Mel Gibson is going back to the ancient world for his next film, and like "The Passion of the Christ," it will be shot in an archaic tongue.
Writer-director Gibson plans an October starting date to shoot "Apocalypto," set 500 years ago in Central America, his spokesman, Alan Nierob, said Monday. Dialogue will be spoken in an obscure Mayan dialect, in the same way Gibson used Aramaic and Latin for his religious blockbuster "The Passion."
Also like "The Passion," Gibson will bankroll "Apocalypto" himself. Disney has signed on to release it domestically for a fee, similar to the deal Gibson struck with Newmarket Films to distribute "The Passion," one of 2004's top hits with $370 million in domestic revenues.
"We couldn't be more excited about working again with Mel and his team," said Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, whose previous collaborations with Gibson include "Signs" and "Ransom." "This is one of the most original and unique scripts we've ever had the opportunity to read recently, and we plan for this to be an anchor of our summer schedule."
Due out next summer, "Apocalypto" will feature a cast of unknowns native to the area in Mexico where the film will be shot, according to the Hollywood trade paper Variety. Gibson will not appear in the film.
At least three other studios passed on "Apocalypto," but others made bids for it, according to Variety.
It was a far different reception than Gibson got for "The Passion," which studios passed on distributing because of its divisive religious themes.