Mel Gib­son: ‘It’s time Hol­ly­wood for­gave me’

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

One of the most sought-af­ter names in Hol­ly­wood at the height of his ca­reer, Os­car-win­ning Mel Gib­son has been a pariah in the film­mak­ing com­mu­nity for a decade. Os­tra­cized by Tin­sel­town af­ter an anti-Semitic tirade cap­tured on tape dur­ing a 2006 drunk-driv­ing ar­rest, the ac­tor-di­rec­tor has since had to make do with a hand­ful of parts in ob­scure or poorly re­ceived films. It is a far cry from the adu­la­tion he en­joyed as the “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” films es­tab­lished him as a star, be­fore he went on to win Academy Awards for pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing 1996’s “Brave­heart.”

As he un­veils his new faith-based World War II drama “Hack­saw Ridge” this week­end, the 60-year-old de­vout Catholic will be hop­ing cin­ema­go­ers have shorter mem­o­ries than movie ex­ec­u­tives. The film tells the true story of Des­mond Doss, played by An­drew Garfield, who en­lists and is de­ter­mined to save lives on the front line as a medic, but re­fuses to carry a gun on mo­ral grounds. “It high­lights what it means for a man of con­vic­tion and of faith to go into a sit­u­a­tion that is hellish... and in the midst of that mael­strom, this man is able to hone his spir­i­tu­al­ity and achieve some­thing higher,” Gib­son told a re­cent news con­fer­ence in Bev­erly Hills. He had been asked to com­ment on the film’s bru­tal vi­o­lence but could have been de­scrib­ing his own bap­tism of fire back in the glare of the Hol­ly­wood press pack.

Asked about his own faith, Gib­son looked un­com­fort­able and re­sponded sim­ply that he was “im­per­fect” and a “poor prac­ti­tioner” who could take a leaf out of Doss’s book. If Gib­son’s re­turn to the di­rec­tor’s chair is as suc­cess­ful as re­views of “Hack­saw Ridge” sug­gest it ought to be, he may have to get used to an­swer­ing awk­ward ques­tions about his pri­vate life again. “Hack­saw Ridge” is Gib­son’s first di­rect­ing ef­fort since the crit­i­cally-ac­claimed “Apoca­lypto” in 2006 — the year of his anti-Semitic rant at a US sher­iff’s deputy.

Dur­ing the high-pro­file ar­rest in Mal­ibu, north of Los An­ge­les, Gib­son said Jews were re­spon­si­ble for all the wars in the world. He later apol­o­gized, blam­ing al­co­holism, but he had al­ready been fac­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of anti-Semitism fol­low­ing the re­lease of his con­tro­ver­sial 2004 movie “The Pas­sion of the Christ.” Gib­son and his wife of 26 years Robyn Moore split up soon af­ter, and there were no more star­ring roles on the big screen un­til the lack­lus­ter thriller “Edge of Dark­ness.” Even af­ter his act­ing come­back, the con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing the star were far from over. Gib­son was spared jail in 2011 when he de­cided not to con­test do­mes­tic vi­o­lence charges pressed by Rus­sian pi­anist Ok­sana Grig­orieva, the mother of his seven-year-old daugh­ter Lu­cia.

Gib­son-who is ex­pect­ing a ninth child later this year with 26-year-old girl­friend Ros­alind Ross-was sen­tenced to three years of pro­ba­tion and or­dered to at­tend do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

In this file im­age re­leased by Sony Pic­tures, Tom Hanks, left, and Felic­ity Jones ap­pear in a scene from, “Inferno.”— AP

This file photo taken on Oc­to­ber 24, 2016 shows Mel Gib­son on ar­rival for the spe­cial screen­ing of the film he di­rected, “Hack­saw Ridge”, at the Sa­muel Gold­wyn The­ater in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia. — AFP

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