Date: 14th October 2003

'Huge interest' in Gibson's film

Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion, about Christ's death, has generated "an incredible groundswell of interest", its film company has said.
So many fans sought out the trailer on the internet when it was first posted that the sites had to take it down.

In one day, 350,000 people downloaded it from Ain't It Cool News when it became available three months ago.

The Passion - which is still without a distributor - has been criticised amid fears it could encourage anti-Semitism.

The Passion has been directed and co-written by Gibson, and depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.

Bruce Davey, president of film company Icon, which made it, told the Hollywood Reporter: "People are passionate about this film."

Harry Knowles, who runs Ain't It Cool News, said he took the trailer down after it was posted because "my site ground to a halt".

"It's a great trailer, the best I've seen this year," he said. "Probably too graphic for audiences."

Another site that posted the trailer for a short time was

Richard Morales, who runs the site, said: "I got too many hits. My bandwidth couldn't survive it."

He still links to another site that hosts the trailer and said 10,000 people per week - 30% of his readers - click on the link.

The film's dialogue is in Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic, and is seen as a risky venture for any major film studio to get involved.

Source: Press Release