In a recent interview with the Associated Press, actress Maia Morgenstern said she was pregnant for her role as Mary in Mel Gibson’s upcoming feature film “The Passion of the Christ.”
The shoot finished one month ahead of the birth of her now nine-month-old second daughter. Being pregnant created "a special luminosity which you cannot reproduce with makeup," she told AP, Feb. 3.
The Romanian actress, whose grandfather died in the Auschwitz death camp and whose parents are Holocaust survivors, does not consider the film anti-Semitic, nor does she think it will promote anti-Semitism.
The Jewish actress said Muslims, atheists, Christians and Jews worked on the film but race and religion were never an issue, and Gibson never imposed his religious convictions on anyone during the shoot.
"When people go and see the film, they will (primarily) see a work of art," she told AP.
Any political message the film offers is "about the responsibility and impact political and military leaders can have in manipulating the masses and interfering in people's conscience, particularly at a moment of crisis as it was then," Morgenstern was quoted to have said.
The 42-year-old mother of two spoke appreciatively of Gibson, praising both his professional abilities and his kindness when her daughter was sick in Romania. He first sent her home to spend time her daughter and then allowed the 3-year-old to join her on the set.
Morgenstern has starred in about 30 movies and is best known in her native Romania. She speaks Romanian, French, English, Russian and Yiddish, which she learned to work at the Jewish State Theater in Bucharest.
Gibson isn’t yet as popular in Romania though. When Morgenstern's mother visited her on location, she excitedly told friends that her daughter was filming with "Gib Melson."
The film is to be released Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25.