Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’ Revealed… Sort of


Veracruz is the scene of a newly bearded Mel Gibson‘s next outing, Apocalypto, and it is proving to be quite a unique feature as both Reuters and Variety are carrying independent stories on the film. Gibson spoke out for the first time on his new feature as he emerged from the jungles of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico.

Apocalypto is a thriller set in an ancient Mayan settlement and shot in the Yucatec dialect. The production uses a cast of local actors to tell a story set about 600 years ago, before the Spanish conquest, in the midst of the mysterious decline of the Mayan civilization.

The following is a quote from the Variety article:

The main idea for the film is all in the title, “Apocalypto,” which means an unveiling or new beginning in ancient Greek. Gibson said he hoped the film, set amid the fall of a civilization, where an ending brings about something new, would reflect our own culture. “I am hoping that by focusing on this civilization we are able to be introspective about ourselves.”

The Reuters article also had a few bits and pieces on the storyline:

He said Mayan myths from the Popol Vuh sacred texts formed part of his research for the film, which also drew on input from indigenous groups and Spanish mission texts from the 1700s and Mayan language translators.

Gibson goes on to say the film will be gory at times, a la Braveheart and Passion of the Christ and while it will be filming in the Yucatec dialect he goes on to say it is light on dialogue and instead will rely on visual storytelling and the ancient music of the Maya.

Gibson wrote the script with his assistant Farhad Safina and is also directing. Believe it or not, the film is being set as a summer 2006 tentpole for Disney as no other studio bit on the project over concerns of blood and violence. Yeah, the Mouse House bit, go figure.

As for making independent movies and venturing away from the studio system, Gibson told Variety he’s enjoying his freedom from the studio system. “It allows you to be more bold and take a few more chances.”

Reuters continued Gibson’s sentiments as they quoted him saying, “Above all, film is a business …Independence is a really cool thing as you can be a bit more bold, and take a few more chances with what you do.”

As for a cast list there are still no names announced, but don’t expect anyone you recognize. The actors cast were “mostly indigenous,” with actors culled from Mexico City, the Yucatan and even some U.S. Native Americans. The female lead is a young woman from Veracruz.

To read the full Reuters article click here, for the Variety article go here.

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