Entertainment behind the scenes
Mel Gibson finds comeback going tough
(Note strong language in quote, paragraph 4)
The art of the come-back should never be underestimated — especially if you’re Mel Gibson.
Gibson, back on the big screen after an eight-year absence, is having a tough time fielding the inevitable questions about his infamous drunken anti-Semitic outburst in 2006.
After keeping a mostly low, public profile since that arrest, the “Mad Max” star has been on the media circuit promoting his new kidnap thriller “Edge of Darkness” — and trying to keep a smile on his face.
But the facade cracked in an interview with Chicago TV station WGN when Gibson ended an uncomfortable chat with reporter Dean Richards by calling him an “asshole” as he signed off, apparently not realizing his microphone was still on.
Richards had asked Gibson, whose split last year from his wife, his new girlfriend and baby have also put him on the cover of gossip magazines, whether he thought public perception had changed after “all that’s been in the news about you.”
“That’s almost four years ago, dude. I’ve moved on. I guess you haven’t,” snapped Gibson. “It is a while back and I’ve done the necessary mea culpas. Let’s move on, dude. Come on.”
A few weeks ago, it was a question about religion from a Los Angeles Times reporter that caused the “Passion of the Christ” director to request a halt to an interview, explaining he had just quit smoking.
“I’m coming rapidly to the conclusion that right now, today, my brain cannot function. Honestly? I’m six days off the cigarette. You’re looking at someone who’s having a pretty bad withdrawal from a 45-year habit,” Gibson was quoted as telling the LA Times in January. In that case, Gibson resumed the interview a few days later in a calmer state of mind.
The final answer to the question posed by Richards — whether Gibson thought public perception of him had changed since his arrest — lies with moviegoers, who made Gibson one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the 1980s and 1990s. “Edge of Darkness”, in which Gibson plays a mad dad fighting for justice, opened at North American box-offices last weekend in a respectable second place to “Avatar”, but the $17.1 million box office take paled in comparison to his supernatural “Signs” which opened to $60 million in 2002.
Is it time to forgive and forget? Or has Gibson got a longer road back than he might have thought?