Mired in controversy over the last decade, Mel Gibson has finally broken his silence and opened up about his struggles, mistakes and future.
In a long interview with Deadline, Gibson, who is starring in longtime friend Jodie Foster's upcoming dramedy "The Beaver," discussed his ugly legal proceedings with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his youngest child. His scathing voicemails to her (which he claims were edited before being leaked) became, along with his admission to hitting her, the center of a nasty custody battle.
Regarding the violent incident, Gibson said:
I was allowed to end the case and still maintain my innocence. It’s called a West plea and it’s not something that prosecutors normally allow. But in my case, the prosecutors and the judge agreed that it was the right thing to do. I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don’t drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I’ll take the hit and move on.
Gibson, at one time the most powerful movie star in the world, has been accused of racism and anti-semitism based on a number of drunk rants, both with police officers and with, allegedly, Grigorieva. He may have said those words, but he promises that he doesn't believe them.
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.
Actress Winona Ryder recently said otherwise; she claimed in a recent interview with GQ that Gibson was terrible to work with, homophobic and very anti-semitic.
"I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk," she recalls to the magazine. "I was with my friend, who's gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about 'oven dodgers,' but I didn't get it.
"I'd never heard that before," Ryder continues. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, 'He's anti-Semitic and he's homophobic.' No one believed me!"
"The Beaver," Gibson's movie with Foster (whom he says he'll love forever for her support), is about a shellshocked man who uses the persona of a puppet to get through a crisis after his wife's death. It took forever to be picked up and then released, given his problems and lack of marketability, but now that it's finally going to see theaters, Gibson says he is working on a number of other projects. That said, he intimated that he regrets becoming an actor in the first place, and that if the public completely rejected him, he'd have no problem never appearing in a film again.
I could easily not act again. It’s not a problem. I’m going to do something now because I want to do it and because it’s fun. I’ve already pulled another job and it’s going to be fun. I don’t know if it’s going to get off the ground, but I’m going to go work for ["Braveheart" screenwriter"] Randy Wallace again. He’s got this script and he’s had it for years. He wrote some book and he’s adapted it to a script. And it’s almost like Alexander Dumas — like that swashbuckler kind of stuff.
Fortunately for Gibson, "The Beaver" has been getting strong reviews, so his career seems to have a pulse for now. For so much more, click over to Deadline.