Mel Gibson has not had a good year, no matter how you look at it. He was hit with allegations of physical abuse from his now ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva earlier this year; a recording of Gibson’s obscenity and sexual/racial epithet-filled phone conversation with Grigorieva was later leaked to the press; and the actor’s anti-Semitic rant from 2006 has now been brought back into the limelight as a result of all this new controversy.
Gibson was set to make his return to acting this year with The Beaver, a satirical film in which he plays a businessman who finds peace in life by wearing a beaver puppet on his hand. Jodie Foster directed the feature, which has yet to secure a theatrical release date.
Early word on Gibson’s performance in The Beaver has been extremely positive and has gotten Oscar buzz from industry insiders. The film itself would have to be given at least a limited release in order to qualify for next year’s Academy-Awards ceremony – could it be the key to resurrecting the defunct career of its lead?
The media certainly loves a celebrity meltdown, but it also adores a good comeback story – and Gibson could provide them with just that. Odds are not stacked high in favor of Gibson redeeming himself in the public’s eye anytime soon, if only because of the extreme nature of his past behavior.
Then again – Gibson giving an innately sympathetic and yet self-deprecatory performance as an oddball whose antics attract the attention of the remorseless media? That could be exactly the kind of role to soften his image in the eyes of the moviegoing public right now.
Gibson on Mad Men?
If Gibson is unable to resurrect his movie acting career, then there is always the option of television. The actor could show up on the small screen next year on – of all shows – AMC’s hit Mad Men.
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner reportedly met with Gibson to discuss the possibility of having him featured in a guest-appearance story arc in the next season of the Emmy-winning TV series. Gibson would most likely appear on the show as a business associate and/or rival of the show’s protagonist, Don Draper (who is played by The Town‘s Jon Hamm), a New York marketing executive operating in the ever-changing world of 1960s America.
The idea of Gibson playing a character who indulges in martinis and must learn to cope in an age when sexism and racial insensitivity are increasingly frowned upon… nah, that joke is too easy. Suffice it to say, such a role could be a potentially perfect fit for Gibson at this point.
Gibson would not be the first (nor will he be the last) Hollywood figure whose unscrupulous behavior and conduct in real life leaves a bad taste in the mouths of moviegoers. He also wouldn’t be the first or last “naughty celebrity” who ultimately sees his career suffer as a result. It is quite understandable that a lot of people can’t think about Gibson as an Oscar-winning director and filmmaker without dwelling on the details of his personal life as well. It’s simply the nature of the artistic beast.
Does Gibson deserve a second chance? It is certainly a question up for debate, if only because there is no clean-cut answer. But then again, how often is that really the case?
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