Mel Gibson misses the good ole days

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

ONE of the most sought-af­ter names in Hol­ly­wood at the height of his ca­reer, Os­car­win­ning Mel Gibson has been a pariah in the film­mak­ing com­mu­nity for a decade.

Os­tracised 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 faith­based 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.

Al­co­holism 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’ 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 apol­o­gised, blam­ing al­co­holism, but he had al­ready been fac­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of an­tiSemitism 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 lack­lus­tre 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.

‘Direc­to­rial chops’ Gibson – who is ex­pect­ing a ninth child later this year with 26-yearold girl­friend Ros­alind Ross – was sen­tenced to three years of pro­ba­tion and or­dered to at­tend do­mes­tic vi­o­lence coun­sel­ing.

He won crit­i­cal ac­claim for his role in close friend Jodie Fos­ter’s The Beaver, but the 2011 film was a com­mer­cial flop, with En­ter­tain­ment Weekly con­clud­ing that au­di­ences had stayed away be­cause of Gibson.

He has since faced fur­ther ac­cu­sa­tions of anti-Semitic and ag­gres­sive be­haviour, which he has stren­u­ously de­nied.

In a re­cent pod­cast with Va­ri­ety mag­a­zine, Gibson said he was try­ing to put the 2006 in­ci­dent be­hind him, and found it “an­noy­ing” that peo­ple were still bring­ing it up.

“Ten years have gone by. I’m feel­ing good. I’m sober, all of that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past,” he said.

By next week, the open­ing box of­fice fig­ures for Hacksaw Ridge will in­di­cate whether the pub­lic has for­given him.

“I think, [with] all direc­tors who have touched great­ness be­fore, Hol­ly­wood, and au­di­ences in gen­eral, have a will­ing­ness to take a chance on them again,” said Jeff Bock, a se­nior an­a­lyst at in­dus­try monitor Ex­hibitor Re­la­tions.

“Gibson has proven that he has direc­to­rial chops that tran­scend the of­ten medi­ocre mul­ti­plex of­fer­ings. With Hacksaw Ridge, he seems to have the crit­i­cal sup­port as well, so that bodes well for playa­bil­ity through the hol­i­day sea­son.” –

Photo: AFP

Mel Gibson ar­rives for the spe­cial screen­ing of the film he di­rected, Hacksaw Ridge, at Samuel Gold­wyn The­ater in Bev­erly Hills.

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