'The Beaver,' finally in theaters May 6th, may be the perfect role for Mel Gibson at this point in his life and career. Directed by, and costarring, Gibson's long-time friend and colleague Jodie Foster, the film tells the story of a troubled husband and father of a teenage son (played by Anton Yelchin) who, to get through serious life issues begins to use a hand-puppet ("the beaver") as means of communicating. The film has been delayed for release partly due to the controversy surrounding leaked voicemails left by Gibson directed at his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.
Gibson agreed to an exclusive "no ground rules" interview with Deadline's Allison Hope Weiner, partly to discuss the upcoming film, but also the melodrama that has been his recent private life. Nothing would be off-limits; the whole saga on the table: Drunk driving, anti-Semitic tirades, separation from wife, charges of abuse by ex-girlfriend, vicious, secretly-recorded conversations leaked onto the web, custody battle for baby. After the break, read some of Gibson's most interesting answers.
Read the full interview, where Gibson addresses being cut from 'The Hangover 2' and if he has any more projects in the works at Deadline.
Deadline: Did you ever think that those private conversations would eventually get out?
Gibson: Who anticipates being recorded? Who anticipates that? Who could anticipate such a personal betrayal?
Deadline: Right now, many people think you're a racist and that you hate women from listening to those tapes.
Gibson: I've never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality -- period. I don't blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It's one terribly, awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life.
Deadline: It just seems that if you could only act, that would be one thing. There are other things that have less exposure.
Gibson: I walked away from acting for eight years and tried to make the choice that I should have made when I was 21. But, it doesn't make any difference. Nothing changed. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Deadline: Did you ever question that you chose the wrong occupation - especially when the tapes were released?
Gibson: There are a lot of instances over the years, with the loss of personal anonymity, you'll always look back at. Nobody warns you about that.
[Of The Beaver script]
When I first read it, it made me laugh until I cried. He was so pathetic, this guy. I understood that aspect of him. Every aspect of it - the drinking, the obsessive compulsive kind of stuff, and that he's tried everything.
After reading Gibson's answers, how has your opinion of him changed? Are you more or less interested in seeing 'The Beaver'?
(Written by Caroline Dworin)