Mel Gibson came to Karlovy Vary to accept the festival’s life achievement award. He welcomed some 3000 cheering fans at an outdoor screening of “Mad Max,” the film that made him a star, and gave a Master Class to another packed theater. Clearly, they still love him in the Czech Republic, even if he is still getting the cold shoulder from much of Hollywood.
We sat down for a twenty minute talk on the flipcam. He’s funny, humble, candid and honest about what the downside of being a movie star can be. Clearly, Gibson could borrow a page from Ben Affleck, who redeemed the bomb “Gigli” and tabloid overexposure with Jennifer Lopez by building a career as a respected director–and eventual Oscar-winner. Clearly Gibson could build more good will –after a series of hideous PR setbacks, not improved by Gary Oldman’s Playboy interview defense of him –by reminding people what a good director he is, even as he continues to support his fan base with B-movies like “Blood Father,” “Machete Kills” and “Get the Gringo,” which he wrote and produced.
I pressed Gibson a bit on why he doesn’t go ahead and self-finance another directing effort. He has dug in his heels about not doing that. While his non-stop action film “Apocalypto,” which his “Mad Max” director George Miller wants to outdo on “Fury Road,” didn’t make money, his modestly budgeted $30-million “The Passion of the Christ” made him millions. No, Gibson wants decent budgets from the studios or from foreign sales pre-buys, he says.
But Hollywood no longer goes for period adventures like “Braveheart,” his Best Picture and Director Oscar-winner. Luckily, Gibson is still involved with foreign sales company Icon, and he is willing to talk to the cable companies, who may be more receptive to his Viking and Maccabee projects.
And like Harrison Ford before him, Gibson was easily talked into starring in “Expendables 3” by the seductive Sly Stallone. He says he had a blast doing it. Video below.