Mel Gibson plans TV miniseries on Holocaust

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Mel Gibson, whose "The Passion of the Christ" was assailed by critics as an anti-Semitic passion play - and whose father has been on record as a Holocaust denier - has a new project under way: a nonfiction miniseries about the Holocaust.

Mr. Gibson's television production company is developing a four-hour miniseries for ABC based on the self-published memoir of Flory A. Van Beek, a Dutch Jew whose gentile neighbors hid her from the Nazis but who lost several relatives in concentration camps.

It is not expected that Mr. Gibson will act in the miniseries, nor is it certain yet that his name, rather than his company's, will be publicly attached to the final product, according to several people involved in developing it. Nor is it guaranteed yet that the project will be completed and broadcast.

But Quinn Taylor, ABC's senior vice president in charge of movies for television, acknowledged that the attention-getting value of having Mr. Gibson attached to a Holocaust project was a factor.

"Controversy's publicity, and vice versa," Mr. Taylor said.

ABC brought in Mr. Gibson's company, Con Artists Productions, after an independent producer, Daniel Sladek, pitched the network on Ms. Van Beek's story. With her husband, Felix, Ms. Van Beek survived the sinking of a passenger ship by a German mine, followed by three years in hiding during the German occupation of Holland, before emigrating to the United States in 1948.

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