Mel Gibson Reveals His New 'Passion'

One year ago this week, Mel Gibson's controversial film about the life of Jesus, "The Passion of the Christ," was released.

The film ignited controversy for its graphic violence and its portrayal of Jews, but it was voted "favorite drama motion picture" at the People's Choice Awards this year and grossed over $600 million worldwide.

Despite its popular success, "The Passion of the Christ" received only three behind-the-scenes nominations at this year's Academy Awards and won none of them.

But that snub doesn't bother Gibson, who told Diane Sawyer on ABC News' "Good Morning America" that he wasn't expecting any nominations for the film and so was not disappointed.

Gibson, who didn't attend the Oscars, did not heap critical acclaim on the academy either.

"It's the tastes of those 6,000 people who are in the industry," Gibson said of the Academy Awards. "I mean, if you think about it, the whole concept is kind of ludicrous because, I mean, how can one … compare an apple to an orange? I mean, they're different sorts of artistic expressions."

A Tamer 'Passion' Re-released

A new version of "The Passion of the Christ" will be released to 500 to 750 theaters nationwide on March 11, just in time for Easter.

Gibson confirmed that five to seven minutes of the movie will be deleted, particularly the most graphic scenes in which Jesus is flogged.

"Well, I got a lot of feedback," explained Gibson. "And it was like they thought that perhaps it was a little too hard for 'em, too wrenching. So I sort of listened to that, and I went back and I said I could redo it and keep the impact of what I had done, and … cut down on the brutality."

Gibson added that he did not think the film was too violent but he did want to make it available to a "wider audience."

Mel Takes on Hollywood

Many in the secular, and often liberal, world of Hollywood expressed scorn for Gibson's re-telling of the Christ story.

In a "Primetime Live" interview last year with Sawyer, the "Passion" director recounted seeing Jack Nicholson, who Gibson said asked him: "How's Jesus treating you?"

Gibson took a subtle swipe at Nicholson in this year's interview, telling Sawyer he hasn't seen Nicholson since. "I haven't been to a Lakers game or a Baskin-Robbins. So of course I haven't run into him," he said.

Gibson also joked about what he would do with the millions that "Passion" has raked in. He said he was "waiting for a truck to deliver it. Mostly other people have it. It's just the way it is."

But turning serious, Gibson said that the money gave him freedom to pursue film projects on his own terms.

"Well, it does affect what you do … businesswise," he said. "You can … follow your own instincts."

Getting Back in the Saddle

Gibson also told Sawyer that he was ready to act again, despite saying last year: "I don't feel like I want to get in front of a camera anymore. I feel like … just being a slob behind the camera and watching other people look good."

Gibson is set to play a Vietnam veteran who works for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and infiltrates a motorcycle gang. The film, "Under and Alone," is based on a true story. It will be Gibson's first role since 2002's supernatural thriller, "Signs."

Sporting a scruffy beard from his biker role, Gibson joked about his past pronouncement that he wouldn't act again. "The difference here is I get to be a slob in front of the camera again. So there's a major difference," he said.

Gibson also said he was ready to leave his "heartthrob" days behind.

"Oh, God, it's a little late for that!" he said. "Look at me, I'm a hairy, middle-aged man. I think the heartthrob thing is well and truly over, and that's good. I like that."

Crazy or Genius?

The question is, has Gibson -- never one to keep his opinions to himself -- changed, even maybe mellowed?

"A mellow guy? No," said Gibson with a laugh.

During the original firestorm when "Passion" was released last year, Gibson told Sawyer, "What I'm doing is either crazy or genius." One year later, Gibson was asked if the verdict was in.

"No, the jury's still out," he said.