Mel Gibson lets loose on Get the Gringo, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Maccabees, Machete Kills, remakes, and the forgiveness of Hollywood
There's no need to delve in detail back into the course of Mel Gibson's life and career over recent years - there's been plenty of time spent and digital ink spilt on the subject, not the least of which by me. So that all is well storied. But Coming Soon recently managed to score a one-on-one interview with the man, and it's quite a fascinating one simply due to how honest he is. Or, at least, how honest he is about his view about what has come to pass and where he sees this all going in the near future.
I've included select bits of the interview below - you can click right here to read the rest, as there are plenty of pieces I didn't include such as his theatrical aspirations, how he got into directing, how he handled his early success, and what it was like working with Robert Rodriguez.
CS: Did "Edge of Darkness" give you a taste to go back in front of the camera and did you want to develop [GET THE GRINGO] initially as an actor, or just as a producer, and the acting was secondary?
Gibson: I was looking at it more from a story point of view. I mean basically at the end of the line, no matter how many producers, directors, actors jump in, you're only doing one thing, telling a story, so what I like doing the best is going through the mind's eye and reading it out with Stacy and Adrian whom I'd worked with before on "Apocalypto" when they were my 1st and 2nd ADs. And these guys know Mexico. And we just got into the research, from an idea that I had, and the more stuff we read on the Internet the more rich it got, because the world is so absurd. Incarceration south of the border is a different experience than here. There were no exaggerations in that film.
CS: How much did George Miller try and persuade you to do a "Mad Max 4"?
Gibson: We talked about this very project like 10 years ago. I actually wanted to do it, but then what happened was, the budget was nuts. It was crazy. I certainly hope they've become more realistic about it.
CS: Is it true that Tom Hardy asked for your approval?
Gibson: No, they cast him, but I sat down with the guy and I quite like him. I think he's a good choice for that.
CS: Will you see the film?
Gibson: Oh yeah, I'll have a look. It'll be fun. I think he's a good actor. He commits completely and he looks great. There's this scary thing about him which is kind of right for that. Tom needed to sit down and talk more than I did. I'm really happy about that. But I hope they do a great job. I'm a big fan of George's.
CS: Is there a character at all that you played that you'd like to revisit?
Gibson: Nah. I've done it. There are new challenges.
CS: And there's no way you'll be enticed into doing a "Lethal 5."
Gibson: No I think the way things are going with "Total Recall," they'll just remake those somehow. Though it's really tough to replace Danny. He was so amazing in those things. It was a good gig for us. It worked. But we knew it would.
CS: Now looking at what's going on with upcoming projects. What's the status on the Viking movie, which is still called "Berserker" I presume?
Gibson: It's still called "Berserker" and I believe it's going forward. I've talked to actors and stuff, and there are some good names attached who want to do it.
CS: You've got a script?
Gibson: I've got a great script. And the idea's been batting around my head for years. And I couldn't find a way to make it work, because if you look at what Vikings did, they're pretty unsympathetic. And there's no point in doing Viking light. So I had to find a way to find devices and ways to make that work dramatically, intelligently and make it seem realistic so it's about real conflict in a real era in the 9th century, so that you actually see behavior and a new mode of thought seeping in. By the 11th century there weren't any of these guys left anymore.
CS: Now there's the much-discussed Maccabees project. What’s going on and what's the story with the Eszterhas script?
Gibson: Okay, so a guy gets paid to write a screenplay and doesn't turn anything in for 14 months. That's a serious problem. Not even an outline so I lost my nutter with him. I developed a Viking script almost a year after he started and I already had a second draft and he hadn't even given me an outline. And he was at my home on a working holiday and he didn't even bring one word. And he never intended to write a script. His whole intention was to set me up somehow.
CS: So do you still want to make that movie?
Gibson: I DO want to make it and I will make it. And that'll be a great film. And over the course of 14 months did you not think I told him what the story was? Give him my images? Give him my ideas and dialogue? You should see the books written on the subject. So I'm steeped in that stuff from the Seleucid Empire, and the relationship with Israel at the time, amazing history. So my best ideas I put in front of him, hoping that he took some of those, but he squandered them and alluded to them in his so called screenplay which I swear he must have written in three days. It's really bad with heinous, bad, shonky, D grade dialogue. And after 18 months of waiting, from when we started talking, that's what came in. And of course the studio also recognized it as not very good.
CS: Tell me about the character you play (in MACHETE KILLS)
Gibson: He's an odd kind of guy, the Rodriguez version of a Bond villain. He's a bad guy who said: "What if he's right?"
CS: So a bad guy with a moral compass.
Gibson: In a weird way.
CS: Do you get to ham it up?
Gibson: Of course it's extremely heightened because you're working on "Machete," come on! And I get to have a sword fight with Machete. He has his machete and I have a samurai sword, but it's kind of fun and it's full of surprises, because it brings the kind of Grindhouse action thing to it, almost celebrating being gratuitous in its drive and making no apology for it and making it fun, like some twisted fairy tale.
CS: Robert Downey went out of his way to publicly support you as you did him when he was going through personal crises. Is Hollywood ultimately a forgiving town?
Gibson: No it's not. They have to forget. I don't even think they're vindictive. I don't think they think there's reason to forgive. And forgive what to begin with? What are they asking for? It's almost like can you please forgive me for what? What did I do, really? It is kind of ridiculous. So it's kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what needs to be forgiven and I don't consider that anything does because I didn't hurt anyone. But you know, hey that's life. It ain't easy and it's not fair. You've just got to slip the old water off the back and move on.
And to cap it off, I'll leave you with this:
CS: That famous Freedom scene is one of the most imitated and parodied scene of recent memory.
Gibson: It's still happening and pretty funny.
|Extra Tidbit:||I'm reminded of something Clive Barker once said: “What I left behind me was the best I could make it. What lies ahead is the chance to do better. That’s all there is.”|