New version of The Passion to be released for Easter

 Mel Gibson plans to release a new, 'low-violence' version of his movie The Passion of the Christ next month.

Gibson is said to be cutting about six minutes of violent scenes after noting that many people had avoided the film because of its grisly portrayal of Jesus Christ being tortured by Roman soldiers.

Bruce Davey, Gibson's partner at Icon Productions, told Variety magazine: "There has been quite a demand by the religious community to bring the film back for Easter. And there has been a lot of discussion about the violence. Mel wanted to try and accommodate those people by making a version that is softer and gentler."

He said: "There are no new scenes, and the cuts are limited to the more violent aspects of the film, if that's the right term. The scourging scene in particular has been substantially adjusted.

The new version will not be subject to an audience age restriction.

LONDON - 25 February 2005 - 157 words

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