Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mel Gibson Developing Holocaust Mini-Series

Is this bizarre, or what?.
Mr. Gibson's television production company will base the four-hour miniseries for ABC on the self-published memoir of Flory A. Van Beek, a Dutch Jew whose gentile neighbors hid her from the Nazis but who lost several relatives in concentration camps.

The project is in its early stages, so there is no guarantee that it will be completed. Mr. Gibson is not expected to act in the mini-series, nor is it certain that his name, rather than his company's, will be publicly attached to the final product, according to several people involved in developing it.

But Quinn Taylor, ABC's senior vice president for movies for television, acknowledged that the attention-getting value of having Mr. Gibson attached to a Holocaust project was a factor. "Controversy's publicity, and vice versa," Mr. Taylor said.
And I guess all we want is publicity, right? Well, it gets more twisted:
ABC brought in Con Artists [Gibson's production company] after an independent producer, Daniel Sladek, proposed a project to the network based on Ms. Van Beek's story. With her husband, Felix, she survived the sinking of a passenger ship by a German mine, followed by three years in hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands, before going to the United States in 1948.

The network chose Mr. Gibson's company shortly after having rejected a pitch by Ms. Cotton of Con Artists for another Holocaust-related subject, Mr. Taylor said. "This has the middle, the love story, that the other one didn't have," he explained.

Mr. Sladek said ABC's motive in engaging Mr. Gibson - an Academy Award-winning producer and director whose "Passion" sold $370 million in tickets in the United States alone - was to win the largest possible audience. "I think that what ABC wants out of this is to build the biggest billboard imaginable in order to get everyone logically interested to tune in and watch this," Mr. Sladek said.
Well, it's good to get that out in the open - if we're going to have a movie on the Holocaust, it's got to have a love story, I guess so that the great American public doesn't have to focus on the fact that the Holocaust is not, really, you know, a love story! And we need that big billboard, so Gibson's the way to get it. This is about as crass as it gets!

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