The questions continue as to whether Mel Gibson’s latest deranged diatribe will cost him what’s left of his movie star career. We decided to take a straw poll of industry insiders, and the result was absolutely…mixed.
“Yes,” answered one major producer simply.
“I think it will be career-altering, not career-ending. He doesn’t have Ed Limato to help him this time,” pointed out another producer, referring to Gibson’s revered agent and friend of decades, who died July 3. (Update: The Wrap confirmed today that William Morris Endeavor is no longer representing Gibson. http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/wme-drops-mel-gibson-client-19112 We should have known when WME ran an In Memoriam advertisement in Variety that included photos with Limato and many of his other star clients and left out Gibson.)
A veteran Hollywood publicist told us, “I think it’s really a sad thing. He seems to be two guys, doesn’t he? No, it won’t end his career. That degree of stardom is a high citadel, hard to shake. He’s made good movies, he brings a lot to his movies. How many people can say that?”
Nicole LaPorte of The Daily Beast smartly pointed out in her “Why Mel Will Get Away With It” piece on the website a few days ago that Gibson is still worth almost a billion dollars and has an entertainment empire in his Icon Productions. He has the power to produce his own films and even distribute them through a theater chain he recently bought in Australia. On top of that, his words will have less impact in some parts of the planet than at home.
Then there’s Bill Maher’s suggestion on Twitter that Gibson “has to own being the biggest a—— in the world…There’s an audience for that — embrace it, Mel — walk toward the dark”
“He alienated so many people with his anti-Semitic statements a few years ago,” noted a series actor, “I don’t think he recovered from that. I have to say, it’s dirty pool to tape a private conversation and then leak it to the tabloids.”
True, Gibson still has plenty of residual ill will from his anti-Semitic tirade to California Highway Patrol officers back in 2006 when he was arrested for drunk driving. Now hurling the N-word, along with profanity-laden verbal abuse toward his highly-estranged girlfriend and mother of his latest child, Oksana Grigorieva, in the audio clips that came out last week, he’s alienated yet more of his audience. Grigorieva’s accusations of domestic violence made things all the worse. An Access Hollywood poll showed 72 per cent of moviegoers saying they’ll pass on future Gibson films, while others – such as the author of a new blog called Mel Gibson: Just Go Away – would like to shut down his act for good.
However, responded a writer-producer who’s worked with Gibson, “If you’re saying people won’t come to see his movies because of this, no. That’s just not how it works in the business. As long as he’s productive he’ll have an audience.” We’ll see.
RISING TO THE OCCASION: Kudos to Jimmy Buffett for pressing forward with plans for his free concert Sunday (7/11) in Gulf Shores, AL – rescheduled from July 1 due to weather problems — to encourage visitors to come stay at Gulf Coast hotels and frequent the beach businesses that are now virtually empty. The beloved music man just opened his Margaritaville Beach Hotel on Pensacola Beach week before last. Pensacola talk show personality Taris Savell describes the $50 million place as “stunning.” But of course, Buffett is enduring a lack of reservations along with all his fellow Gulf Coast hoteliers as the BP oil disaster continues. The concert will be on the beach, where a stage is being constructed. The 35,000 tickets to Buffett’s concert went in 10 minutes.
CASTING CORNER: Casting forces on “Moneyball” have been scouting bout for a 10-eyar-old girl who can play the daughter of Brad Pitt and Robin Wright. The character is described as smart, engaging and able to play the guitar. And obviously, she’s attractive as well.