In a report at TimesOnline, Mel Gibson admitted that his 1995 film 'Braveheart,' which won five Academy Awards, "played fast and loose with the historical truth." The actor who jump-started his career as a 'Mad Max' and a 'Lethal Weapon,' and whose troubles with the law and women have ravaged his good-guy-hero image, has come out of the closet -- the closet of history, we mean.
In a report at TimesOnline, Mel Gibson admitted that his 1995 film 'Braveheart,' which won five Academy Awards, "played fast and loose with the historical truth."
Gibson, who starred as Scottish hero William Wallace in the 13th-century epic (which he also directed), said: "Wallace was a monster. He always smelt of smoke; he was always burning people's villages down. He was like what the Vikings called 'a berserker.' He wasn't as nice as the character we saw up there on the screen."
Historians have pointed out that Wallace was not the poor villager depicted in 'Braveheart,' but a landowner and minor knight. But Gibson's new version of Wallace still doesn't jibe with reality. Dr. Fiona Watson, a Wallace biographer and former University of Stirling academic, said that, "After 15 years, Mel Gibson's giving us the other version of the myth, the knuckles dragging across the floor one, which is equally untrue. The real man surely lies in between."
Though Hollywood has always altered history to suit the big screen (and there have been numerous books written on Hollywood vs. history), Gibson seems to be at the forefront of altered realities.
In 'The Patriot' (2000), Gibson's story about an honest farmer drawn into the Revolutionary War, the film is loaded with erroneous facts and events (such as British troops burning villagers inside their church). According to TimesOnline, there is also strong evidence that Francis Marion, the basis for Gibson's character, was a slave-owning serial rapist who murdered Cherokee Indians for fun. And his depictions of the bloodthirsty Mayans in 'Apocalypto' (2006) has also left historians gasping for breath.
Fortunately for us, Gibson's next two outings are fictions: In the thriller 'Edge of Darkness' he'll play a homicide detective, and in 'The Beaver' he plays a guy who walks around with a puppet of a beaver and treats it like a living creature.
One question though, Mel. Wasn't the 'Road Warrior' real?