Mel Gibson Gets Second Act 11 Years After Hollywood Ostracized Him

With "Daddy's Home 2," star is back in mainstream, but not everyone is cheering.

November 10, 2017 9:25 am
Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson and Will Ferrell in ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ (Paramount)

Eleven years after a drunken-driving arrest and ensuing anti-Semitic rant kicked off a downward spiral that seemed a sure-fire career killer, Mel Gibson has completed his unlikely comeback.

That the 61-year-old actor is starring in Daddy’s Home 2, a mainstream comedy with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg atop the marquee, shows just how far he’s come. And reportedly Warner Bros. is even considering him to direct the sequel to Suicide Squad, a plum gig in the film industry.

It wasn’t that long ago that Gibson was considered toxic, starting in 2006 when the police report from the infamous arrest leaked. Having been stopped after going nearly double the speed limit in Malibu, with an open bottle of tequila in his car, Gibson launched into a rant at a female deputy, who he referred to “sugar t-ts.” “The Jews are responsible for all of the wars in the world,” he said, according to the transcript.

It got worse four years later after audio emerged of him threatening ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva with sexual violence and peppering that call with racist invective.

He tried to make a comeback with the 2013 B-movie sequel, Machete Kills, but that bombed at the box office in part because many distributors didn’t want to touch a project with Gibson attached.

“There were a number of countries where the CEOs of the companies were so upset with whatever he said, whether it be about women or Jews, they would just refuse the movie,” Machete Kills producer Sergei Bespalov, told The Wall Street Journal.

That changed last year after Hacksaw Ridge — with Gibson in the director’s seat, but not in front of the camera and financed through independent, foreign funding — opened to great acclaim. The World War II drama earned the Oscar-winner another Best Picture nomination.

Not everyone is willing to give Gibson a standing ovation — like the audience at the Venice Film Festival did for 11 minutes after the premiere of his directorial effort, Hacksaw Ridge — for his apparent career comeback.

“The team behind Daddy’s Home 2 couldn’t have known that their seemingly innocuous family comedy would come out in the midst of a firestorm about the abhorrent behavior of powerful men in Hollywood,” writes GQ‘s Scott Meslow. “But they certainly knew all about Mel Gibson’s past, and they cast him anyway. That’s shameful enough.”


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