Catholics in Hollywood!

Remember how Joe Eszterhas came back to his childhood faith and wrote a script for MPower about Our Lady of Guadalupe?  Yeah, those were good times.  Well, it seems he hooked up with Mel Gibson on a project based on one of those Catholic books of the Bible.  It was all downhill from there.

[Language alert!]


  1. notrelatedtoted says

    Joe and Mel work on an Old Testament movie……..THAT’s your movie right there. Sort of like the Odd Couple meets the Player.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      I have to say, the scene where Mel allegedly screams at the heavens that he’s not going to take it up the ass and say Thank You any more struck me as extraordinarily cinematic. Moving, even. I would write the heck out of this story.

      • notrelatedtoted says

        I completely agree…’s almost as if the letter was written for the screen!

        Personally, I loved the bit about the surfing. You should use “Surfing with Mel” as your working title.

        • Matthew Lickona says

          Okay, now I’m all agitated and inspired. Open on a long shot of Mel’s Malibu estate. We hear sounds of sobbing, screaming, stuff getting broken, a marked contrast to the serene, Mediterranean splendor of the vista.

          Voiceover (MEL GIBSON): The Catholic Church is not a big fancy church in Rome paid for by people trying to buy their way into heaven. It’s not a guy in a funny hat telling people who they’re allowed to screw and how they’re allowed to screw them. It’s not even weeping, bloody Jesus on the cross – I should know, I made a movie about him.

          As the voiceover progresses, we cut to a mid-range shot of a private chapel on the estate. It’s a gorgeous little building. Suddenly, one of the stained-glass windows shatters from the inside, and we hear, clearly, Gibson bellowing from within.

          Voiceover: No, the Catholic Church is rehab. It’s a halfway house for people who are just smart enough to know they’re fucked up, and just dumb enough to hope there’s something that can be done about it short of getting their own shit together or blowing their brains out. They know they can’t make it out in the world on their own, so they come here for support. Meetings on Sunday. There’s rules posted by the door, but nobody really checks to make sure you’re in compliance.

          As voiceover progresses, cut to interior of chapel. Gibson is inside, and he’s tearing the place apart. Pews are upended. Light fixtures shattered. The crucifix has been torn off the wall behind the altar. Now Gibson is wielding a huge monstrance like a bat, breaking windows and smashing statues. We come on the scene just as he winds up on a statue depicting Mary – one that looks just like the Mary from The Passion of the Christ. With a guttural cry of anguish, he swings and smashes her head.

          Voiceover: You meet a lot of people inside. Some are on their way up, some on their way down. Some are lifers, and some walk in one day with their eyes shining like they’ve just found Jesus or something. Others have tried to move out and go it alone, only to wind up back inside. That’s how it was for Joe and me. Maybe that’s why I thought we could work together.

          Panting, heaving, Gibson stops his rampage and surveys the damange, simultaneously thrilled and horrified at what he’s done. He pauses to look at the monstrance, which still amazingly, contains the Host.

          Voiceover: That’s part of why I liked it here. It’s the kind of place that makes you think things like that. Makes you hopeful. But eventually, you learn what I learned, what everybody in the recovery business learns if they’re not lying to themselves: some of us just aren’t going to make it.

          He drops the monstrance to the ground, turns, splashes holy water on his face like the font is a sink, and walks out of the chapel.



          • Jonathan Potter says

            This is genius. Have you thought about casting yet? Hugh Laurie as Mel, I’m thinkin’.

            • Matthew Lickona says

              Not bad. But is he scary enough when enraged? Thanks for the kind word.

              • Matthew Lickona says

                Maybe Nick Nolte for Joe?

                • Jonathan Webb says

                  It would be better than Braveheart.

                  • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

                    Everyone who’s egging you on is right.

                    If you fictionalized the names, Citizen Kane-style, you might-could really run with this.

                    • notrelatedtoted says

                      Damn, that’s good. The idea of church as rehab is fascinating, particularly when told from the perspective of someone about to slip into the abyss.

                      And let’s not forget Esterhas’s story either – has-been screenwriter more infamous than famous, re-converted to the church, but not quite square with it. Has a shot a resurrecting his career, but has to reinvent himself as a writer. Smash-cut to being trapped on a tropical island with a howling lunatic and not a single word written.

                      This thing practically writes itself!

                    • Matthew Lickona says

                      Right into a brick wall, Angelico.

                      Not-Ted, you’re absolutely right.

            • Brian Cox as Mel.

              Nolte as Eszterhas.

              Ben Kingsley as Abbie Foxman.

              James Woods as Cardinal Mahoney.

              Rachel McAdams as Grigorieva

              Jim Caveziel as a young Mel.

              (Nolte as a young Eszterhas – becuase c’mon, was Eszterhas EVER young, really?)

              Anyone else?


              • Matthew Lickona says

                Good stuff. Sigh.

                • (Oh, and Bill Nighy as Hutton Gibson)


                  • Matthew Lickona says

                    Jeez, JOB, the Muse seems to have picked you on this one.

                    In the shower, I thought of a late-night scene, Joe and Mel smoking cigars out on the veranda, the only light coming from the candle on the table between them.

                    “Don’t you see, Joe? The Jews are God’s problem. He chose them, and they told him to shove off. The salvation of the whole world is just God saying to the Jews, ‘You won’t eat what I made for you? Fine, then I’ll feed it to the damn dogs!’ It wasn’t meant for us. It was meant for them. They’re the thorn in God’s side, the first born He raised up to inherit everything. Hitler saw that the Jews were problematic, but he was a madman. He thought they had to be wiped out – as if that would solve anything. But I know better, and that’s why I’m making this movie. I’m going to get them to accept their birthright.”

                  • And Matthew Modine as his annoying friend JOB who hits home with pinpoint accurate casting suggestions…


              • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

                Julia Stiles as Jodie Foster.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    Try writing it as a novel.

  3. I can actually see all of this in my head–it’s freaking brilliant–especially the balcony scene. I want to see the whole movie now.

  4. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    It is as it was.

Speak Your Mind