film months before it even finished production, Gibson has been careful to build Mesoamerican goodwill for Apocalypto: two-thirds of the cast and crew are Mexican, and Gibson has donated $1 million to communities in Veracruz state affected by Hurricane Stan last year. Mexican cast members like Mayra Sérbulo, 30, a Zapotec Indian who plays a villager, say they expect some criticism of the film from Mexican nationalists (who also tore into Salma Hayek's Frida), especially since it touches on the raw issue of human sacrifice, which scholars don't believe was a prevalent Maya practice until the post-classic period, after A.D. 900, when fiercer influences like the Toltecs and Aztecs arrived. It is in that period, not coincidentally, that Apocalypto is set. "But I'm frankly surprised and excited that someone is making a film about an indigenous Mexican culture that most Mexicans don't even know all that well," says Sérbulo. "I feel valued by this movie."

Gibson nonetheless is a lightning rod--pro-Mel and anti-Mel blogs abound on the Internet--and he knows that even non-Mexican detractors will ask why, if he's so morbidly fascinated with the bloody deeds of Jewish Pharisees and Maya priests, he doesn't hold a mirror to his own church and film the Spanish Inquisition. Gibson won't say that's a future plan, but he nods and agrees that "there are monsters in every culture."

The more immediate question is whether Apocalypto can repeat The Passion's success. After all, devout Christians willing to sit through Latin and Aramaic dialogue to see Christ crucified vastly outnumber Maya scholars. Gibson seems certain that the film's "kinetic energy" will make Maya language and culture "cool" enough to attract a crowd. Maya prophecy says the current world, which began 5,000 years ago, will end in 2012. So, even if Apocalypto flops, Gibson will at least have given the Maya one last chance to get the word out.

Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:24:53 PM EDT
looks interesting.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:42:37 PM EDT
I think it will either be a masterpiece, or spectacularly bad.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:43:59 PM EDT
Probably the only movie I'll go to the theaters to see this year.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:44:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:
I think it will either be a masterpiece, or spectacularly bad.



Just like his last movie.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:56:08 PM EDT
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:57:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!




Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:58:22 PM EDT
For some reason, Gibson seems to be drawn to the bloody and brutal, and he does a magnificent job at portraying it.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:58:46 PM EDT
What was his last movie? Passion? I don't keep up with this stuff.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 7:03:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 7:03:28 PM EDT
Lethal Weapon 8?
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 7:10:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.



Link Posted: 3/19/2006 7:16:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.

img.photobucket.com/albums/v392/adairtd/Funny/jesus_superman.jpg



Teh oh noes!11!!
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 7:28:55 PM EDT
This might be as big a hit as Waterworld
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 8:22:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DarkKnight:
This might be as big a hit as Waterworld

That was Kevin Costner
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 8:22:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 8:24:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 9:08:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.



Robot Jox...hands down.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 9:15:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.



If you think Passion was a snuff film, you probably think American Pie is a classic in movie making. You just don't like the fact that you will have to give account for your decisions one day, and keep that prospect at a distance by mocking it.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 9:16:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.



If you think Passion was a snuff film, you probably think American Pie is a classic in movie making. You just don't like the fact that you will have to give account for your decisions one day, and keep that prospect at a distance by mocking it.




Link Posted: 3/20/2006 3:04:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VLODPG:


Yea, Like you actually watched it!



Originally Posted By adair_usmc:


I did. Worst movie evar.





It looks like you don't see many movies! Oh well, I guess we will have to agree to disagree!
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:06:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By DarkKnight:
This might be as big a hit as Waterworld

That was Kevin Costner



Yup, it was, but not my point.
I smell a big price tag on this one, and it goes nowhere at the box office.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:08:03 AM EDT
Wasn't Paparazzi the last film Mel did?
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:12:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:


Yea, Like you actually watched it!



Originally Posted By adair_usmc:


I did. Worst movie evar.





It looks like you don't see many movies! Oh well, I guess we will have to agree to disagree!



adair_usmc,
Enlighten me. What, who or where is evar?
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:12:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hakim:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:


Yea, Like you actually watched it!



Originally Posted By adair_usmc:


I did. Worst movie evar.





It looks like you don't see many movies! Oh well, I guess we will have to agree to disagree!



adair_usmc,
Enlighten me. What, who or where is evar?



Get a clue

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=evar
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:15:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By hakim:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:


Yea, Like you actually watched it!



Originally Posted By adair_usmc:


I did. Worst movie evar.





It looks like you don't see many movies! Oh well, I guess we will have to agree to disagree!



adair_usmc,
Enlighten me. What, who or where is evar?



Get a clue

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=evar



INTERESTING!
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:21:22 AM EDT
The pre-Contant Maya were a people who are so foriegn to our way of thinking that it is almost impossible to concieve of their society. Human sacrifice was the backbone and mainstay.

On the other hand they rivaled the Greeks and Romans in architecture and mathematics.

I am very interested to see how they are portrayed in this film. Even though Gibson's Passion did use Aramaic and (ecclesiastical rather than classical) Latin, it did VERY poorly in regards to the authenticity of the Roman military.

I doubt that Apocalypto will be any better researched, but I am curiuos to see how badly it mangles historical detail.

Link Posted: 3/20/2006 11:31:36 AM EDT
I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 11:42:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
The pre-Contant Maya were a people who are so foriegn to our way of thinking that it is almost impossible to concieve of their society. Human sacrifice was the backbone and mainstay.

On the other hand they rivaled the Greeks and Romans in architecture and mathematics.

I am very interested to see how they are portrayed in this film. Even though Gibson's Passion did use Aramaic and (ecclesiastical rather than classical) Latin, it did VERY poorly in regards to the authenticity of the Roman military.

I doubt that Apocalypto will be any better researched, but I am curiuos to see how badly it mangles historical detail.




You mean like Braveheart? (Where was the BRIDGE!!)
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 12:55:04 PM EDT
I mean like the cartoonish portrayal of the Roman soldiers, probably the people with the best diet and health care in the world of that time, all portrayed with rotting green teeth, while the Hebrew villagers, who ate little else but roughly milled grain, all had perfect dention.

= Bad

= Virtuous
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 1:00:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
I mean like the cartoonish portrayal of the Roman soldiers, probably the people with the best diet and health care in the world of that time, all portrayed with rotting green teeth, while the Hebrew villagers, who ate little else but roughly milled grain, all had perfect dention.

= Bad

= Virtuous



What you DON'T know because you HAVEN'T studied your HISTORY is that ROMAN SOLDIERS had a penchant for chewing NON-SUGARFREE BUBBLEGUM. It helped them march in synch and STUFF.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 6:49:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By psyops4fun:
I mean like the cartoonish portrayal of the Roman soldiers, probably the people with the best diet and health care in the world of that time, all portrayed with rotting green teeth, while the Hebrew villagers, who ate little else but roughly milled grain, all had perfect dention.

= Bad

= Virtuous




Good catch Welcome back Johnny!!!!

Bob
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 7:39:34 PM EDT
Well, you can pick at the historical authenticity of Gibson's movies, but who else in today's Hollywood would film the stories of the pre-Contact Maya, William Wallace, or Jesus Christ for the matter?

I think Gibson has a reason for choosing this period and people for this film...like the film's tagline says: When the End comes, not everybody is ready to go.

I look forward to it as well.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:00:14 PM EDT
Well one thing that can be learned from Braveheart and the Passion was the same thing learned in the Indian wars! And Nick Berge could have used it as well(take as many of them with you as you can)and save one bullet!

Bob
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:11:35 PM EDT
The Passion is one of the greatest movies ever!
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:28:35 PM EDT
I'm really looking forward to this movie.

and i tend to agree with Mel's sentiment on the critics: Gibson says he won't care. "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying f___ about much of what those critics think."
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:42:13 PM EDT
Mel's movies rock. I give a flying f_ about his critics also. Apocalypto looks amazing. I'll be there day 1.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 9:24:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.



If you think Passion was a snuff film, you probably think American Pie is a classic in movie making. You just don't like the fact that you will have to give account for your decisions one day, and keep that prospect at a distance by mocking it.



TRANSLATION: if you dont like Mel Gibsons 'the passion' you are going TO HELL!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 11:04:23 PM EDT
I don't mind a respectful Atheist. But I will put the chop on a disrespectful one, be he a jarhead or not.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 11:16:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/20/2006 11:18:25 PM EDT by Tomislav]
I'm agnostic as all hell, but I thought The Passion was a great movie. Why would some people expect the torture and crucifiction of a person to be anything but amazingly bloody and gruesome? If you want the Veggie-Tales version of the story, it's available.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 11:56:55 PM EDT
<---- Going to Hell


Originally Posted By t-stox:

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.



If you think Passion was a snuff film, you probably think American Pie is a classic in movie making. You just don't like the fact that you will have to give account for your decisions one day, and keep that prospect at a distance by mocking it.



TRANSLATION: if you dont like Mel Gibsons 'the passion' you are going TO HELL!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!




BC
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 12:04:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mauser101:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By VLODPG:
There was nothing wrong with his last movie!







Yea, Like you actually watched it!



I did. Worst movie evar.


Not even close.



Okay, It was just a -little- bit better than Bio Dome, or Freddy Got Fingered. But not by much. Snuff Films have no entertainment value.



Robot Jox...hands down.



What? That movie was great! Then again, I think I was ten when I saw it. I caught a few minutes of it last year and thought "Wait, this movie really sucks big giant donkey dick."

We now return to arguing about Mel Gibson.

BTW: Braveheart was absolutely awesome. One of my top ten all-time favorites.
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