Will Mel Gibson Save Vienna?
Word has emerged that blockbuster director Mel Gibson has been approached to direct a film about the 1683 Siege of Vienna. The project, under the working title of 'Victory', has been in the pipeline for a couple of years now and shooting is scheduled to begin in 2008.
Producer Mariusz Bialek hopes that the star of Braveheart and Mad Max will not only take up the director's baton, but also that of the lead role - King Jan Sobieski, the legendary Polish monarch who beat back the Turks from the gates of Vienna.
'All the signs show that he (Gibson) is interested in this project and its theme' Bielak revealed to Polish reporters. "We want to create a product on the highest level, thus we cannot talk about any compromise. Gibson's previous work guarantees that our project will be a worldwide success.'
The movie is mainly being financed in Poland, and if realised, it will be the most expensive Polish film of all time, running in at 120m zl ($40m).
Talkboards reveal that Poles are a tad reserved about the Australian star stepping into the shoes of Poland's most heroic king, with one commentator predicting the 'greatest comedy of the year.'
However, Cezary Harasimowic, an acclaimed screenwriter who has already penned the script, believes that Gibson is not so far off the mark:
'Jan III Sobieski was a charismatic figure, a great strategist, a phenomenal knight, and to cap it all, head over heels in love with his wife. This is the kind of figure that Mel Gibson played in 'Braveheart,' but this is a less tragic role - Sobieski triumphed.'
The Relief of Vienna by a Catholic Alliance in 1683 was the final nail in the coffin for Turkish designs on Central Europe. Historians regard it as a turning point in European History. The Ottoman Siege lasted two months, with Sobieski arriving just in the nick of time to save the day.
* The quotations in this article are translated from an article in the Polish newspaper 'Gazeta Wyborcza' .