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Karlovy Vary: Mel Gibson Plays Mel Gibson in B&W Festival Trailer

Karlovy Vary: Mel Gibson Plays Mel Gibson in B&W Festival Trailer


Among the many small pleasures of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival are the trailers featuring recent recipients of the main award, the Crystal Globe For Artistic Contribution to World Cinema — this may be the only award that is easier to say in Czech— including Helen Mirren, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Miloš Forman, John Malkovich, Andy Garcia, Jiří Menzel and Czech director Věra Chytilová. The trailers gently spoof the prizewinner interacting with the physical award itself, a solid glass globe held aloft by a golden female figure. The best of them has the now elderly Chytilová trying to put a smashed globe back together with scotch tape, then eyeing her little coffee-table Frankenstein while blowing her nose loudly. I’m not sure I get the specific joke, but it’s funny anyway.

This year’s trailer features last year’s winner, Mel Gibson, and plays on the actor’s reputation for, well, for being Mel Gibson. Directed by LA-based Czech filmmaker Martin Krejčí, who splits directing duties with fellow Czech commercial director Ivan Zachariáš, the trailer was shot in one day in Beverly Hills on a $40,000 budget, less than a third of the usual LA costs. (Gibson appeared without a fee, as did the others.) Krejčí managed this in part by calling on friends. “One thing I really like about this festival is that camaraderie and friendship still play a large role in it,” he says.

In an early meeting, Gibson mentioned how “Apocalypto” crewmembers were always joking about death by blowgun; the actor then asked if he could use a blowgun in the trailer. Apparently Krejčí missed the memo explaining that when Mel Gibson asks if he can use a blowgun in your film, you say no; maybe it was a language issue. The director then unwittingly came up with the idea of two unwitting burglars being caught in the act of stealing Gibson’s Crystal Globe. The actor, says the director from the bar of Karlovy Vary’s Grand Hotel Pupp, did not need to work too hard. “For the scene, you’re doing Mel Gibson, so it’s easy for him to do Mel Gibson.”

Again Krejčí seems to have missed the memo noting that when Mel Gibson wants to play Mel Gibson, you also say no. To be fair, this was Krejčí’s assignment, and he handled it well. In fact, he says, Gibson was extremely professional, coming in after a long night of working, and despite being really tired stayed for the other actors’ scenes to help out. That’s rare, says Krejčí: “Maybe because he’s a also a director, he understands. He stayed the whole day with us. I really appreciated it.”

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