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Future of Judah Maccabee film uncertain

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The future of a film about ancient Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee may be close to flickering out.

Warner Bros. spokesman Paul McGuire said Friday that the studio is “analyzing what to do with the project.”

The film about the biblical hero was to be a collaboration between producer Mel Gibson and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. After the studio recently rejected Eszterhas’ script, the screenwriter accused Gibson of anti-Semitism in a letter published online. Gibson responded with his own letter denying the allegations.

In 2006, Gibson was arrested for drunken driving. A leaked arrest report revealed he used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

The Eszterhas allegations and Gibson’s history prompted Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to issue a statement Thursday calling for Warner Bros. and all other studios “to permanently shelve the Maccabee project as long as Mel Gibson is associated with the film.”

The Maccabees’ unlikely victory over those who would repress Jewish religious freedoms is celebrated on Chanukah, the Jewish festival of light.

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