While Summit Entertainment tries to figure out what to do with The Beaver, HBO has a similar, if lesser, dilemma on its hands: The channel owns the pay-TV premiere rights to Edge of Darkness, the Mel Gibson “comeback” film that opened back in January. Edge, in which Gibson plays an unhinged cop whose daughter’s murder pushes him to the you-know-what of you-know-where, didn’t do too well in theaters (grossing $43 million against a reported $80 million budget) and seems even less appealing now, given that the “Mel Gibson angrily rants like a lunatic” market would seem to be saturated.
But wait! Why not take lunatic lemons and make it into nutcake lemonade? After all, Edge of Darkness features Gibson as we’ve always loved him, from Mad Max to Ransom to Payback: as a violence-prone psycho hell-bent on revenge. As one reviewer said about Edge, “No-one does ‘man-on-the-edge-of-sanity-about-to-lose-it’ like Mel Gibson,” which seems truer than ever in light of those recent phone calls. So HBO could quietly scuttle the film (a rep claims there have been no discussions about not airing it as scheduled in November), or it can think of Mel’s phone rants as the greatest viral promotional campaign of all time: “The crazy talk you clicked on all summer long is now a major motion picture … minus all the distasteful violence and demands for fellatio!” The two projects go together like Murtaugh and Riggs! After all, can you even tell which of the following lines come from Edge of Darkness, and which ones come from Gibson’s recent telephonic rants?
1. “Fasten your fucking seat belt!”
2. “What, are you starting already?”
3. “You make me want to smoke.”
4. “Welcome to hell.”
5. “I’ll put you in a fucking rose garden … I’m capable of it.”
6. “I’m the guy with nothing to lose.”
7. “You make my life so fucking difficult.”
8. “Listen to my ranting!”
9. “You’d better decide if you’re hanging on the cross or bangin’ in the nails.”
10. “You need to say a lot to assuage my insanity—because you made me this way.”
Crazy Mel (make-believe): 1, 2, 4, 6, 9
Crazy Mel (real life): 3, 5, 7, 8, 10