Filmmaker M Night Shyamalan picked Mel Gibson to play a conflicted priest in SIGNS because he knew he was a committed Catholic.

Shyamalan felt sure the actor could give weight to the character - who loses his faith after his wife dies in a car crash - because, in real life, Gibson is deeply religious.

Shyamalan says, "I hired him because of his beliefs for Signs. He plays an ex-priest in the movie, so it was something I

was aware of."

And the director was thrilled when he saw Gibson's religious epic THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, because he knew it was something the actor felt he had to do.

He adds, "I just congratulated him on the film. I love it when anybody gets to describe who they are individually in a film. Those are the best movies for me. The Passion of The Christ, that's Mel.

"He is an intense guy who believes in things hardcore. I was happy for him that he got to do something that he believed in."

21/07/2004 21:33