Will Academy Freeze Out Mel Gibson's New Film ?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," December 7, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Mel Gibson's new movie, "Apocalypto," which hits theaters nationwide tomorrow, is being hailed as one of the best films of the year. But will Hollywood's tight-knit community of Oscar voters consider the film come award time?

Joining us now is the co-writer for "Apocalypto", Farhad Safinia. And also from 'Variety,' movie critic Todd McCarthy is with us.

I've seen the movie. I've got to tell you, Rod, this is a spectacular movie, gripping movie. It's got a lot of, you know — if you don't like violence, don't go see the movie. But it really grabbed me. It was a tremendous movie. Congratulations.

Tell us where it came from in your thought process.

FARHAD SAFINIA, CO-WRITER, "APOCALYPTO": Well, thank you for saying that. That's very kind. You know, it was right after "The Passion" had finished, and Mel was trying to figure out what he wanted to do next. And we sort of started to talk about what kind of movies really, really excite us.

And it all came about in wanting to make a thrill ride like a real sort of action film, stripping down the mechanics of action films that we'd seen before and creating a real chase movie that kind of got people excited like a bare-knuckle ride kind of thing. And that's really where it started, to be honest.

HANNITY: Todd, I'm going to tell you what it did for me, and it was a thrill ride for me. But honestly, it just sort of brings home this battle of good and evil and a desire to protect one's family and survive.

And I know some of the scenes are gripping. But you know what? This type of evil throughout human history has occurred. I mean, some of the scenes there were real. Your thoughts?

TODD MCCARTHY, MOVIE CRITIC, VARIETY: That's true. I mean, what I initially liked about it, almost more than anything, is it took you to a time and a place that you've never seen before. There's only been one other movie on this whole subject in the history of Hollywood.

And it was almost, you could say, like science fiction, going back to a place that had extraordinary things you've never ever seen. And just the faces alone. The faces of the people he found to be in the film are extraordinary.

And it was the fact that I felt it was researched in great depth, and it was done with great attention to detail. So it wasn't — it is an action film. It is a chase film. But it also has depth in terms of the portraying of a different civilization that we've never seen.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: And Todd, I'm Alan, by the way, and like most people, I've have not seen this film yet. But will people see this violence that's been talked about in context? Or will they be shocked by what they see on the screen?

MCCARTHY: Well, I think the context is set by the opening scene, which is a hunting scene, which basically lays out the fact that these people dealt with blood, death, suffering, and pain every day.

And therefore, everything that you see after that, even though some of it is a bit extreme, but I took every bit of it as believable in context; whereas, I think you could argue that there was, in "Passion of the Christ" for instance, there was a lot more maybe pushing it in your face. But in this one I didn't feel that way. I felt it was all very credible in the context of the story.

COLMES: Farhad, what is it you want people to take away from this film? What's the message you want people to be imparted with here?

SAFINIA: I honestly hope that they're just entertained. If you see a film that hits you in the heart and in the mind and in the head in the intellect and also in the spirit, and so you take — you're really entertained for two hours. That's really what you're looking for.

There is a message in the film. It's not in your face. It's mostly about trying to give you a thrill ride and make you excited. It's a story of survival. It's about a man trying to get back to his wife and his kids. So it's pretty entertaining, I think.

HANNITY: Farhad, I've got to tell you, it's gripping, spectacularly entertaining. And I enjoyed it, and I also got a good message out of it and very thoughtful moments I had.

SAFINIA: Thank you.

HANNITY: Thank you. I enjoyed it, and I hope everyone goes sees it.

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