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the beaver

Jodie Foster Won’t Abandon Mel Gibson

What is the normally press-averse Jodie Foster doing on the cover of More without a new project to promote? Consider it a reminder of how things were supposed to go this fall: Foster intended to release her first directorial effort in fifteen years, The Beaver, which would hopefully augur an awards-caliber comeback for its star, Mel Gibson. Instead, Gibson went radioactive after his audiotape scandal broke, The Beaver was postponed indefinitely, and More ended up with Foster's first public statement on the matter.

Foster told the magazine that even before the damaging tapes of Gibson berating ex Oksana Grigorieva were released, directing The Beaver — in which Gibson plays a stunted CEO who begins to communicate solely through a hand puppet — was an "enormous, enormous, enormous emotional challenge." Still, Foster's affection for Gibson was one constant, and she continues to stand by the embattled actor:

Still left unsaid: whether Gibson's "powerful and moving performance" will ever be seen in theaters. America's 13-year-olds can only wait so long.

When writer Sheila Weller talked to Foster months before Gibson's Tapegate, Foster extolled he actor's professionalism and said he's the "easiest, nicest person I've ever worked with. ... The second I met him [wokring on 1994's Maverick], I said, 'I will love this man for the rest of my life.' "Even after the tapes surfaced and the L.A. sheriff's office opened an investigation into allegations against Gibson of domestic violence (as well as an investigation into allegations of extortion against Grigorieva), Foster told MORE exclusively: "When you love a friend, you don't abandon them when they are struggling. Of course, Mel is an undeniably gifted actor and director, and The Beaver is one of his most powerful and moving performances. But more importantly, he is and has been a true and loyal friend. I hope I can help him get through this dark moment."

Still left unsaid: whether Gibson's "powerful and moving performance" will ever be seen in theaters. America's 13-year-olds can only wait so long.

Jodie Foster on Movies & Mel [More]

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images