Academy Award-winning director Mel Gibson is seeking forgiveness from Hollywood ten years after a drunk-driving arrest and an anti-Semitic tirade left him exiled from the film industry.
“Ten years have gone by. I’m feeling good. I’m sober, all of that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past,” Gibson said last week on Variety‘s “Playback” podcast.
In 2006, Gibson was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and reportedly shouted several anti-Semitic slurs at the arresting officer, according to his arrest report.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” the 60-year-old actor told Variety. “I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of — we’ll call it the press. So, not fair. I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”
Gibson had garnered great respect and much fame for successful film franchises like Mad Max in the late 70s and early 80s, and the Lethal Weapon films.
After producing and directing Braveheart in 1995, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture and for Best Director, Gibson became a blockbuster favorite for more than a decade. But that all came crashing down after the 2006 incident.
“Others bring it up, which kind of I find annoying, because I don’t understand why after 10 years it’s any kind of issue,” Gibson said. “Surely if I was really what they say I was, some kind of hater, there’d be evidence of actions somewhere. There never has been.”
Despite his scandal-plagued past, Gibson insists that he’s “never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation.” The Braveheart director and star would rather not allow “one episode in the back of a police car on eight double tequilas to sort of dictate all the work, life’s work and beliefs and everything else that I have and maintain for my life is really unfair.”
Gibson’s new World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, his first directing gig since 2006’s critically-acclaimed Apocalypto, is enjoying positive early reviews, and boasts a robust 90% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film follows the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), a medic who served during the Battle of Okinawa and refused to carry a gun on moral and religious grounds. Doss became the first conscientious objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
“It highlights what it means for a man of conviction and of faith to go into a situation that is hellish and in the midst of that maelstrom, this man is able to hone his spirituality and achieve something higher,” Gibson said during a recent news conference in Beverly Hills.
Hacksaw Ridge opens November 4.