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Reel World: 6/20/03

Friday, June 20, 2003

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

'PASSION' PLAY

Mel Gibson insists his forthcoming film about Jesus Christ will "inspire, not offend" Catholics and Jews.

The movie, which the actor directs, stars James Caviezel as Christ during the last 12 hours of his life and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. The reported $25 million production will feature dialogue only in Latin and Aramaic with no English subtitles.

" 'The Passion' is a movie meant to inspire, not offend," Gibson said in a statement published in the trade newspaper Variety. "My intention in bringing it to the screen is to create a lasting work of art and engender serious thought among audiences of diverse faith backgrounds."

Gibson made the statement to rebut criticism that "The Passion" is anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic.

RUBEN AND SCOOBY

"American Idol" champ Ruben Studdard, 24, will make his movie debut in March alongside Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar in "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed." The big guy will play the lead singer in a band hired for a party.

'KISS AND TELL'

Former Pittsburgher Michaline Babich's nine-minute short film "Kiss and Tell," which played at this year's Sundance Film Festival, has been invited to the Los Angeles Film Festival and is scheduled to be shown later this month at the Silver Docs documentary festival in Silver Spring, Md.

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