Mel Gibson accuses screenwriter of sabotage

Tim Kenneally, Reuters August 16, 2012, 7:32 am

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Mel Gibson has fired another volley in his seemingly never-ending war of words with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas over their abandoned film project "The Maccabees".

In an interview with Coming Soon, Gibson unloads both barrels on his former partner Eszterhas, saying the screenwriter took forever to turn in a script - and when he did, it was "heinous".

"Okay, so a guy gets paid to write a screenplay and doesn't turn anything in for 14 months," Gibson told the website. "That's a serious problem. Not even an outline so I lost my nutter with him. I developed a Viking script [for the project 'Berserker'] almost a year after he started, and I already had a second draft and he hadn't even given me an outline. And he was at my home on a working holiday and he didn't even bring one word."

During the interview, Gibson insisted he had provided Eszterhas with plenty of fodder for the script in the form of story ideas, imagery and dialogue - little of which made it into the final (and, according to Gibson, hastily assembled) script.

"So my best ideas I put in front of him, hoping that he took some of those, but he squandered them and alluded to them in his so-called screenplay, which I swear he must have written in three days," Gibson said. "It's really bad with heinous, bad, shonky, D-grade dialogue. And after 18 months of waiting, from when we started talking, that's what came in. And of course the studio also recognized it as not very good."

Eszterhas told TheWrap that he had no comment on Gibson's latest statements.

"I've said everything I have to say in my book, 'Heaven and Mel.' It's time to move on," Eszterhas said, referring to his tell-all e-book, released in early June.

Gibson went on to suggest that Eszterhas somehow intended to sabotage him by allegedly dragging his feet on the script.

"He never intended to write a script," the actor asserted. "His whole intention was to set me up somehow."

Gibson and Eszterhas had a now-infamous falling out over "The Maccabees," about a rebel Jewish army. The war of words was first reported on TheWrap, starting with a letter from Eszterhas to the "Lethal Weapon" star in April.

In the letter, Eszterhas recalls how Gibson - who famously unleashed an anti-Semitic tirade during his arrest during a 2006 DUI arrest - referred to Jews as "oven-dodgers" and "Jewboys."

Eszterhas also provided a recording, made by his son Nick on his iPod, of Gibson ranting during a visit to his Costa Rica property in December 2011. On the recording, Gibson can be heard knocking over a totem pole in his billiard room, throwing a cell phone and ranting about his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

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