Sources tell TMZ ... Mel Gibson believes "The Maccabees" project with Warner Bros. -- the project that triggered nuclear war between Mel and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas -- is still alive, but in fact it might as well be buried in a rose garden.
A source connected to Mel tells us, "The project is going forward without Eszterhas. He [Mel] still has a relationship with Warner Bros."
As you know by now, Eszterhas has written a blistering, 9-page letter accusing Mel of making unspeakable anti-Semitic remarks and even celebrating John Lennon's death.
As for Mel's claim the movie project is still alive, a source intimately connected with it tells TMZ,"There are no plans on making it into a movie."
Our source, who has first-hand knowledge, tells us Warner Bros. was tentative in the first place about doing the project, but was banking on the script "being a heroic story, like Braveheart." The source says, "When the script was submitted, no one liked it ... including Mel."
We're told even if the script was good, the project would still have had to clear a number of hurdles, but given what was submitted, it's effectively D.O.A.
One last thing ... Mel could shop the project elsewhere when Warner Bros. officially pulls the plug.