Mel Gibson Film to Rely on Latin, Aramaic and Images

Production of «Passion» Under Way

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ROME, NOV. 19, 2002 ( Mel Gibson knows he’s taking a chance in his forthcoming film on Jesus — including the dubbing in ancient Latin and Aramaic.

Gibson also wants «Passion» to be a sort of mute film where the images say it all.

«I would like to be able to transcend the barriers of language with scenes that recount the story by themselves,» Gibson said during a press conference in Rome.

«Many think I am mad, and perhaps I am. Or maybe I am a genius,» he added jokingly.

This is the first film Gibson has directed since 1995’s «Braveheart.»

The filming of «Passion,» centered on Jesus’ last hours on earth, is already under way.

The cast is made up primarily of Italian actors. Initially, actress Monica Bellucci refused to take part in the film, but at Gibson’s insistence she eventually agreed to play the part of Mary Magdalen.

Jim Caviezel plays the part of Jesus of Nazareth. Romanian Maia Morgensen, 42, is cast in the role of Jesus’ Mother.

Scenes of the last hours of Christ’s life are being filmed in the Italian cities of Sassi de Matera and Craco. Some of the scenes, including the trial under Pontius Pilate and King Herod, will be filmed in Roman studios.

Sassi is a favorite city of directors who have filmed the life of Jesus. It has been transformed by decorations, including towers, fortified walls, the three crosses of Golgotha, vendors’ stalls as they were 2,000 years ago, and hundreds of extras dressed in tunics and sandals.

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