Mel Gibson talks about Vikings, Maccabee and Tom Hardy

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As most of you know, Mel Gibson has not exactly been having a good last few years. The award winning actor/director used to be the blue-eyed favourite son of  Hollywood, but one domestic violence charge and recorded antisemitic conversation with his Russian girlfriend later, and he had been transformed from power player to pariah. Because of his rage-induced slurrings, he was virtually excommunicated by the movie world elite, but that may all be changing.

While in attendance at a special Mad Max screening event, the 56 year old actor spoke to LA Times’ Geoff Boucher about his troubles, his upcoming projects and what he thinks of the new Mad Max.

LA Times’ Hero Complex has posted the entire interview, but for those of you ADDHD kids who can’t sit still for 45 minutes, here are the highlights:

When asked about how down he felt during the times of his personal and legal troubles:

“Oh, everybody gets ups and downs, don’t they? Yeah? Yeah. Yeah, but I managed to sort of rise above in the end. I think everybody has to; it’s either sink or swim. Or you just don’t wake up one morning. But I kept waking up, so I figured, ‘what the f–k, I might as well enjoy it.'”

When asked about his long-in-development viking epic:

“Vikings, as you know, are very unsympathetic characters and these guys will be bad. I sort of hooked up again with Randall Wallace who did the script on Braveheart.  Yeah, it’s pretty good. It’s called Berserker.”

He was asked whether his Vikings will make use the stereotypical but historically inaccurate horned helmets, to which he replied:

“…They did not have horns. No, I don’t think they had horns. They’re going to look real.  They’re not going to be running around like the ’50s. I want to make something real and visceral.”

When the product was originally announced, a number of big name personalities showed interest, including Leonardo DiCaprio to star and William Monahan (The Departed) to write the script. But since then, these names have drifted off to other other projects:

“Things begin and people wander off and do their thing and I do my thing. I just took my stuff and wrote it with Randall. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.”

 When asked about how so many of his films have themes of sacrifice and violence:

“You have to temper something like that, otherwise people just run out screaming. Really. So you have to make it as bad as you possibly can and have them stay in their seats. That sounds sick, doesn’t it?. But there’s an art to that. It’s kind of like the art of torture. And of course the further we go, I think, the less I want to see. It’s actually starting to make me sick. But some is necessary, I think. I mean, it’s part of life.”

Gibson is also developing the biblical epic, Maccabee, on which he shared some info:

“I’m working with Joe Eszteras on that. That’s from the last two books of the Old Testament, which is like; [turns to audience] just read it some time. Maccabee 1 and 2. Just read it, it’s like a Western. It’s an amazing story. It’s heroic beyond belief. The entire might of the Seleucid Empire, which was Persia, their whole objective at the time was to wipe Judea off the map and they almost did it except for this little hold out that miraculously grew and wanted it all back again.”

On Mad Max: Fury Road, which sees Tom Hardy portraying Gibson’s famous post apocalyptic character in the reboot:

“I like that kid [George’s] got, Tom Hardy. He’s a very interesting actor. He reminds me of one my sons a bit but I had lunch with him, he’s a firecracker. It’ll be good. He was already cast [at the time], he just wanted to check in. I don’t know, maybe it was like ‘Is it okay?’ I was like ‘Sure, it’s fine. Have a ball, knock yourself out. I got better things to do.'”

Personally, I have never stopped being a Gibson fan. Yes, he has some personal demons to excise, but the man is just crazy talented both in front of and behind the camera. A realistic viking epic directed by Gibson and written by the same man who wrote Braveheart is a film that I cannot wait to see. And Maccabee also sounds like it could be an intriguing and exciting concept that Gibson could knock out of the park.

Read  Mel Gibson and Frank Grillo in talks to play leads in Joe Carnahan's Boss Level

Most importantly though, while watching that interview it seems an awful lot to me like Mr Gibson has completely made peace with his past troubles and now just wants to get back to doing what he does best. And judging by the fact that he received two standing ovations during the screening, it would seem that I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Last Updated: February 10, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • It says something about the man’s talent and charisma that even after all the kak he’s done, from Anti-Semitism to drunken confrontations to domestic abuse and The Beaver that he is still capable of eliciting two standing ovations

    That or it says something about the short-term memories of audience members

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