Sharon Waxman of the New York Times L.A. bureau gets the news that Mel Gibson has agreed to cut the most controversial scene in The Passion of the Christ.
A scene in the film, in which the Jewish high priest Caiaphas calls down a kind of curse on the Jewish people by declaring of the Crucifixion, "His blood be on us and on our children," will not be in the movie's final version, said the Gibson associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The passage had been included in some versions of the film that were shown before select groups, mostly of priests and ministers.
"It didn't work in the focus screenings," the associate said. "Maybe it was thought to be too hurtful, or taken not in the way it was intended. It has been used terribly over the years."
It's in tomorrow's paper. I have to trust Movie City News that Waxman is the first to report it.
And in the L.A. Times, Tim Rutten covers the continuing squabble between Gibson, the Anti-Defamation League and Rabbi Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center -- most recently over the actor's interview in Reader's Digest. In it, Gibson says his father, a Holocaust denier, never lies, so Peggy Noonan asks him to say on the record that the Holocaust happened. Gibson's waffly answer didn't please the ADL:
"Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, responded that "reading this, I have to conclude that, at best, Mr. Gibson is ignorant and, at worse, he is insensitive. War was not the cause of the Holocaust; Jews died because of who they were. The Holocaust is different in kind from other historical tragedies because it's about people being slaughtered for who they were. Comparing it to the famine in the Ukraine, which was terrible, is nonetheless ignorant and insensitive."
Update II: Lorenza Munoz's piece in the Monday LAT didn't have the news that the blood curse won't be in the final picture, but she reported that it was not included in an unfinished cut of the movie viewed last week.