mel columcille gerard gibson

Mel Gibson

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson, AO (born January 3, 1956) is an American born, two-time Academy Award-winning actor, film director, film producer and screenwriter. Born in the United States, Gibson moved to Australia when he was 12 years old and he later studied acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. After appearing in the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series, Gibson went on to direct and star in the Academy Award-winning Braveheart. Gibson's direction of Braveheart made him the sixth actor-turned-filmmaker to receive an Oscar for Best Director. In 2004, he directed and produced The Passion of the Christ, a controversial but hugely successful movie that portrayed the last hours of the life of Jesus Christ.

Early life

Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York, the sixth of eleven children, and the second son of Hutton Gibson and Irish-born Anne Reilly Gibson. His paternal grandmother was the Australian opera soprano, Eva Mylott (1875–1920). One of Gibson's younger brothers, Donal, is also an actor. Gibson's first name comes from Saint Mel, fifth-century Irish saint, and founder of Gibson's mother's native diocese, Ardagh, while his second name, Columcille, is also that of an Irish saint. Columcille is also the name of the parish in County Longford where Anne Reilly was born and raised. Because of his mother, Mel Gibson holds dual citizenship in America and the Republic of Ireland.

Soon after being awarded $145,000 in a work-related-injury lawsuit against New York Central Railroadon February 14, 1968, Hutton Gibson relocated his family to Sydney, Australia. Gibson was 12 years old at the time. The move to Hutton's mother's native Australia was for economic reasons, and because Hutton thought the Australian military would reject his oldest son for the Vietnam War draft.

Gibson was educated by members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers at St. Leo's Catholic College in Wahroonga, New South Wales, during his high-school years.

Stage career

Growing up, Mel Gibson considered becoming a chef, or a member of a religious order. Later, Gibson’s older sister Mary secretly submitted $5, along with an application on behalf of the recent high-school graduate to the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. After the audition, Gibson was accepted into an acting class that included Judy Davis and Steve Bisley.

The students at NIDA were classically trained in the British-theater tradition rather than in preparation for screen acting. As students, Gibson and Judy Davis played the leads in Romeo and Juliet, and Gibson played the role of Queen Titania in an experimental production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. After graduation, in 1977, Gibson immediately began work on the filming of Mad Max, but continued to work as a stage actor, and joined the State Theatre Company of South Australia in Adelaide. Gibson’s theatrical credits include the character Estragon (opposite Geoffrey Rush) in Waiting for Godot, and the role of Biff Loman in a 1982 production of Death of a Salesman in Sydney. Gibson’s most recent theatrical performance, opposite Sissy Spacek, was the 1993 production of Love Letters by A. R. Gurney, in Telluride, Colorado.

At the beginning of his acting career, Gibson also appeared in pilots for Australian television series including The Sullivans, Cop Shop, and Punishment.

Career in Australian cinema

Before Gibson became a movie star, his starring roles in the Mad Max series and the films of Peter Weir during the New Wave of Australian cinema propelled him to international film stardom. While a student at NIDA, Gibson made his film debut in the 1977 film Summer City, for which he was paid $250. After being cast in Mad Max by Australian doctor-turned-director George Miller, Gibson began his first lead role in 1977 at the age of 21 on the day after he graduated from drama school. Gibson also played a mentally-slow youth in Tim, which earned him the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The release of Mad Max in 1979 then made Gibson internationally famous overnight. Gibson joined the cast of the World War II action film Attack Force Z, which was not released until 1982 when Gibson had become a bigger star. Director Peter Weir cast Gibson as one of the leads in the critically-acclaimed World War I drama Gallipoli, which earned Gibson another Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute. The film Gallipoli also helped to earn Gibson the reputation of a serious, versatile actor and gained him the Hollywood agent Ed Limato. The sequel Mad Max 2 was his first hit in America (released as The Road Warrior). In 1982 Gibson again attracted critical acclaim in Peter Weir’s romantic thriller The Year of Living Dangerously. Following a year hiatus from film acting after the birth of his twin sons, Gibson took on the role of Fletcher Christian in The Bounty in 1984. Playing Max Rockatansky for the third time in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985 earned Gibson his first million dollar salary.

Hollywood acting career

Early Hollywood career

Mel Gibson’s first American film was Gulliver's Travels in 1977, followed by Mark Rydell’s 1984 drama The River in which he and Sissy Spacek played struggling Tennessee farmers. Gibson then starred in the gothic romance Mrs. Soffel for Australian director Gillian Armstrong. He and Matthew Modine played condemned convict brothers opposite Diane Keaton as the warden's wife who visits them to read the Bible. In 1985, after working on four films in a row, Gibson took almost two years off at his Australian cattle ranch. He returned to play the role of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon, a film which helped to cement his status as a Hollywood star. Gibson’s next film was Robert Towne’s Tequila Sunrise, followed by Lethal Weapon 2 in 1989. After starring in three films back-to-back, Bird on a Wire, Air America, and Hamlet, Gibson took another hiatus from Hollywood.

1990s Acting career

During the 1990s, Gibson used his boxoffice power to alternate between commercial and personal projects. His films in the first half of the decade were Forever Young, Lethal Weapon 3, Maverick, and Braveheart. He then starred in Ransom, Conspiracy Theory, Lethal Weapon 4, and Payback. Gibson also served as the speaking and singing voice of John Smith in Disney’s Pocahontas.

2000s Acting career

In 2000, Gibson acted in three films that each grossed over $100 million: The Patriot, Chicken Run, and What Women Want, the all-time top-grossing romantic comedy. In 2002, Gibson appeared in the Vietnam War drama We Were Soldiers and M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, which became the highest-grossing film of Gibson’s acting career. While promoting Signs, Gibson said that he no longer wanted to be a movie star and would only act in film again if the script were truly extraordinary. Gibson is currently filming Edge of Darkness, which marks his first starring role since 2002.

Producing career

After his success in Hollywood with the Lethal Weapon series, Gibson began to move into the areas of producing and directing. With partner Bruce Davey, Gibson formed Icon Productions in 1989 in order to make Hamlet. In addition to producing or co-producing many of Gibson's own star vehicles, Icon has turned out many other small films ranging from Immortal Beloved to An Ideal Husband. Gibson has taken supporting roles in some of these films, such as The Million Dollar Hotel and The Singing Detective to improve their commercial prospects. Gibson has also produced a number of projects for television, including a biopic on The Three Stooges and the 2008 PBS documentary Carrier. Icon has grown beyond just a production company to an international distribution company and a film exhibitor in Australia and New Zealand.

Directing career

Mel Gibson has credited his directors, particularly George Miller, Peter Weir, and Richard Donner, with teaching him the craft of filmmaking and influencing him as a director. According to Robert Downey, Jr., studio executives encouraged Gibson in 1989 to try directing, an idea he rebuffed at the time. Gibson made his directorial debut in 1993 with The Man Without a Face, followed two years later by Braveheart, which earned Gibson the Oscar for Best Director. Gibson had long planned to direct a remake of Fahrenheit 451, but in 1999 the project was indefinitely postponed because of scheduling conflicts. Gibson was scheduled to direct Robert Downey, Jr. in a Los Angeles stage production of Hamlet in January 2001, but Downey’s drug relapse ended the project. In 2002 while promoting We Were Soldiers and Signs to the press, Gibson mentioned that he was planning pare back on acting and return to directing. In September 2002, Gibson announced that he would direct a film called The Passion in Aramaic and Latin with no subtitles because he hoped to "transcend language barriers with filmic storytelling. After The Passion of the Christ, Gibson directed a few episodes of Complete Savages for the ABC network. In 2006, he directed the action-adventure film Apocalypto, his second film to feature sparse dialogue not spoken in the English language.

Film career

Gibson gained very favorable notices from film critics when he first entered the cinematic scene as well as comparisons to several classic movie stars. In 1982, Vincent Canby wrote that “Mr. Gibson recalls the young Steve McQueen… I can't define "star quality," but whatever it is, Mr. Gibson has it.” Gibson has also been likened to “a combination Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart.” Gibson's physical appearance made him a natural for leading male roles in action projects such as the "Mad Max" series of films, Peter Weir's Gallipoli, and the "Lethal Weapon" series of films. Later, Gibson expanded into a variety of acting projects including human dramas such as Hamlet, and comedic roles such as those in Maverick and What Women Want. His most artistic and financial success came with films where he expanded beyond acting into directing and producing, such as 1993's The Man Without a Face, 1995's Braveheart, 2000's The Patriot, 2004's Passion of the Christ and 2006's Apocalypto. Gibson was considered for roles in Batman, GoldenEye, Amadeus, Gladiator, The Golden Child, X-Men, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Runaway Bride and Primary Colors. Actor Sean Connery once suggested Gibson should play the next James Bond to Connery's M. Gibson turned down the role, reportedly because he feared being typecast.


On July 25, 1997, Gibson was named an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of his "service to the Australian film industry". The award was honorary because substantive awards are made only to Australian citizens. In 1985, Gibson was named "The Sexiest Man Alive" by People, the first person to be named so. Gibson quietly declined the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government in 1995 as a protest against France's resumption of nuclear testing in the Southwest Pacific. Time magazine chose Mel Gibson and Michael Moore as Men of the Year in 2004, but Gibson turned down the photo session and interview, and the cover went instead to George W. Bush.

Landmark films

Mad Max series

Gibson got his breakthrough role as the leather-clad post-apocalyptic survivor in George Miller's Mad Max. The film was independently financed and had a reported budget of $300,000 AUD — of which $15,000 was paid to Mel Gibson for his performance. The film achieved incredible success, earning $100 million world wide. It held a record in Guinness Book of Records as the highest profit-to-cost ratio of a motion picture, and only lost the record in 2000 to The Blair Witch Project. The film was awarded four Australian Film Institute Awards in 1979.

Gibson almost did not get the role that made him a star. His agent got him an audition for Mad Max, but the night before, he got into a drunken brawl with three men at a party, resulting in a swollen nose, a broken jawline, and various other bruises. Mel showed up at the audition the next day looking like a "black and blue pumpkin" (his own words). Mel did not expect to get the role and only went to accompany his friend. However, the casting agent told Mel to come back in two weeks, telling him "we need freaks." When Mel did come back, he was not recognized because his wounds had healed almost completely, and received the part. This incident is listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not!

When the film was first released in America, all the voices, including that of Mel Gibson's character, were dubbed with U.S. accents at the behest of the distributor, American International Pictures, for fear that audiences would not take warmly to actors speaking entirely with Australian accents.

The original film spawned two sequels: Mad Max 2 (known in North America as The Road Warrior), and Mad Max 3 (known in North America as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). A fourth movie, Mad Max 4: Fury Road, is in development, but both Gibson and George Miller have indicated that the starring role would go to a younger actor.

The Year of Living Dangerously

Gibson played a naïve but ambitious journalist opposite Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt in Peter Weir’s atmospheric 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously, based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Koch. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, and the upcoming Australian actor was heavily marketed by MGM studio. In his review of the film, Vincent Canby of the New York Times wrote, "If this film doesn't make an international star of Mr. Gibson, then nothing will. He possesses both the necessary talent and the screen presence. Gibson was initially reluctant to accept the role of Guy Hamilton. "I didn't necessarily see my role as a great challenge. My character was, like the film suggests, a puppet. And I went with that. It wasn't some star thing, even though they advertised it that way." Gibson saw some similarities between himself and the character of Guy. "He's not a silver-tongued devil. He's kind of immature and he has some rough edges and I guess you could say the same for me." Gibson has cited this screen performance as his personal favorite.

The film production in the Philippines was disrupted by radical Muslims, forcing the filmmakers to return to Australia to complete the film. Gibson downplayed the death threats, saying, "It wasn't really that bad. We got a lot of death threats to be sure, but I just assumed that when there are so many, it must mean nothing is really going to happen. I mean, if they meant to kill us, why send a note?

The Bounty

Gibson followed the footsteps of Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Marlon Brando by starring as Fletcher Christian in a cinematic retelling of the mutiny on the Bounty. The resulting 1984 film The Bounty is considered to be the most historically accurate version. However, Gibson does not believe that the film went far enough in correcting the historical record.

"I think the main problem with that film was that it tried to be a fresh look at the dynamic of the mutiny situation, but didn't go far enough. In the old version, Captain Bligh was the bad guy and Fletcher Christian was the good guy. But really Fletcher Christian was a social climber and an opportunist. They should have made him the bad guy, which indeed he was. He ended up setting all these people adrift to die, without any real justification. Maybe he'd gone island crazy. They should have painted it that way. But they wanted to exonerate Captain Bligh while still having the dynamic where the guy was mutinying for the good of the crew. It didn't quite work."

Gibson considers the performance of Anthony Hopkins as William Bligh to be the saving grace of the film:

"It was a kind of fresh look at Captain Bligh, and I think of all the renditions of who Bligh was, his was probably the closest. His Bligh was stubborn and didn't suffer fools, but he was brilliant and just had a lot of bad luck."
Gibson described the making of the film as difficult because of the long production and bad weather. "I went mad. They would hold their breath at night when I went off. One night I had a fight in a bar and the next day they had to shoot only one side of my face because the other was so fucked up. If you see the film, you can see the swelling in certain scenes." Anthony Hopkins was worried about Gibson’s heavy drinking, saying, "Mel is a wonderful, wonderful fellow with a marvelous future. He's already something of a superstar, but he's in danger of blowing it unless he takes hold of himself." Gibson agreed with this concern, and added his admiration for Welsh actor, "He was terrific. He was good to work with because he was open and he was willing to give. He’s a moral man, and you could see this. I think we had the same attitudes.

Lethal Weapon series

Gibson moved into more mainstream commercial filmmaking with the popular buddy cop Lethal Weapon series, which began with the 1987 original. In the films he played LAPD Detective Martin Riggs, a recently widowed Vietnam veteran with a death wish and a penchant for violence and gunplay. In the films, he is partnered with a reserved family man named Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). This series would come to exemplify the action genre's so-called buddy film.

The two actors were trained in two different schools of acting. Gibson is classically trained and Glover is a method actor. Four films were produced in 1987, 1989, 1992 and 1998.


Gibson made the unusual transition from the action to classical genres, playing the melancholic Danish prince in Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet. Gibson was cast alongside such experienced Shakespearean actors as Ian Holm, Alan Bates, and Paul Scofield. He described working with his fellow cast members as similar to being "thrown into the ring with Mike Tyson".

The film met with critical and marketing success and remains steady in DVD sales. It also marked the transformation of Mel Gibson from action hero to serious actor and filmmaker.


Gibson stated that when the Braveheart script arrived and was recommended by his agents, he rejected it outright because he thought he was too old to play the part. After careful thought, he decided that he wanted to direct the picture, and direct only. He finally agreed to act due to pressure from the film's producers.

Gibson received two Academy Awards, Best Director and Best Picture, for his 1995 direction of Braveheart. In the movie, Gibson starred as Sir William Wallace, a 13th century martyr of Scottish nationalism.

In one of his interviews, he attempted to make a film similar to the big screen epics he had loved as a child, such as Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus and William Wyler's The Big Country. The filming began in the Scottish Highlands. After learning that the intended filming locations were among the rainiest spots in Europe, the shooting was moved to the Republic of Ireland, where members of the Irish Army Reserve worked as extras in the film's many battles. The Battle of Stirling sequence in Braveheart is considered one of the best directed battle scenes in all of film history, even though the scene scarcely resembles the real-life battle.

The Passion of the Christ

In 2004 Gibson directed The Passion of the Christ which was based on the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. It was rendered in Aramaic, Latin, Hebrew. Gibson originally intended to release the film without subtitles; however, subtitles were used in the theatrical exhibitions while they were optional in DVD releases.

Gibson co-wrote the screenplay with writer Benedict Fitzgerald and financed the film himself. The filming took place on location in Matera, Italy and Cinecittà Studios in Rome.

Reviews were mixed, with critics ranging from praising the film for realistic depiction of Jesus' final hours to criticism of violence and charges of anti-Semitism.

The movie grossed US$611,899,420 worldwide and $370,782,930 in the US alone, a figure, at that time, surpassed any motion picture starring Gibson. It became the eighth highest-grossing film in history and the highest-grossing rated R film of all time. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Original Music Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Makeup at the 77th Academy Awards and won the People's Choice Award for Best Drama.


Gibson's next historical epic, Apocalypto, was released to theaters on 8 December 2006. The film is set in Mesoamerica, during the fifteenth century against the turbulent end times of a Maya civilization. The sparse dialogue is spoken in the Yucatec Maya language. It features a cast of actors from Mexico City, the Yucatán, and some Native Americans from the United States.

Gibson's Icon Productions financed the film, and Disney released it in specific markets.

Future films

In March 2007, Gibson told a screening audience that he was preparing another script with Farhad Safinia about the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Gibson's company has long owned the rights to The Professor and the Madman, which tells the story of the creation of the OED.

Gibson has dismissed the rumors that he is considering directing a film about Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Asked in September 2007 if he planned to return to acting and specifically to action roles, Gibson said:

"I think I’m too old for that, but you never know. I just like telling stories. Entertainment is valid and I guess I’ll probably do it again before it's over. You know, do something that people won’t get mad with me for."

Gibson is next acting in a film adaptation of the BBC miniseries, Edge of Darkness. This will be his first starring role since Signs back in 2002. Edge of Darkness is currently filming and is slated for a 2009 release.

Family and personal life

Gibson met his wife Robyn Moore in the late 1970s soon after filming Mad Max when they were both tenants at the same house in Adelaide. At the time, Robyn was a dental nurse and Mel was an unknown actor working for the South Australian Theatre Company. On 7 June 1980, they married in a Catholic Church in Forestville, New South Wales. Gibson has referred to his wife as "my Rock of Gibraltar, only much prettier" and said, "life is about love and commitment and screw anyone who thinks that's a cliché." They have one daughter, six sons, and one grandchild. Their seven children are Hannah (born 1980), twins Edward and Christian (born 1982), William (born 1985), Louis (born 1988), Milo (born 1990), and Thomas (born 1999).

Daughter Hannah Gibson married Blues musician Kenny Wayne Shepherd on 16 September 2006. Mel Gibson's spokesman had previously denied the rumor that Hannah was planning to become a nun.

Gibson has an avid interest in real estate investments, with multiple properties in Malibu, California, several locations in Costa Rica, a private island in Fiji and properties in Australia. In December 2004, Gibson sold his Australian ranch in the Kiewa Valley for $6 million. Also in December 2004, Gibson purchased Mago Island in Fiji from Tokyu Corporation of Japan for $15 million. Descendants of the original native inhabitants of Mago (who were displaced in the 1860s) have protested the purchase. Gibson stated it was his intention to retain the pristine environment of the undeveloped island. In early 2005, he sold his Montana ranch to a neighbor for an undisclosed multimillion dollar sum. In April 2007 he purchased a ranch in Costa Rica for $26 million, and in July 2007 he sold his 76 acre Tudor estate in Connecticut (which he purchased in 1994 for $9 million) for $40 million to an unnamed buyer. Also that month, he sold a Malibu property for $30 million that he had purchased for $24 million two years before. In 2008, he purchased the Malibu home of David Duchovny and Téa Leoni . Gibson's height has a been a subject of debate throughout his career. Mel says he's 5'10" (178 cm) but claims he's read that he's 5'4" (163 cm). Rock singer Scott Stapp said Mel is about 5'7" (170 cm) and it's been written that he's barely 5'8" (173 cm) and needed to wear built up shoes and stand on a box to be eye level with 5'11" (180 cm) Sigourney Weaver. In 2002 when he appeared on Michael Parkinson's talk show he tried to settle the rumor about his height. He told 5'11" (180 cm) Michael Parkinson to stand up to show that they were about the same size and pointed to his shoes saying that he didn't have lifts. A James Bond height chart also poked fun at his height showing him very short and a listing him at 5'8" (173 cm). Gibson is usually listed at 5'9" (175 cm) or 5'11" (180 cm) and lists him at 5'9 1/2" (177 cm) .

Religious and political views


Gibson is a Traditionalist Catholic. Despite the rumors on whether Gibson shares his father's adherence to Sedevacantism, Gibson has not spoken publicly on the matter. As part of his response to a question on whether Pope John Paul II saw The Passion of the Christ, Gibson said, "I’d like to hear what he has to say. I’d like to hear what anyone has to say. This film isn’t made for the elite. Anyone could see this film, even the occupier of the chair of Peter can see this film.Gibson also referred to him as “Pope John Paul II” in a 2004 Reader's Digest interview, and acquaintance Father William Fulco has said that Gibson denies neither the Pope nor Vatican II.

When asked about the Catholic doctrine of "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus", Gibson replied, "There is no salvation for those outside the Church … I believe it. Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it.” Gibson does not understand this dogma to mean that non-Catholics will go to hell; when he was asked at Willow Creek church whether John 14:6 is an intolerant position, he said that “through the merits of Jesus' sacrifice… even people who don't know Jesus are able to be saved, but through him.” Gibson also told Diane Sawyer that he believes non-Catholics and non-Christians can go to heaven.

In May 2007, Mel Gibson flew to Hermosillo, Mexico, where he attended a Tridentine Mass during which grandchildren of his friends and two of his children received the sacrament of Confirmation, administered by Archbishop emeritus Carlos Quintero Arce. The same Archbishop Arce consecrated Gibson's private traditional Roman Catholic church of the Holy Family in Malibu in February, 2007.

Gibson's Traditionalist Catholic beliefs have also been the target of attacks, especially during the controversy over his film The Passion of the Christ. When the film premiered in France, the newspaper Libération, considered the voice of French liberalism, dubbed Gibson's religious beliefs "the Shiite version of Christianity." Gibson has recently stated in an interview with Diane Sawyer that he feels that his "human rights were violated", by the often vitriolic attacks on his person, his family, and his religious beliefs which were sparked by The Passion.


Gibson has been called everything from “ultraconservative” to “politically very liberal” by acquaintance William Fulco. Although he has denied that he is a Republican, Gibson is often referred to as one in the press, and WorldNetDaily once reported that there was grassroots support among Republicans for "a presidential run" in 2008.

Gibson complimented filmmaker Michael Moore and his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 when he and Moore were recognized at the 2005 People's Choice Awards. Gibson's Icon Productions originally agreed to finance Moore's film, but later sold the rights to Miramax Films. Moore said that his agent Ari Emanuel claimed that "top Republicans" called Mel Gibson to tell him, "don’t expect to get more invitations to the White House". Icon's spokesman dismissed this story, saying "We never run from a controversy. You'd have to be out of your mind to think that of the company that just put out The Passion of the Christ.

In a July 1995 interview with Playboy magazine, Gibson said President Bill Clinton was a "low-level opportunist" and someone was "telling him what to do". He said that the Rhodes Scholarship was established for young men and women who want to strive for a "new world order" and this was a campaign for Marxism. Gibson later backed away from such conspiracy theories saying, "It was like: 'Hey, tell us a conspiracy' . . . so I laid out this thing, and suddenly, it was like I was talking the gospel truth, espousing all this political shit like I believed in it."

In 2004, he publicly spoke out against taxpayer-funded embryonic stem-cell research that involves the cloning and destruction of human embryos.

In March 2005, he issued a statement condemning the ending of Terri Schiavo's life, referring to her death as "state-sanctioned murder" on Sean Hannity's radio show.

Gibson joked about WMDs in a February 2004 interview with Diane Sawyer and in March 2004 questioned the Iraq war on Sean Hannity's radio show. In 2006, Gibson told the Time magazine that the "fearmongering" depicted in his film Apocalypto "reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys."

Allegations of homophobia, Anglophobia, antisemitism, and racism

Allegations of homophobia

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) accused Gibson of homophobia after a December 1991 interview in the Spanish newspaper El País. Asked what he thought of gay people, he said, "I take it up the ass too." Gibson pointed to his buttocks, continuing, "This is only for taking a shit." When reminded that he had worked closely with gays at drama school, Gibson said, "They were good people, kind, I like them. But their thing is not my thing." When the interviewer asked if Gibson was afraid that people would think he is gay because he's an actor, Gibson replied, "Do I sound like a homosexual? Do I talk like them? Do I move like them? What happens is when you're an actor, they stick that label on you." Gibson later defended his comments on Good Morning America, saying, "[Those remarks were a response] to a direct question. If someone wants my opinion, I'll give it. What, am I supposed to lie to them?" In his 1995 Playboy interview, he responded to GLAAD's protests over his comment with "I'll apologize when hell freezes over. They can fuck off". Eventually, however, to make amends with the gay community and show he was not homophobic, Gibson joined GLAAD in hosting 10 lesbian and gay filmmakers for an on-location seminar on the set of the movie Conspiracy Theory in January 1997. In 1999 when asked about the comments to El País, Gibson said, "I shouldn't have said it, but I was tickling a bit of vodka during that interview, and the quote came back to bite me on the ass." ''

Some have criticized Braveheart for its portrayal of the future Edward II as weak and effeminate and for the scene in which Edward I throws his son's male lover out of the window. Gibson defended his depiction of Prince Edward as weak and ineffectual, saying,

“'I'm just trying to respond to history. You can cite other examples – Alexander the Great, for example, who conquered the entire world, was also a homosexual. But this story isn't about Alexander the Great. It's about Edward II.”
Gibson asserted that the reason the king killed his son's lover was because the king was a “psychopath,” and he expressed bewilderment that some audience members would laugh at this murder:
"We cut a scene out, unfortunately . . . where you really got to know that character (Edward II) and to understand his plight and his pain. . . . But it just stopped the film in the first act so much that you thought, 'When's this story going to start?'

Gibson was also accused of homophobia based on his portrayal of Herod Antipas in The Passion of the Christ. In the film, the Hellenized Antipas is depicted as a luxurious, wig-wearing buffoon who surrounds himself with young male and female drunken revelers. The character of the Jewish high priest Caiphas is shown to be disgusted by the mascara-wearing Herod and his debauchery. The effeminate portrayal of Antipas in The Passion is common to other representations, including Jesus Christ Superstar. The origin of this tradition may have been Christ's description of Herod as a “fox” in Luke 13:32, using a feminine word meaning “vixen” in the original Greek.

Allegations of Anglophobia

Due to some of his film choices as well as his Irish and Australian background, accusations of anglophobia, both sincere and joking, have been made against Gibson.

Criticisms have been leveled at the historical accuracy of the Gibson-directed Braveheart, including its portrayal of English lords asserting jus primae noctis. Gibson has acknowledged the reliance on anachronistic elements and the legends about William Wallace to make Braveheart more cinematically compelling. Furthermore, Gibson has dissociated himself from Scottish nationalists using the film to campaign for separation from the United Kingdom (England).

Gibson was called anti-English following the release of The Patriot in 2000, despite neither directing nor writing the script for the film. The American Revolutionary character played by Gibson (loosely inspired by four people) waged a private war against a villainous British officer based on Colonel Banastre Tarleton.

According to unauthorised biographer and vocal Gibson critic Wensley Clarkson, Mel Gibson was raised in an openly anti-British atmosphere by his Irish-American parents. Clarkson cites alleged family stories saying that several of Gibson's maternal relations (possibly including his grandmother) were raped by the Black and Tans during the Irish War of Independence. Clarkson further accuses Gibson of deliberately standing up the British Royal Family at the London premiere of Hamlet. However, Gibson had also missed the New York premiere of Hamlet to attend the funeral of his mother in Australia.

While promoting The Patriot, Gibson told reporters, "I'm actually an Anglophile. I like the Brits, you know?" The fact that he keeps battling the British onscreen is "an unhappy accident, really. I'll have to remedy the situation someday.

Gibson has also publicly supported keeping Queen Elizabeth II as the Australian head of state.

The Passion of the Christ

His 2004 film The Passion of the Christ sparked a fierce debate over alleged anti-Semitic imagery and overtones. Gibson denied that the film was anti-Semitic, but critics remained divided. Some agreed that the film was consistent with the Gospels and traditional Catholic teachings, while others argued that it reflected a selective reading of the Gospels or that it failed to comply with recommendations for dramatization of the Passion issued by the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the USCCB in 1988.

DUI incident

A leaked report revealed that during Gibson's July 28, 2006, arrest for driving under the influence, he made anti-Semitic remarks to arresting officer James Mee, who is Jewish, saying, "Fucking Jews... Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?" Gibson issued two apologies for the incident through his publicist, and in a later interview with Diane Sawyer, he affirmed the accuracy of the quotations.


Gibson engaged in an angry confrontation with Alicia Estrada, an Assistant Professor of Central American Studies, during a Q&A session that followed a screening of his film Apocalypto to film students at Cal State University at Northridge, California on March 22, 2007.

Estrada began by calling Gibson "racist" and "ignorant", and saying, "It's a racist film, and I demand an apology." Gibson replied that he was insulted by this accusation. Estrada handed the microphone to her friend KPFK radio host Felipe Perez, who began reading a lengthy statement in Spanish. The organizers eventually said, "ask a question or leave" and cut off the microphone, but Gibson said he should be allowed to continue. Estrada took back the mic and began to translate the prepared statement. When officials concluded that she was not going to ask a question, they called security to escort her out. Estrada then asked Gibson if he was aware of certain scholars, and Gibson replied that he knew them well, and he detailed his research for the film. Although Estrada said that Gibson used profanity in his response, CSUN spokesman John Chandler disagreed: "He didn't respond with a profanity. He responded by answering the question." After Estrada's microphone was turned off, Gibson said, "No, let her talk. Please." Estrada became angry that she was being "silenced", and Gibson responded, "I'm listening to you! I can still hear you!" As Estrada and Perez were being escorted out, the audience applauded. Later in the Q&A session, Gibson expressed regret at the incident and the evening ended with a standing ovation for the filmmaker.

Soon afterwards, student newspaper photographer Khristian Garay sold his photographs to the paparazzi, resulting in a story at TMZ.Gibson's publicist told journalists, "This was just a reaction to someone being disruptive and rude. He went on and completed the session and said it was successful. It's unfortunate it was tarnished with a momentary confrontation." Estrada defended herself, saying, "In no way was my question aggressive in the way that he responded to it. These are questions that my peers, my colleagues, ask me every time I make a presentation. These are questions I pose to my students in the classroom." Estrada furthermore demanded an apology, "not only to me but to the Central American program at CSUN, to the university and most importantly to the Mayan people and Mayan community." University spokesman John Chandler commented, "The students were very appreciative of Mr. Gibson being there. He spent a lot of time answering questions about moviemaking."


Mel Gibson is known for his sense of humor on the set of his movies. He has a reputation for practical jokes, puns, Stooge-inspired physical comedy, and doing outrageous things to shock people. Gibson is fond of drawing caricatures and hiring high school marching bands to pay tribute to his co-workers. As a director he sometimes breaks the tension on set by having his actors perform serious scenes wearing a red clown nose. Helena Bonham Carter, who appeared alongside him in Hamlet, said of him, "He has a very basic sense of humor. It's a bit lavatorial and not very sophisticated. On the set of Maverick Gibson played a joke on costar Jodie Foster's birthday by secretly rewriting the script to give her character all corny dialogue. Foster returned the favor by hiring a bagpiper in full Scottish regalia to follow Mel around at the Vanity Fair Oscar party after he won for Braveheart. On the set of Ransom, Gibson presented Ron Howard and Brian Grazer with a mock Braveheart For Your Consideration ad when both Braveheart and Apollo 13 were nominated for Best Picture. The ad was for “Best Moon Shot,” and featured a picture of Braveheart's Scottish army mooning the English. While filming Conspiracy Theory, he and co-star Julia Roberts played a series of pranks on each other, beginning with Gibson welcoming Roberts to the set with a gift-wrapped freeze-dried rat.. In addition to inserting several homages to the Three Stooges in his Lethal Weapon movies, Gibson produced a television movie on the comedy group in 2000. As a gag, Gibson inserted a single subliminal frame of himself smoking a cigarette into the 2005 teaser trailer of Apocalypto

Alcohol abuse

Mel Gibson has said that he started drinking at the age of thirteen. In a 2002 interview about his time at NIDA, Gibson said,

"I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently I'm manic depressive."
Gibson has not made any other public mention of having bipolar disorder.

In 1984, Gibson was arrested in Toronto for driving with a blood alcohol level between 0.12%-0.13% after he rear-ended a car. According to Clarkson, when the other driver exited his vehicle and began shouting profanity at him, Mel Gibson laughed and offered him a drink. Gibson plead guilty and was fined $300 and banned from driving in Ontario for 3 months. In court he apologized to the Toronto community and thanked the police.

In 1985, Gibson retreated to his Australian farm for over a year to recover, but he continued to struggle with drinking. Despite this problem, Gibson gained a reputation in Hollywood for professionalism and punctuality, so that Lethal Weapon 2 director Richard Donner was shocked when Gibson confided that he was drinking five pints of beer for breakfast. Gibson said, in 2003, that his despair in his mid-thirties led him to contemplate suicide, and he meditated on Christ's Passion to heal his wounds. He took more time off acting in 1991 and sought professional help. That year, Gibson's attorneys were unsuccessful at blocking the Sunday Mirror from publishing what Gibson shared at AA meetings. In 1992, Gibson provided financial support to Hollywood's Recovery Center, saying, "Alcoholism is something that runs in my family. It's something that's close to me. People do come back from it, and it's a miracle. On July 28, 2006, Gibson was arrested for DUI while speeding in his vehicle with an open container of alcohol. He admitted to making anti-Semitic remarks during his arrest and apologized for his "despicable" behavior, saying the comments were "blurted out in a moment of insanity" and asked to meet with Jewish leaders to help him "discern the appropriate path for healing." When pressed for what his thoughts were at the time in a later interview with Diane Sawyer, he cited the vitriolic attacks on his film The Passion of the Christ and Israel-Lebanon conflict. After Gibson's arrest, his publicist said he had entered a recovery program to battle alcoholism. On August 17, 2006, Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge and was sentenced to three years on probation. Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira ordered him to attend self-help meetings five times a week for four and a half months and three times a week for the remainder of the first year of his probation. He was also ordered to attend a First Offenders Program, was fined $1,300, and his license was restricted for 90 days. He also volunteered to record a public service announcement.

In a October 12, 2006 interview with Diane Sawyer, Gibson spoke on his struggle to remain sober.

"The risk of everything - life, limb, family - is not enough to keep you from it… You cannot do it of yourself. And people can help, yeah. But it's God. You've got to go there. You've got to do it. Or you won't survive…This whole experience in a way, for me, I'm sort of viewing it now as a kind of a blessing because, firstly, I got stopped before I did any real damage to anyone else. Thank God for that. I didn't hurt myself, you know. I didn't leave my kids fatherless…The other thing is sometimes you need a cold bucket of water in the face to sort of snap to because you're dealing with a sort of a malady of the soul, an obsession of the mind and a physical allergy. And some people need a big tap on the shoulder. In my case, public humiliation on a global scale seems to be what was required.
At a May 2007 progress hearing, Judge Mira praised Gibson for complying with the terms of his probation, saying,
"I know his extensive participation in a self-help program - and I should note he has done extensive work, beyond which was required.


Although the Gibsons have avoided publicity over their philanthropy, they are believed to spend a lot of money on various charities. One known charity is Healing the Children. According to Cris Embleton, one of the founders, the Gibsons have given millions to provide lifesaving medical treatment to needy children worldwide. The Gibsons have also supported the arts, funding the restoration of Renaissance artwork and giving millions of dollars to NIDA.

While filming the movie Apocalypto in the jungles of Mexico's Veracruz state, Mel Gibson donated one million dollars to the Rotary Club to build houses for poor people in the region after some severe flooding wiped out many homes, stating:

"[T]hey had a lot of floods down there. It was like Louisiana down there in the southern regions. They had severe flooding and something like a million people were displaced and washed out. I've always been of the opinion that if you go into someone else's country to make a film you don't just go in there and stomp all over the place. You bring a gift. It's like going to somebody's house. You bring them a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates and it's the same sort of thing on a big scale when you're going in to somebody's country and they are going to help you make your film. You help them first somehow or you give them a gift or you help in what way you can. So we sort of assisted with the flood relief stuff down there."

Gibson has a reputation for discreetly assisting members of the entertainment community with substance abuse problems. He worked behind the scenes to get Robert Downey, Jr. some help at Corcoran State Prison. Hole rocker Courtney Love praised Mel Gibson for saving her from a drug relapse after the Hollywood actor helped force her into rehab. Gibson sought to help the musician at a hotel in Los Angeles when he heard she was using drugs again. Love later recalled,

"I kept slamming the door in (Gibson's) face. There were two drug people with me who wouldn't leave, so they couldn't get me to rehab. But because of Mel, two drug people ran off to have a cheeseburger with him because he's Mel, and then Warren [Boyd] (her drug minder) could get me into rehab.

Gibson has donated $500,000 to the El Mirador Basin Project to protect the last tract of virgin rain forest in Central America and to fund archeological excavations in the "cradle of Mayan civilization. In July 2007, Gibson again visited Central America to make arrangements for donations to the indigenous population. Gibson met with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to discuss how to "channel the funds. During the same month, Gibson pledged to give financial assistance to a Malaysian company named Green Rubber Global for a tire recycling factory located in Gallup, New Mexico. While on a business trip to Singapore in September 2007, Gibson donated to a local charity for children with chronic and terminal illnesses. In September 2008, the Gibsons donated $50,000 to the Kidney Foundation of Fiji. The check was delivered by son Milo, who stated he loved Fiji and his family was grateful to be able to help the organization.


Year Film Role Notes
2009 Edge of Darkness Thomas Craven
2006 Who Killed The Electric Car? Himself
2004 Paparazzi Anger Management Therapy Patient Uncredited
2003 The Singing Detective Dr. Gibbon
2002 Signs Rev. Graham Hess
2002 We Were Soldiers Lt. Col. Hal Moore
2000 What Women Want Nick Marshall
2000 The Patriot Benjamin Martin
2000 Chicken Run Rocky
2000 The Million Dollar Hotel Detective Skinner
1999 Payback Porter
1998 Lethal Weapon 4 Sergeant Martin Riggs
1997 FairyTale: A True Story Frances' Father Uncredited
1997 Conspiracy Theory Jerry Fletcher
1997 Fathers' Day Scott the Body Piercer Uncredited
1996 Ransom Tom Mullen
1995 Pocahontas John Smith
1995 Braveheart William Wallace
1994 Maverick Bret Maverick
1993 The Man Without a Face Justin McLeod
1993 The Chili Con Carne Club Mel
1992 Forever Young Capt. Daniel McCormick
1992 Lethal Weapon 3 Sergeant Martin Riggs
1990 Hamlet Prince Hamlet
1990 Air America Gene Ryack
1990 Bird on a Wire Rick Jarmin
1989 Lethal Weapon 2 Sergeant Martin Riggs
1988 Tequila Sunrise Dale "Mac" McKussic
1987 Lethal Weapon Sergeant Martin Riggs
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Mad Max Rockatansky
1984 Mrs. Soffel Ed Biddle
1984 The River Tom Garvey
1984 The Bounty Fletcher Christian Master's Mate
1982 The Year of Living Dangerously Guy Hamilton
1982 Attack Force Z Captain P.G. (Paul) Kelly
1981 Mad Max 2 aka The Road Warrior Mad Max Rockatansky
1981 Gallipoli Frank Dunne
1980 The Chain Reaction Bearded mechanic Uncredited
1979 Mad Max Mad Max Rockatansky
1979 Tim Tim
1977 Gulliver's Travels Gulliver
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Baseball Player Uncredited

As Director
Year Film Notes
2006 Apocalypto
2004 The Passion of the Christ
1995 Braveheart
1993 The Man Without a Face
As Producer
Year Film Notes
2008 Another Day in Paradise Producer
2006 Apocalypto Producer
2005 Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man Executive Producer / Producer
2004 Paparazzi Producer
2004 The Passion of the Christ Producer
2003 The Singing Detective Producer
1995 Braveheart Producer
1992 Forever Young Executive Producer - Uncredited
As Writer
Year Film Notes
2006 Apocalypto Written by
2004 The Passion of the Christ Screenplay

Awards and accomplishments

  • Australian Film Institute: Best Actor in a Lead Role, Tim (1979)
  • Australian Film Institute: Best Actor in a Lead Role, Gallipoli (1981)
  • People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (1991)
  • MTV Movie Awards: Best Action Sequence, Lethal Weapon 3 (1993)
  • MTV Movie Awards: Best On-Screen Duo, Lethal Weapon 3 (1993) - shared with Danny Glover
  • ShoWest Award: Male Star of the Year (1993)
  • National Board of Review: Special Achievement in Filmmaking, Braveheart (1995)
  • American Cinematheque Gala Tribute: American Cinematheque Award (1995)
  • ShoWest Award: Director of the Year (1996)
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards: Best Director, Braveheart (1996)
  • Golden Globe Awards: Best Director, Braveheart (1996)
  • Academy Awards: Best Director, Braveheart (1996)
  • Academy Awards: Best Picture, Braveheart (1996)
  • People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (1997)
  • Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Man of the Year (1997)
  • Blockbuster Entertainment Awards: Favorite Actor - Suspense, Ransom (1997)
  • Blockbuster Entertainment Awards: Favorite Actor - Suspense, Conspiracy Theory (1998)
  • People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama (2001)
  • People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (2001)
  • Blockbuster Entertainment Awards: Favorite Actor - Drama, The Patriot (2001)
  • Australian Film Institute: Global Achievement Award (2002)
  • People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (2003)
  • Honorary Doctorate Recipient and Undergraduate Commencement Speaker, Loyola Marymount University (2003)
  • People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (2004)
  • Named as the world's most powerful celebrity by US business magazine Forbes (2004)
  • Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards (2008)


Published sources

  • McCarty, John (2001). The Films Of Mel Gibson. Citadel. ISBN 0806522267.
  • Clarkson, Wensley (2004). Mel Gibson, Man on a Mission. John Blake. ISBN 1-85782-537-3.

External links

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