So, Mel Gibson has a movie coming out on Friday. It’s a strange story about a seriously depressed man who begins to come out of his crippling emotional state only when he turns his life over to a puppet … Oh, what? You had trouble focusing on anything after “Mel Gibson” and “movie”? Such is the plight of the Jodie Foster–directed The Beaver, which arrives in theaters with the enormous burden of being Gibson’s first post-meltdown film, and one about an unhinged man to boot. How does one begin to spin a movie like this? Well, Gibson’s colleagues have some ideas! Let’s see the four strategies they’ve trotted out to sell the movie while being bombarded with questions about their notorious co-star’s bad behavior.
1. Gibson’s behavior helps make the moviegoing experience richer.
“It’s hard not to look at it through the lens of what has gone on very publicly with him and, in a way, that adds a layer to what you’re watching that I don’t think you would get with any other actor. I mean, there’s a way you think about what you’re seeing that you just wouldn’t have had he not had his own personal struggles.” —ScreenwriterKyle Killen
2. His behavior helps make his performance better.
“I think definitely in order to play those scenes with as much honesty as you can, you have to go to those places. I think that’s why, when people get upset with actors for being intense, it’s like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It’s an intense job. People spend most of their lives trying to avoid painful things and pain that they feel and avoid darkness that they feel and try and be happy. Actors have to willingly bring that up and access that to then put it into characters. It’s just a weird job, really: We all bury things. I think it’s our job to uncover those things in ourselves and apply them, see how we can relate things in ourselves and apply them.” —Co-star Anton Yelchin
3. His behavior shouldn’t matter, because he is a good man.
“I’m not defending his behavior. I’m defending the man that I know. And I know he’s kind and loyal and is an incredible professional. He’s probably the most beloved actor of anybody I’ve ever worked with in the film business. And I don’t say that lightly.” —Director and co-star Jodie Foster
4. His behavior just sucks.
“No one will be able to see his performance in The Beaver clearly now. Even if Mel Gibson is great in the movie, I’m afraid no one will go.” — Co-starJennifer Lawrence