I thought I should start my blogging about Mel Gibson with his biography (I found it here). I think you will love it because it shows how much he suffered before he became this famous actor. I really admire his persistence and hard work.
Mel Gibson Biography is very long so, I had to cut it into 4 parts. Please read it. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Born: 3 January 1956
Where: Peekskill, New York, USA
Awards: Won 2 Oscars, 1 Golden Globe
Height: 5′ 11″
This wild variation of roles might make one think Gibson was jaded with Hollywood life and seeking to interest himself as an actor. In fact, he was filling in time as he pursued perhaps the greatest project of his life. As said, the late Eighties had seen him falling off the rails. He’d been a womaniser and a heavy drinker, behaviour that, striking against his religious background, had racked him with guilt and, he’d later admit, even had him considering suicide. After rehab he’d sworn off the booze and, seeking to re-connect with his spiritual core, began work on a new cinematic adaptation of the final days of Jesus. Braveheart had convinced him that he was capable, his acting had earned sufficient finance, Icon Productions gave him the machinery. 2003 would see the controversy begin.
In keeping with his traditionalist beliefs, The Passion Of The Christ stayed true to the words of the Gospels. For added authenticity, Gibson dared to have his actors speak in Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin, with subtitled translations. Beyond this, he did not shy away from the violence and degradation suffered by Jesus as he was betrayed, beaten, scourged, humiliated and crucified. The movie would be an intensely disturbing experience, but it created waves long before it was released. That Gibson’s father was accused of being a “Holocaust denier” didn’t help (Gibson retorted that his dad had simply claimed that less than 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis). Jewish pressure groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre leapt on the movie. A group of scholars, activists and Catholic ecumenists, keen that the Jews should not be offended, somehow got hold of the script and compiled an 18-page list of Gibson’s supposed transgressions (basically they were demanding that the film be remade entirely). People in Hollywood began to turn against him. Life was becoming very difficult, dangerous even.
Courageously, Gibson and Icon held their ground. The group of complainants, they said, were in possession of a stolen script and should return it immediately. Meanwhile, Icon’s PR people began to target Christian groups, evangelicals and conservative columnists. There was a long series of screenings, with Gibson usually present to personally charm the audience. Crucially, the Catholic Church distanced itself from the furore, meaning that any complaints were not official. The movie would remain uncensored. Apart, that is, from the one line that most believed to be the most contentious of all – “His blood be on us, and on our children”. Genuinely fearing the reaction of extremists if he did not compromise in some way, Gibson would have the line spoken, but remove its subtitle.
As it turned out, the controversy proved to be the best marketing tool in screen history. Before The Passion Of The Christ was released on Ash Wednesday, 2004, interest from Christian groups and the general public was such that a new record was set for pre-sales. The film stormed to Number One at the US box office and would return there over the Good Friday weekend. It would be the highest grossing R film in US history. Taking $370 million in America and $604 million worldwide it would be the 29th biggest movie of all time. There would be 203 million rentals in the States. And Gibson, who financed it to the tune of $25 million, who appeared in the film only as the hands that nail Jesus to the cross, was projected to make $360 million in 2004 alone. A year later his fortune would be estimated at $850 million, making him by far the wealthiest actor in the world.
Of course, for Gibson The Passion wasn’t about money, it was about the public expression of his traditionalist beliefs. Through an entity he controlled called the AJ Reilly Foundation he’d built a traditionalist chapel called Holy Family near his home in the Agoura Hills where he worshipped daily. He was seriously making up for those years of sinning. But he was also human enough to bend, to learn, to adapt. He’d publicly state the debt he owed to his wife for standing by him. He’d also admit to being too strict a disciplinarian with his first three children (the eldest, Hannah, would actually enter a drug rehab programme in February, 2004). Perhaps by way of recompense, he’d buy for the family the Fijian island of Mago – 2,160 hectares of paradise for $15 million.
As for acting, Gibson would now be seldom seen. He’d pop up very briefly as an anger management patient in the crude thriller Paparazzi, but mostly his energies were now directed into production and directing. With offices worldwide, Icon were now dealing with classy international pictures like Whale Rider and Maria Full Of Grace (like Miramax but not so crass), as well as TV shows like Complete Savages, apparently based on Gibson’s own home life. Also, Gibson had another directorial project on the go. This would be Apocalypto, an epic set at the end of the Mayan civilisation, where decadent leaders decide the gods must be appeased by more temples and human sacrifices and a would-be victim, having fled into the forest, must find some way to save his nation and its soul. Gibson would find more controversy when, though known as a staunch Republican, he said he saw parallels between his film’s despotic villains and the government of George W Bush. He’d recently also spoken out against euthanasia and stem cell research and, having donated millions of children’s hospitals, was proving difficult for liberals to demonize.
Having been a star for twenty-five years, Mel Gibson is now one of the biggest. Thankfully, he still works hard to produce good material and, perhaps better still, refuses to take his celebrity seriously. When voted The Sexiest Man Alive, for instance, he said “That implies there are a lot of dead guys who got more points than me”. Perhaps it’s due to Australia. His character was formed there, his career was launched there, and they know it, in 1997 making him an Officer of the Order of Australia, the highest award they could confer (well, they couldn’t make him captain of the cricket team, could they?). So forget the Yank stuff, the guy’s obviously a fair dinkum Aussie.
Thanks Dominic Wills for the great biography.
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