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Did Mel Gibson Nail Jesus to the Cross?

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Dear Guide:

In the movie "The Passion" by Mel Gibson is it true that he is the one that nailed Jesus to the cross?


Dear Reader:

Interestingly, variants of this factoid began turning up in discussions about "The Passion of the Christ" well before the movie was released. In one version of the story, we allegedly see Gibson's left hand holding the prop spike as another actor hammers it in. In another, we see both of Gibson's hands as he performs the entire deed himself. Given that it's now being repeated in published reviews and articles about the recently-released film, it's a safe bet the anecdote was featured in promotional materials distributed to the press, and is probably true.

The following Q&A appears on Passion-Movie.com, an "unofficial Website for The Passion of the Christ":

Does Mel Gibson make a cameo appearance in the film?
Mel Gibson's hand is the one that puts the nail in Jesus' hand — symbolic of the fact that he holds himself accountable first and foremost for Christ's death. Gibson's feet also appear in sandals when Mary Magdalene reaches out for Jesus.

And a similar account appeared in the March 8, 2004 issue of People magazine, which is known for its scrupulous fact-checking:

Why isn't Gibson in the movie?
He is, but briefly. It's the director's left hand nailing Jesus to the cross. The cameo is more than a Hitchcokian gimmick. Gibson feels his telling of the Passion holds all humanity responsible for the death of Jesus. And, he has said, "I'm first on line for culpability. I did it."

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