Mel Gibson Returns from the Edge of Darkness
Mel Gibson stars in “Edge of Darkness.”
Everybody knows the trouble Mel Gibson has seen. Through it all, the 54-year-old persevered, then bounced back.
Edge of Darkness is his latest thriller, which opens on Jan. 29. An adaptation of Martin Campbell’s 1985 BBC series, the Campbell-directed film marks Gibson’s return as a movie star, his first major role since 2002’s Signs.
Certainly, the Hollywood industry will be watching to see how fans react to him in front of the camera post-controversies. They include allegations of racism associated with his 2004 worldwide independent hit film, The Passion Of The Christ, and his Malibu drinking-while-driving incident in 2006.
In Edge Of Darkness, Gibson portrays a Boston police detective who investigates the murder of his activist daughter. He ends up confronting an operative (Ray Winstone), and U.S. government agents, when he uncovers a string of conspiracies, all pointing towards the illegal production of nuclear weapons.
The revenge part is vintage Gibson, who comes across like a mature version of his classic roles defining the unpredictable action hero – from Mad Max to the Lethal Weapon films. And there’s more to come.
Besides, Edge of Darkness, Gibson headlines the upcoming comedy-drama called The Beaver with Jodie Foster directing and co-starring. “She’s a ballsy girl,” he says of his friend from their Maverick days.
By March, he’s set to start shooting How I Spent My Summer Vacation
. He’ll star in the picture and direct it, as he did with his Oscar-winning Braveheart.
“It (How I Spent My Summer Vacation) is something that I wrote with the first and the second AD (assistant director) on Apocalypto,” confirms Gibson, referring to his 2006 directorial effort. “We wrote this story about a gringo in a Mexican prison.”
He has lots more on his to-do list, which the affable and always hyper Gibson was enthusiastic to discuss during a recent sit down at a Santa Monica beachside hotel.
Q: Why did you take a break from acting?
A: I was a bit stale and I thought that it wasn’t ringing my bells. So I focused on directing and writing and producing and all that kind of stuff, and then it was time to come back. I got the acting bug back.
Q: Did you feel rusty on Edge of Darkness?
A: A little bit. Martin (Campbell) had to tell me to tone it down a couple of times because you forget levels. But I mean you don’t do something for thirty years, and just forget it.
Q: So do you feel the time away from acting was worth it?
A: Yeah, pretty much. Somebody told me once, ‘Go away, dig a hole, do something else.” I cannot qualify how exactly but I know that something happened. There’s nothing better than a vacation sometimes.
Q: There were some tough fight scenes in Edge Of Darkness. Did you have to prepare?
A: I ordered a chiropractor for the day after because I knew how I was going to feel. I knew that I was going to wake up (feeling) like roadkill, and I did. You don’t pop back the way you used to, but that’s OK so long as it looks good.
Q: Do you work out on a regular basis?
A: I don’t. I quit smoking so that’s something in the right direction. There are no more fun things left. I just don’t do anything fun anymore.
Q: Were you a big smoker?
A: My mother smoked, I think, when I was in her womb. When I first had one, when I was nine, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, yes. I missed this.’ Then 45 years later, after every single artistic decision, or any decision, I’ve done them with a cigarette.
Q: Back to Edge of Darkness. Were there other challenges besides the action sequences?
A: Look, every time you do something you wonder if you can do it. There’s no secret recipe for success. You’re either going to be excoriated or praised or somewhere in between – or both sometimes. It’s all a challenge, the whole gig is a challenge.
Q: Especially your Viking film. Is that still in the development phase?
A: Yeah. My first thought ever about being a filmmaker was when I was 16, and I wanted to make a Viking movie. I wanted to make it in Old Norse which I was studying at that time.
Q: Are going to do it in Old Norse?
A: I think it’s going to be in English that would’ve been spoken back then and Old Norse. I’m going to give it to you real, man.
Q: And the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio?
A: Oh, he’ll be great. He’s an amazing actor, this kid.
Q: And what about another Mad Max with director George Miller. Have you ruled out a cameo?
A: I’ve talked to George, yeah. We had a good chin wag. I kind of dropped out a bit, but I can’t wait to see it.
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