Mel Gibson is being petitioned by New York friars who loved his religious epic THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST so much they want him to follow it up with a bio-pic of SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI.

The FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE RENEWAL "open letter and respectful petition" to the director and actor already has 8,000 names, with their WWW.FRANCISCANFRIARS.COM site receiving 40,000 hits.

FATHER GLENN SUDANO, head of the community of 82 friars in the New York metropolitan area, explains he is unsatisfied with previous celluloid depictions of the Saint, such as Franco Zeffirelli's BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON - which "neutered and reduced Saint Francis and made him into something of a hippie".

He says he is desperate for a more accurate depiction of the patron saint of animals and the environment.

He explains, "They dip these people in plaster. They are much more powerful, more interesting, more engaging, much more human.

"My hope is that it raises the issue. If Mr. Gibson chooses not to do this, maybe there will be a Polish director or whatever - that's why we have the letter and petition in different languages. We just want someone to do it right."

21/04/2004 17:24