Transcript: 'Life of Brian' Re-Release to Meet 'Passion' in Theaters

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, March 25, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get a move on there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you'll be in trouble.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be a blow, wouldn't it? I wouldn't have nothing to do.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Another controversial movie about a Jewish fellow from Nazareth looked up to as the messiah and crucified by the Romans. Twenty- five years before "The Passion of the Christ," Monty Python's (search) "Life of Brian" was somewhat less popular with Christians who found it blasphemous.

The movie is a comedy based on the life of Brian of Nazareth. The movie is being re-released next month for its anniversary and to ride Mel Gibson's coattails. Producer John Goldstone (search) joins me from London. Here is the big question, John, can the "Life of Brian" compete with "The Passion of the Christ"?

JOHN GOLDSTONE, PRODUCER, "LIFE OF BRIAN": Hi, John. We don't want to compete. We just want to really give people our own — you know, it's a funny movie, and it's — it's got a very different message.

GIBSON: OK. What is the message?

GOLDSTONE: We're all individuals, I think it says. And the movie, you know, has always been recognized as much more an analysis of organized religion than any question of Christianity.

GIBSON: John, would you be releasing this again on its 25th anniversary, or did Gibson's movie 'cause you to say, uh-huh, a moment to be exploited?

GOLDSTONE: Well, it kind of came about. We were talking — this year being the 25th anniversary — we were trying to figure out really what the best way was to handle it, and along came Mel. And it really gave us something to compare with and something to give people another view.

GIBSON: Well, John, the other thing is, let's face it, Mel Gibson's (search) movie is being taken very seriously by a very large number of people. They probably are not going to think Eric Idle et al are going to be so funny in comparison to the Gibson movie.

GOLDSTONE: I don't think they should be compared. I think they're completely different entertainments. I mean, Mel's film is a very serious diatribe and his personal view of Christianity and "The Passion." This is Monty Python's view of a time when people were following false prophets, and here is an easier way it take it.

GIBSON: But you use that word, diatribe. I take it you might not agree with Mel Gibson, and so, therefore, the question is, are you putting forward the "Life of Brian" as, you know, the personal statement of you and the Pythons to Gibson and everybody who follows and believes, you know, his movie should be taken seriously?

GOLDSTONE: No. I mean, we come from a different position. I mean, this film has been available for 25 years. When it first came out, people were outraged by it, but they were generally people who had never seen the film, and they were prejudging it based on what they thought was in it. But as we have seen, you know, some people consider this the funniest film ever made. So, you know, I — Mel has done what he wants to do. This is just a very timely thing to do.

GIBSON: Well, I mean, yes. Look, the "Life of Brian" has been around for 25 years. Many of us have seen it repeatedly. The Pythons are all funny fellows and have been — have had long careers of being funny fellows. Nonetheless, it seems as though you guys are saying take that, Mel. We're going to put this out again.

GOLDSTONE: If that's the way you see it, but, you know, I don't think we're being as extreme as that. I mean, we're just saying here is our movie. We want to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It happens to be in contrast to another movie that's out right now. Judge for yourself.

GIBSON: But the last thing before I run out of time, John.


GIBSON: The bucks. I mean, one of the things you have to notice about Mel Gibson's movie is something approaching $300 million in — in revenues, so what kind of ...

GOLDSTONE: And up wards.

GIBSON: And upwards. What are your expectations in the bucks department?

GOLDSTONE: Well, bucks really — we're going to see. I mean, we're opening quite modestly in New York and Los Angeles at the end of the month, and then going to spread out following that. If people want to go and see it, we'll be thrilled. But I just think they want to have something else to see.

GIBSON: Well ...

GOLDSTONE: And something that is funny.

GIBSON: We always want funny. John Goldstone, producer of the Monty Python "Life of Brian." John, thank you very much for coming on and good luck.

GOLDSTONE: My pleasure, thank you.

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