What We Learned From Mel Gibson’s Big Interview (and What We Didn’t)

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It was long assumed that Jodie Foster would do nearly all the interviews for The Beaver in lieu of her beleaguered star Mel Gibson, but Gibson proved last night that he's still willing to do selected press — if the parameters are right. "There were no pre-set conditions, no topic off limits, and no ground rules," said Deadline journalist Allison Hope Weiner in her introduction to the interview, and yet there remained some important subjects that Gibson refused to talk about, and some telling follow-ups that the sympathetic Weiner neglected to ask.

However, Weiner neglected to ask how Gibson felt when, after tapes leaked of him excoriating his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and using racial epithets, Leonardo DiCaprio pulled out of his viking adventure movie. And though she brought up the fact that Gibson plead guilty to misdemeanor battery for hitting Grigorieva, she allowed Gibson to frame the decision as a way to end his legal battle — "I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family" — without ever actually admitting whether he hit her or not. It helped, of course, that Weiner declined to ask.

However, Weiner neglected to ask how Gibson felt when, after tapes leaked of him excoriating his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and using racial epithets, Leonardo DiCaprio pulled out of his viking adventure movie. And though she brought up the fact that Gibson plead guilty to misdemeanor battery for hitting Grigorieva, she allowed Gibson to frame the decision as a way to end his legal battle — "I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family" — without ever actually admitting whether he hit her or not. It helped, of course, that Weiner declined to ask.

While forthcoming about his current emotional state, Gibson refused to answer most questions pertaining to his family or his rumored negotiations with Grigorieva, though he seems surprised that the press was even interested in that doomed relationship in the first place. "It’s nobody’s business. It really isn’t," he complained. "Why is it? Why is it anyone’s business?" Perhaps, Weiner fails to note, because Grigorieva was quite literally Gibson's business at one point: He signed her to his record label, directed her music videos, and debuted his romantic relationship with her at the red-carpet premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film neither of them had any stake in. Back then, Gibson had more control over his own personal narrative — and, at that point, almost total control over Grigorieva's. That balance of power has obviously shifted since, but now, at least, Gibson has recognized a way to deal with it: When the media is determined to write your life story, find a reporter who can give you a co-author credit.

EXCLUSIVE: MEL GIBSON FINALLY TALKS [Deadline]