Looks like Mel Gibson is indeed serious in his intention to produce the movie about the Maccabees. He is a Catholic, he has read the story from the Catholic Scriptures. I heard about his plan to make a movie of Judas Maccabees just before the Passion was screened in the Philippines. He mentioned it in an interview for EWTN.
The Maccabees itself is a very interesting story: it is not only about war but also about martyrdom. The picture above is based on 2 Macc 7:1-42, one of the more touching stories in Maccabean history. The Hannukah — the Jewish festival associated with the Maccabees — derives from the rededication of the Temple which had been profaned by foreign invaders (2 Macc. 10:1-8).