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Southwestern

Holly McClure

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FIRST-PERSON: Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’ for Jesus

ROME (BP)--On the outskirts of Rome, past the ancient ruins of the baths of Caracalla and the tourist trodden Catacombs, the greatest story ever told is being recreated on the backlot of the legendary Cinecitta studio. Directly across from the decaying wooden sidewalks and fake storefront sets from Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" sits the city of Jerusalem -- or at least Mel Gibson's 2.5-acre scaled-down replica of it. It is a breathtaking spectacle of biblical proportions with giant columns, flights of stoned steps, massive wooden doors and weathered Roman emblems, creating a political and cultural climate where Jesus spent the remaining hours of his life.