Mel Gibson is still astonished with the outpouring of grief and criticism surrounding his harrowing religious epic The Passion Of The Christ.

A week after the film became the biggest non-summer, non-holiday Wednesday opening ever, director Gibson is still in shock - because he didn't expect the project to create such hysteria among movie fans.

He says, "When you bring stuff like this out, you're gonna touch nerves but I know that the fallout from this is just going to be positive.

"I didn't know I was going to hit a main artery... It just became this bad editorial namecalling thing and I just kinda sat there and scratched my head for a while."

But Gibson admits he knew the graphic Christ film had touched moviegoers in the right way when he watched a news report about the movie and saw those who had sat through his project crying as they left cinemas.

He adds, "I don't like to see people cry but it's interesting to me to see that they become introspective.

"What I want the by-product of this to be is that people look into themselves, and, in doing that, I think you'll look to other people."

08/03/2004 17:09