Mel Gibson News Archive

'Machete Kills' trailer comes loaded with Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen

(Video) "Machete Kills" is sure to take fans on one wild ride. The latest trailer for the Robert Rodriguez film starts off ridiculous and gets crazier from there, from opening with Charlie Sheen (aka Carlos Estevez) in bed with three women to Mel Gibson's missile being named "Viva."

This is exactly the trailer we've been dying to see for "Machete Kills," and we're glad it plays up what B-movie fun the flick will be. The trailer also showcases plenty of Lady Gaga, which is great because we still can't get over the fact she's in this movie.

Due in theaters on Sept. 13, "Machete Kills" stars Danny Trejo, Sofia Vergara, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, William Sadler, Demian Bechir and Charlie Sheen. Here's the official synopsis:

"In 'Machete Kills,' Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent "Machete," who is recruited by the President of the United States for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man -- he must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet."

Mel Gibson Belts Out His Favorite Tom Jones Song ... Kind Of

(Video) Ask anyone to belt out their favorite Tom Jones song and you'll probably get "It's Not Unusual" -- arguably one of the most famous songs of all time.

Ask Mel Gibson to sing a few bars of his favorite Tom tune -- and you get a different famous song from an entirely different Jones.

Our photog spotted Mel leaving The Troubador last night, just moments after Jones himself was seen exiting the club, so the question was a no brainer.

There's plenty of Tom magic to choose from: "It's Not Unusual", "She's a Lady", "Sex Bomb" ... all were major hits.

But Mel -- always keeping it interesting -- chose none of those. Instead he chose (and sang) a song made famous by the legendary George Jones (although Tom was known to sing it as well).


Mel Gibson playing piano till closing at 41 Ocean, the new private club in Santa Monica

Sylvester Stallone wants Mel Gibson to direct 'Expendables 3,' confirms Wesley Snipes will co-star

Sylvester Stallone has been tweeting up a storm about upcoming sequel "The Expendables 3," revealing that fresh-out-of-prison Wesley Snipes will co-star ("Demolition Man" reunion!) and the cast would be "blessed" to have Oscar winner Mel Gibson as a director.

Stallone chose Twitter to confirm the previously speculated Snipes news (oddly directed at himself, so it doesn't show up in his main feed):

@TheSlyStallone No , I was kiddiing about , but seriously , what about Mel Gibson directing EXPENDABLES 3? Opinions anyone ? Curious.....

@TheSlyStallone Wesley Snipes is BACK!!!! ... ...with US.

And then Stallone clarified what had at first seemed like a joke about Mel Gibson joining "The Expendables" directing team. (Stallone directed the first film himself, while Simon West handeled the sequel.)

Stallone has also made it clear his goal is to get Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford on board "The Expendables" train (good luck with that), but more realistic rumors have been circulating that Nicolas Cage is likely to join in the threequel, possibly as a villain.

Mel Gibson -- Gets Carted Away with His Daughter

(Photo) After all the lawsuits, recorded phone calls and bitter custody battles, there is something both Mel Gibson and his ex- girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva can finally agree on ... their daughter Lucia is absolutely gorgeous.

The all growed up adorable three-year-old enjoyed some quality joint custody time with Daddy Mel while riding in a shopping cart at a grocery store in Malibu this weekend.

With her precious tiara placed proudly on top of her head, Lucia knows she's the real princess of Malibu.

12 Huge Celebrities Hacked -- Finances Exposed

Twelve big celebs and political figures, including Jay-Z, Beyonce, are the victims of a hacker who has posted detailed information about what appears to be their finances ... and we've learned law enforcement is on the case.

A website -- we're not disclosing the name -- has posted social security numbers, mortgage amounts, credit card info, car loans, banking and other info of major celebs. In addition to Beyonce and Jay-Z ... the site has snagged financial dossiers of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Joe Biden, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

The site was not able to get a lot on Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton, but most of the others on the list have had their financial info compromised.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the LAPD has already launched an investigation. We're told the FBI is looking into it.

Mel's $$ moves

Mel Gibson — a butt of Seth MacFarlane’s Oscars monologue — isn’t just partying in Miami. Sources said he’s also on the prowl there for independent backers for his films. We reported Gibson’s been seen this month in South Beach clubs with the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and a Saudi prince, but few could figure why the disgraced star was staying in Miami. “Mel’s shopping a project, or group of films, to investors,” explained a movie insider. But the former box-office champ hasn’t been in a buzz-worthy film since Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver,” which made just $971,000 in 2011. Gibson’s rep told us of his Miami visit: “There are business reasons that will remain private at this time.”

Gibson on the go

After Mel Gibson was spotted flirting with women at LIV at the Fontainebleau on Wednesday night, he was out partying again Thursday in Miami. Our spies spotted the “Lethal Weapon” star at the W South Beach Hotel’s club Wall, hanging with NFL star Reggie Bush and celebrity chef Curtis Stone. Earlier Thursday night, Stone hosted the South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s Q After Dark, and, like Gibson, the Aussie seemed to be a hit with the women of Miami. We’re told ladies “swarmed” to meet the “Top Chef” host at the event, and that Stone even sprayed the crowd with champagne and danced along to Psy hit “Gangnam Style” onstage. The South Beach foodie fest wraps tomorrow.

Miami babes feel Mel's heat

Mel Gibson’s managed to stay out of the spotlight lately, but he was back to his wild ways in Miami Beach this week — making out with one babe, wooing another on the dance floor and showing yet another pictures of his ex.

After he was spotted by Page Six spies this month at one Miami club with Gerard Butler, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper, Gibson hit LIV at the Fontainebleau on Wednesday night with a certain Saudi prince who’s a South Beach fixture.

Gibson, who starred in the 2011 flop “The Beaver,” was spotted making out with a pretty blonde before moving on to another table to hit on a stunning black woman.

Spies said Gibson was dancing with her “wildly,” “spinning her around,” and she showed him her “modeling pictures” on her phone.

Next, Gibson moved on to a third woman, a preppy blonde, and even showed her pictures of his ex, Oksana Grigorieva.

Our spy relates: “He went over to her table and hit on her by saying, ‘You’re so [bleeping] gorgeous.’ Then he pulled out his phone and started Googling himself. He was showing her pictures, including ones of his ex — the one that looks like Octomom.” (The source confirmed the Nadya Suleman “look-alike” was Gibson ex-girlfriend Grigorieva.)

Spies tell us Gibson was stone-cold sober at LIV, and “just nursing a water bottle all night.” His rep was unable to reach Gibson for comment last night. It’s unclear what the star’s been doing in Miami this month.

In 2011, Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge after Grigorieva released tapes of him allegedly threatening her. He also reportedly ranted about her in an infamous dust-up with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas in Costa Rica, calling her a “filthy little [bleep]sucker.”

Gibson recently attended the Golden Globes to support close friend Jodie Foster. But his only roles since Foster’s “Beaver” have been a cameo in Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills” and a starring part in a film he co-wrote and produced.

H'wood to Miami

Jonah Hill and Gerard Butler made it rain, literally, at Miami club Story on Friday. The pair — along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Mel Gibson and Bradley Cooper — rolled in with three guards, spies said, and then grabbed a 4-foot water gun in the DJ booth to “take turns shooting water over the dance floor” as Erick Morillo spun. The gang of five stars has been spotted together hitting venues in Miami, including Villa Azur, co-owned by Halle Berry’s fiancé, Olivier Martinez. On Saturday, Berry and Martinez even joined Hill and Butler’s dude posse, and they all hit LIV at Fontainebleau, where a spy says Berry tried to convince Martinez to join her on the dance floor, and finally gave up.

Mel Gibson & Gerard Butler -- Boys Night Out

(Photo) Dressed similarly in blue-ish outfits, hard-partying Hollywood playboys Gerard Butler and Mel Gibson were in good spirits as they hung out for dinner at Zuma in Miami on Thursday night.

We're told the new BFFs were with a large group and chowed down on fancy 28 oz steaks, caviar and even threw back some sake ... without incident.

Two not-so-wild and crazy guys.

Jodie boys: a buzz over Mel

Could Mel Gibson be the biological father of Jodie Foster’s two sons?

That’s what some in Hollywood were wondering as Foster thanked Gibson — “You know, you save me, too” — in her heartfelt speech Sunday, reports The Post’s Los Angeles correspondent, Richard Johnson. Gibson was sitting with Charles, 14, and Kit, 12, at Foster’s table.

Foster has never revealed her handsome sons’ paternity and has reportedly said she won’t tell the boys until they turn 21.

“The kids look like him [Gibson] but blonder,” said one amateur genealogist.

If Gibson, a father of eight, donated his sperm to Foster, it would explain her fierce loyalty to the troubled star while the rest of Hollywood shunned him over his anti-Semitic remarks and abusive treatment of Oksana Grigorieva, the Russian girlfriend who bore his last child, Lucia, 3.

Foster and Gibson became friends in 1994 when they starred together in “Maverick.” The two have remained close and often play poker together. Foster’s elder son was born in 1998.

Foster cast Gibson as the lead in her 2011 movie “The Beaver” and stood by him through a grueling press tour. “He’s so incredibly loving and sensitive,” she recently said. “I knew the minute I met him that I would love him the rest of my life.”

The other prime paternity possibility is Randy Stone, the openly gay casting-director friend of Foster who died of heart disease in 2007.

Stone’s mother, the Rev. Beverly Bates, recently told Britain’s Daily Mail, “Randy told me that Jodie said she’ll tell the boys who their father is when they’re 21.” Bates believes Stone is their father, although he never confirmed it: “He told me he had to sign documents. It was a secret he took to his grave.”

The boys also have another mom, movie producer Cydney Bernard, whom Foster praised in her speech as “one of the deepest loves of my life.” The two broke up in 2008.

Reps for Gibson and Foster declined to comment.

Jodie Foster Is 'Real,' Says Adoring Mel Gibson

After giving close friend Mel Gibson a shout-out in her moving speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, Jodie Foster's Beaver costar is returning the love.

"I kiss the ground she walks on," the actor, 57, told PEOPLE at the InStyle/Warner Brothers afterparty. "I adore her."

The double Oscar-winning actress, 50, who has supported Gibson through his dark times, brought many in the ballroom to tears with her emotional speech in which she opened up about her personal life, including her sexuality.

"If you had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, than maybe you too would value privacy above all else," said Foster, who has been in the spotlight since she was 3.

"I thought [her speech] was great," he said. "I love her."

Gibson, who called his longtime friend's support of him "so flattering," shared why he thought Foster was so deserving of the Cecil B. DeMille Award and outpouring of support at her revelation.

"Because she's real," he said simply.

Mel Gibson: I'm Making No Promises For 2013

(Video) Mel Gibson has learned a hard lesson -- don't make promises you can't keep.

A chill Mel was leaving Terroni restaurant in L.A. last night with a woman, when our photog asked for his New Year's resolutions, and he quickly shot back he's not making any.

If we can play arm chair shrink for 2 sentences, it's real progress when someone stops making pie-in-the-sky promises. The latest encounters we've had with Mel have been ... different. He seems at peace and pretty happy. But shaking demons doesn't magically happen on January 1st of any year.

Mel did say he's quit smoking ... the hard way.

Mel Gibson, Gene Simmons, Robert Downey, Jr., and Celebrity Friends Helped to Raise Funds for Mending Kids International

Longtime Mending Kids International supporter Mel Gibson with Gene Simmons, Robert Downey, Jr., Sean Penn and Jodie Foster hosted “Four Kings & An Ace” poker tournament on Saturday, December 1 at The London West Hollywood. Among other notables were World Series Of Poker Winner Jamie Gold, Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp and most of the cast of “Revenge,” Danny Trejo, Greg Louganis, Garry Shandling, Camille Grammer, Chuck Zito, Patricia Arquette, Linda Thompson, Quinton Aaron and World Poker Tour players Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. These celebrities were able to raise enough funds for eight missions to provide almost 200 children around the world life-saving surgeries. Mending Kids International ( is a California-based non-profit that provides surgeries to children otherwise unavailable to them in developing countries, and surgical training to medical staff to build long-term sustainable surgical programs. 92% of every dollar received goes directly towards helping children.

Will Hartman walked away with the night’s poker trophy. Those who didn’t play poker enjoyed casino games and entertainment provided by The Commodores Band, American Idol Winner Lee Dewyze, and Dominic Scott Kay.

Sponsors for the event include ICON Films, The London West Hollywood, The Sher Group, Morgan’s Jewelers, Variety, Marich Premium Chocolates, Polanti Watches, BERYLL, Smile Sciences, El Cartel Tequila, Akvinta Vodka, Atlantico Rum, Paul Smith, Floral Crush, and GrapeVine Productions. MKI is already planning the 2nd Annual event for Fall 2013 and sponsorship opportunities and player slots are available.

About Mending Kids International: MKI is a 501(c)3 organization working to save the lives of children in over 51 countries around the world in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Southeast Asia. MKI strives to give children access to critical surgeries that they would otherwise not be able to receive due to lack of medical or financial resources, and works to help communities create self-sustaining surgical programs.

Mel Gibson Dolls Up Little Girls ... For Charity

(Photo) Mel Gibson knows what women want ... or at least 10-year-old girls ... because he recently went on a play date with two young ladies as part of the charity he works for -- and bought them expensive custom dolls!!!

The charity's called Mending Kids International -- an organization that performs life-saving surgeries for children around the world ... in this case, a 10- and an 11-year-old girl from Honduras who required serious reconstructive face surgeries.

The surgeries were a success -- and Mel celebrated with the girls by taking them out for a stroll around The Grove in L.A., eating lunch, ice cream, window shopping ... and finally, taking them on a trip to the American Girl doll store, where Mel helped them assemble their own look-alike dolls.

FYI -- the store ain't cheap.

Mel -- who's also participating in the Mending Kids celeb poker tournament this weekend in West Hollywood at the London -- tells us, "It was really fun spending time with Karol and Sara ... They have been through so much and are just so inspirational to everyone who meets them."

Mel adds, "At home, these girls couldn't leave their homes for fear of being tormented. Now, they are walking through one of the most popular tourist areas of Los Angeles."

Madeleine Stowe: Mel Gibson Is Not an Anti-Semite

Mel Gibson may not have many friends left in Hollywood, but he can count his former co-star Madeleine Stowe among them.

The Revenge star, who appeared with Gibson in the 2002 movie We Were Soldiers, tells Katie Couric that she still considers Gibson a friend and praised the humanitarian work that he has done with his ex-wife Robyn Moore.

"He has been a very good friend to me," Stowe says on Wednesday's Katie. "He's very tortured by what's going on. I do not believe that he's an anti-Semite in my heart of hearts. I think that he's a very complex, deep individual."

Though she declined to speculate on the mindset or motivation behind comments that Gibson has made that have been perceived as racist and anti-Semitic, Stowe said that she has personally never seen that side of him. "I can only tell you the Mel that I know," Stowe tells Couric. "And he was probably one of the most wonderful people on the set, ever. ... He's a special man."

As the villain Victoria on Revenge, Stowe knows what it's like to be nearly universally loathed, so perhaps that's why she's able to empathize.

Mel Gibson's new brown belt girlfriend is actual Lethal Weapon

Mel Gibson was spotted getting cozy with a new gal pal during a sushi dinner at Nobu in Malibu Sunday night, who has been identified as 38-year-old actress-stuntwoman Ashley Cusato.

Gossip site TMZ alleges that the pair have been dating for a month and the “Braveheart” actor has already introduced Cusato to several members of the family. Sources tell the site that Gibson’s family has welcomed her with open arms and is going to “be around for a long, long time.”

According to her IMDB page, Cusato has been featured as a stunt double for stars like Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz, Anne Hathaway and Denise Richards. She’s also has small screen credits in “Baywatch,” “CSI: NY” and “Alias.”

Mel and his infamous temper might have met his match, as Cusato’s IMDB bio indicates she’s going for a black belt in Yoshukai karate. She was also a former NCAA Division 1 swimmer at UC Santa Barbara and was voted “Best Body” by her classmates in high school.

Before Cusato came in the picture, Gibson was spotted on several dates with Italian singer-songwriter Nadia Lanfranconi.

Mel Gibson -- Who You Callin' Sugar T*ts?

(Photo) Mel Gibson suffered a wardrobe malfunction and accidentally flashed one of his supple man boobs while out walking around Malibu on Wednesday.

Even the King of Malibu has a nip slip every now and then.

Mel Gibson & Rumored Girlfriend Have 'Very Happy' Night Out in Hollywood

Mel-ded together!

Embattled actor Mel Gibson partied at AV Nightclub in Hollywood on Friday.

The Get the Gringo star arrived just before midnight with a car full of girls, including the actor's rumored girlfriend, Nadia Lanfranconi.

Lanfranconi, who was dressed in a short black and white dress and knee-high black boots, and Gibson looked "very happy," an onlooker tells PEOPLE.

"Mel was smiling, laughing and talking with friends all night," the source adds. "He even chatted with guests waiting outside in line!"

Mel Gibson's Ex-Wife Gets Big Piece of the Pie in Divorce

Mel Gibson's ex-wife Robyn snagged a big chunk of Mel's retirement package ... TMZ has learned.

According to documents filed in the couple's divorce case and obtained by TMZ, Robyn got the following per their agreement:

-- Half of the Screen Actors Guild pension benefits Mel accumulated during the 31 years of their marriage.

-- A big chunk of Mel's Directors Guild of America pension benefits

-- Half of the 401(k) benefits Mel accumulated through their production company -- Icon -- during their marriage.

As TMZ previously reported ... the couple also divided earnings and property ... roughly estimated at $800 million and we're told Robyn got roughly half.

Mel Gibson's Hot New Female 'Friend' Nadia Lanfranconi has 'F' Me Written All Over

Mel Gibson has a brand new female companion -- she's hot ... she's foreign ... and she came thiiis close to showing her vagina in a modeling campaign for a company called "F Me" jeans.

The pretty lady -- who accompanied Mel to The Grove in L.A. this past weekend -- is Nadia Lanfranconi ... an aspiring musician who moved to the U.S. from Italy back in 2007.

Mel and Nadia have been spending a lot of time together recently ... they even went to a sushi dinner earlier this month.

Of course, we all know Mel loves aspiring foreign musicians ... but we're told Mel and Nadia are NOT in a serious dating relationship.

Too bad ... 'cause Nadia showed off the goods during a campaign for "F Me" jeans last year ... a company that makes clothing featuring a waistline that plunges dangerously close to the female reproductive organs.

Mel Gibson accuses Eszterhas of sabotage

Mel Gibson has fired another volley in his seemingly never-ending war of words with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas over their abandoned film project "The Maccabees."

In an interview with Coming Soon, Gibson unloads both barrels on his former partner Eszterhas, saying the screenwriter took forever to turn in a script - and when he did, it was "heinous."

"Okay, so a guy gets paid to write a screenplay and doesn't turn anything in for 14 months," Gibson told the website. "That's a serious problem. Not even an outline so I lost my nutter with him. I developed a Viking script almost a year after he started, and I already had a second draft and he hadn't even given me an outline. And he was at my home on a working holiday and he didn't even bring one word."

During the interview, Gibson insisted he had provided Eszterhas with plenty of fodder for the script in the form of story ideas, imagery and dialogue - little of which made it into the final (and, according to Gibson, hastily assembled) script.

"So my best ideas I put in front of him, hoping that he took some of those, but he squandered them and alluded to them in his so-called screenplay, which I swear he must have written in three days," Gibson said. "It's really bad with heinous, bad, shonky, D-grade dialogue. And after 18 months of waiting, from when we started talking, that's what came in. And of course the studio also recognized it as not very good."

Eszterhas told TheWrap that he had no comment on Gibson's latest statements.

"I've said everything I have to say in my book, 'Heaven and Mel.' It's time to move on," Eszterhas said, referring to his tell-all e-book, released in early June.

Gibson went on to suggest that Eszterhas somehow intended to sabotage him by allegedly dragging his feet on the script.

" never intended to write a script," the actor asserted. "His whole intention was to set me up somehow."

Gibson and Eszterhas had a now-infamous falling out over "The Maccabees," about a rebel Jewish army. The war of words was first reported on TheWrap, starting with a letter from Eszterhas to the "Lethal Weapon" star in April.

In the letter, Eszterhas recalls how Gibson - who famously unleashed an anti-Semitic tirade during his arrest during a 2006 DUI arrest - referred to Jews as "oven-dodgers" and "Jewboys."

Eszterhas also provided a recording, made by his son Nick on his iPod, of Gibson ranting during a visit to his Costa Rica property in December 2011. On the recording, Gibson can be heard knocking over a totem pole in his billiard room, throwing a cell phone and ranting about his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Mel Gibson hints at 'Lethal' reboot

Mel Gibson has ruled out starring in another Lethal Weapon movie, and predicted the original films will be remade instead.

The Hollywood actor teamed up with Danny Glover for the groundbreaking 1987 'buddy cop' movie, and they went on to shoot three sequels which were all box office hits.

Gibson has scuppered fans' hopes for a fifth movie in the franchise by insisting he will not reprise his role as unhinged cop Martin Riggs, and he is adamant producers will simply reboot the series instead.

Asked by editors at movie news website if he would film another Lethal Weapon sequel, Gibson says, "No, I think the way things are going with Total Recall, they'll just remake those somehow. Though it's really tough to replace Danny. He was so amazing in those things. It was a good gig for us. It worked. But we knew it would."

Mel Gibson -- Braveheartbreaker

(Photo) Mel Gibson continued his impressive streak of being spotted out and about with beautiful women ... this time with a mystery lady outside a sushi joint in Beverly Hills.

Over the past few months, Mel has been seen chatting up a blonde at a Victoria's Secret party, dancing up a storm with Maria Menounos on her birthday, kissing a mystery woman in Santa Monica ... and just this week, dining with billionaire hotties Petra and Tamara Ecclestone.

"Every man dies, not every man really lives."

Mel Gibson Dines With Billionaire Chicks -- Petra and Tamara Ecclestone

(Photo) Mel Gibson isn't into Olympic gold, but he certainly enjoys hanging with chicks who are into gold.

Mel went to Boa in West Hollywood last night and dined with the 2.0 version of the Gabor sisters -- Petra and Tamara Ecclestone.

As you know, Petra -- the daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone -- recently bought Candy Spelling's pad for a cool $85 mil.

On his way in Mel confessed he wasn't watching the Olympics. It's interesting that he doesn't mind people watching HIM, because he was like a duck on a platter in the middle of the restaurant.

Mel is definitely back in circulation.

Mel Gibson sued by stepmother

Mel Gibson has been hit with a new lawsuit from his own stepmother.

The Braveheart star's father, Hutton, filed for divorce from wife Teddy Joye Hicks Gibson and kicked her out of their marital home in June, and now the 78 year old has accused the actor of causing the break-up.

According to documents filed in Los Angeles, Teddy is seeking up to $65,000 in damages to cover her legal bills and a court order forcing Mel to allow her entrance into the house, according to

This is the latest in a string of legal woes for the family - Teddy filed a restraining order against the actor earlier this month over claims he threatened her and spat in her face.

Mel Gibson's Step-Mom Files For Restraining Order -- Mel is TERRORIZING Me!

Mel Gibson THREATENED his own 78-year-old step-mom ... SPIT IN HER FACE ... and sabotaged her marriage ... this according to legal docs filed by the woman and obtained by TMZ.

Teddy Joye Hicks Gibson -- who married Mel's father Hutton Gibson in 2001 -- has filed for a restraining order against Mel ... claiming he exploded on her several times and now she fears for her safety.

In the docs, Joye claims Mel and his sister Maura hate her guts ... because she doesn't approve of the controversial medical treatments they've been pressuring Hutton to undergo to treat his various ailments.

In the docs, filed by attorney Brian J. Kramer, Joye describes several outbursts in detail:

October 2011 -- Mel screams at Joye because Joye does not approve of "experimental Ozone treatments" Hutton was undergoing for an undisclosed illness.

"Mel began yelling and saying, 'f*ck this and f*ck that' while leveling other extremely offensive language at me."

Joye claims Mel warned her "not to f*ck with [Hutton's] treatments in any way."

January 2012 -- While visiting Hutton in the hospital, Joye claims she said something that set Mel off ... and "Mel got up, looking wild and began yelling at me in a very loud and terrifying voice."

"Mel was so upset and screaming so fiercely that I could see his face turn red."

March 2012 -- Joye, along with Mel and his sister Maura, accompanied Hutton to Panama for stem cell treatment for his hip.

Mel was cooking food and offered some to Joye ... but she declined due to a stomach ache.

Joye claims, "Mel looked at me in disgust and said that I was insulting him by not eating. He then threatened that if I did not eat he would have me put outside."

May 2012 -- During a family meeting to discuss Hutton's health care, "Mel became incensed and began acting like a wild man."

Joye claims Mel began screaming right in her face ... noting, "He was so close that I could feel his spit hitting my face."

She claims Mel's eyes "looked as if they were bulging out of his head."

Joye claims she was paralyzed with fear and later vomited because of the incident.

In the docs, Joye claims Mel and his sister MUST have manipulated their ailing father into filing for divorce ... because Hutton is a devout Catholic and doesn't believe in divorce. Plus, she claims Hutton recently penned her a love note claiming, "Our mutual love is permanent."

Joye claims Mel is even trying to force her out of her home ... because it's owned by a charity that Mel controls. Joye says she has no place else to go.

Joye wants a judge to block Mel from booting her from the home ... and prevent him from interfering with her attempts to communicate with her husband.

She also wants Mel to stay 100 yards away from her at all times.

Moments ago, a California judge decided, rather than issuing a temporary restraining order, to set the matter for a full hearing ... which has been scheduled for next month.

No immediate comment from Mel's rep.

Mel Gibson -- Caught Giving Lip

(Photo) Mel Gibson's on a roll ... a week after getting up close and personal with Maria Menounos -- the actor surfaced by the beach in L.A., planting a big smooch on an unidentified woman.

The photo was snapped yesterday outside a beach house in Santa Monica.

Mel's been on a tear in the lady department recently -- sweeping Maria Menounos off her feet at her 34th birthday party last Sunday in Encino ... literally.

Mel was even spotted last month at a Victoria's Secret party in Beverly Hills -- chatting up a mystery blonde.

Who knows, maybe they're all just "Passion of the Christ" fans.

Mel Gibson, Maria Menounos party for her b-day

Mel Gibson and Maria Menounos kicked up their heels over the weekend at the “Dancing With the Stars” hoofer’s birthday bash.

The pair was photographed Saturday night partying till 4 a.m. at Menounos’ home in Encino, Calif., according to TMZ.

The site posted pictures of Gibson and Menounos bogeying, with Menounos wearing a bright yellow bikini top and tiny floral printed shorts. Gibson’s shuffling in a white, un-tucked shirt, Hawaiian lei, jeans and sports sandals.

The pair dances in the center of a crowd, and, in one photo, Menounos jumps on “The Passion of the Christ” director, straddling him. The report says Gibson was brought to the party by a another guest.

The bash, which had a “luau theme” also brought out Derek Hough, Donald Trump, Alex Pettyfer, Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Wayne Gretzky and Taylor Dayne, according to Us Weekly.

"It was luau theme and there were exotic animals on people's arms. Everyone got ‘lei'd’ when they walked in," a source told the magazine. "Maria came in on a surfboard with guys carrying her -- she was in a bathing suit."

The svelte “DWTS” star was also photographed with a grey parrot on her shoulder and an exotic drink in her hand.

Mel Gibson's Dad Hutton Gibson -- Allegations of Elder Abuse

Mel Gibson's father -- who filed for divorce Monday -- believes his wife has been abusing him, and Mel has jumped to his dad's aid ... TMZ has learned.

We're told Mel and his family have been tending to 93-year-old Hutton Gibson, who is seriously ill with a panoply of ailments. Hutton is taking a slew of medications for his conditions, but we're told his wife, Teddy Joye (who is in her 70's) believes her husband's family is prolonging his suffering and wants to discontinue all medicines to accelerate his death. She also believes that's what Hutton wants.

We're told Mel has taken the lead to ensure his dad is getting his meds, and believes Joye is guilty of elder abuse by her conduct. Sources say Mel wants Joye out of his dad's house -- stat.

As we first reported, Hutton personally filed for divorce and even signed the divorce docs in shaky handwriting.

We're also told Joye is going to fight it out with Mel -- possibly in court.

The animosity between Mel's family and Joye is intense.

Eszterhas pens a Gibson tell-all

Joe Eszterhas isn’t done with Mel Gibson just yet.

The screenwriter has written “Heaven and Mel,” an eBook recounting in colorful detail his relationship with the disgraced director that Amazon will be released on June 6, TheWrap has learned.

“I can’t remember ever reading a more haunting, nuanced portrait of a Hollywood superstar in decline,” Dave Blum, editor of Kindle Singles, told TheWrap exclusively. “This is an eyewitness account by a gifted storyteller of a man of faith at war with his demons. In the end, the demons win.”

Amazon contacted Eszterhas after he released to TheWrap a tape of Gibson ranting violently during a dinner at his home in Costa Rica.

“On a human level it’s a great story, and it can’t be told in a nine-page letter,” Eszterhas told TheWrap. “Much of it is amusing, some of it is very serious and has to do with anti-Semitism and questions of values. But mostly it’s just very human. I view it as a terrific tale.”

A spokesman for Mel Gibson could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Heaven and Mel” is part of Amazon’s “Kindle Single” program, which allows for publication of short books on an accelerated schedule. It will cost $2.99.

The book, obtained by TheWrap, provides context and detail around the conflict between Gibson and the screenwriter, who was to do a screenplay about Jewish freedom fighters in the 2nd century, the Maccabees.

After his screenplay was rejected by Gibson and Warner Bros., Eszterhas accused the director of making anti-Semitic statements and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Among the new details in the book are Gibson’s emails to Eszterhas during the research and writing process.

In the book, Eszterhas describes Gibson’s world from the inside as an invited guest and collaborator who slowly comes to distrust the person who hired him.

While Eszterhas wanted to write a story of Jewish heroism, he realized over time that Gibson was seeking a story that “prefigured” the coming of Jesus Christ.

Eszterhas wonders in his book: “Was his intent to make Judah Maccabee, the Jewish Braveheart, into a John the Baptist-like messenger for Jesus?”

Throughout, Eszterhas offers choice observations about Hollywood and why he left Malibu to raise his second family, wife Naomi and four young sons, in Ohio. He writes:

“The house where Mel lives now was the actor David Duchovny’s house when Mel bought it, as the Serra Retreat house had been rocker Rick Springfield’s, as our house in the Malibu Colony had been Woody Harrelson’s. It’s sort of a half-assed Hollywood tradition: You buy a house that has a little bit of stardust already on it when you buy it.”

Mel Gibson -- Sexy Night Out with Victoria's Secret Models

(Photo) Now that he doesn't have a Maccabees project to work on ... Mel Gibson spent his Thursday night hangin' with a blonde babe at the Victoria's Secret "What Is Sexy?" party in Bev Hills.

It appears the 56-year-old is trying to control his temper by hanging out with model citizens.

Mel Gibson to Jay Leno 'I've Got a Little Bit of a Temper'

Mel Gibson spoke out last night for the first time about his epic, profanity-laden, secretly-recorded rant against writer Joe Eszterhas ... and he actually had a bit of a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Gibson explained to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" ... that Eszterhas turned in a script for "The Maccabees" to Warner Bros. that was rejected and so Gibson felt his actions were "justified."

As for the 9-page letter Eszterhas wrote to Gibson, Mel joked, "If he put half as much time and effort and creativity and imagination into a screenplay, which he was supposed to write, as he did into that letter ... we wouldn't be having this conversation."

Finally, talking about the infamous tape, Mel joked, "Maybe you don't know this about me, but I've got a little bit of a temper."

Yes, Mel ... we know.

Gibson's new movie to skip theatres

Mel Gibson’s new film is to hit the pay-per-view TV market after just one night in movie theatres.

The actor/director's self-financed film Get the Gringo opened in select cinemas on Wednesday night – to coincide with the movie's premiere in Austin, Texas – but fans shouldn't look for it this weekend.

The film will skip a theatrical run and become available on satellite service Directv on May 1.

Announcing the plan at the premiere Gibson said, "We're just in a different era. Many people just like to see things in their homes. It's just another way to do it and a better way to do it. I think it's the future."

Gibson needs a movie hit – his last films The Edge of Darkness and The Beaver were flops and his last bona-fide hit as an actor was a decade ago.

The star is also currently mired in a feud with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas over the script for Gibson's planned Judah Maccabee biopic and the Aussie actor/director's alleged bad behaviour on a joint family holiday in Costa Rica.

Audio of a man Eszterhas claims is a raging Gibson, yelling and swearing at his house guests, has been released online.

Mel Gibson May Sue Joe Eszterhas For Releasing Audio of Epic Rant

Mel Gibson is seriously considering suing Joe Eszterhas for secretly recording him at his home in Costa Rica last December, and then releasing the audio rant.

Sources connected with Mel tell TMZ ... the actor believes he has a "basic human right" NOT to be secretly recorded in his own home.

We're told Mel's people are looking at the laws of Costa Rica to determine if recording laws were violated and, even if they weren't, if Mel's right of privacy was violated by the release of the audio.

Mel explodes in the recording about Eszterhas' lack of progress with "The Maccabees" script -- "What the f**k have you been doing!!" He also unloads on Oksana Grigorieva, calling her a ""F**king c**t, c**ksucking whore."

We're told Mel believes anyone recorded "at their worst moment" would sound awful, and it's unfair to trap people in their refuge.

One Mel source notes with skepticism that Eszterhas has made other allegations against Mel ... that the actor also ranted against the Jews and expressed pleasure that John Lennon was shot and killed ... but none of that is on the tape.

Did Mel Gibson Have Trouble Working With Get the Gringo's Jewish Director?

Mel Gibson sat down for a panel discussion about his latest film, Get the Gringo, and ran smack into some nerves of steel.

Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles asked the controversial actor whether he had any trouble getting along with his Jewish director, Adrian Grunberg—a dicey question regardless and especially dicey considering the recorded Gibson rant released just today.

So, did he?

"Noooo," Gibson said comically, stretching the o sound. (He made the same low, guttural sound when asked if he learned Spanish for the film, too.)

"I hate his guts," joked Grunberg, who cowrote the film with Gibson. "No, I've known him six or seven years!"

"I'm Jewish, too!" chimed in producer Stacy Perskie, to whom Gibson quipped, "Really? You don't look Jewish."

Awkward pause, then Knowles explained he felt he had to ask because Gibson has come under "a certain amount of fire."

That's certainly one way to put it.

The Q&A continued, and Gibson talked about how much he digs Mexico, where Get the Gringo was shot; how much he loves Austin, where the panel took place; and how he'd like to play a villain one day.

Asked whether there was a chance of another Lethal Weapon movie, he said, "Maybe. I don't know who's going to make it or be in it or anything. I'd like to see one with someone else."

Of the Viking movie he just cowrote with Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace, Gibson said, "It's phenomenal. I can't wait to get my claws on it."

Get the Gringo premieres May 1 on DirecTV.

Mel Gibson Rant Recording: Calls Oksana "Filthy" and Rages About The Maccabees

Mel Gibson appears to continuously be putting his worst face forward whenever he's around Joe Eszterhas.

The Basic Instinct screenwriter, who recently alleged in a nine-page letter that Gibson made a number of anti-Semitic comments while the two consulted on Gibson's now-in-limbo film, The Maccabees, has released a recording to The Wrap of another Gibson rant, this one allegedly occurring while he and Eszterhas' family were in Costa Rica together in December.

According to Eszterhas—who was originally tasked with writing the first draft of The Maccabees—the screenwriter's 15-year-old son, Nick, recorded the Oscar winner with his iPhone and was "adamant" that his dad release it to the media.

So, what does this iRant entail?

"Why don't I have a first draft of The Maccabees? What the f--k have you been doing?" Gibson can be heard yelling.

A rep for the actor-filmmaker tells E! News that there will be no comment forthcoming on Eszterhas' recording, and that Gibson has "nothing more" to say on the matter than his "previously written letter."

Gibson's note to Eszterhas denied the claims that he made the offensive remarks he was accused of making, calling them "utter fabrications." Gibson also said that there was no ulterior motive behind the delay in making The Maccabees, but rather he and the studio simply weren't happy with Eszterhas' script, the actor maintained.

The writer had also claimed that Gibson ranted about his ex, Oksansa Grigorieva, while they worked together. And on the newly released recording, Gibson can be heard yelling, "I am earning money for a filthy little c--ksucker who takes advantage of me!"

Eszterhas told TheWrap that Gibson stormed around the house, where, in addition to Eszterhas, his wife Naomi and their son Nick, screenwriter Randall Wallace, his girlfriend and another friend of Gibson's were also staying there.

"The bottom line is it shows to me he badly needs help," Eszterhas says. "My interest isn't to damage him with this tape but to prevent damage being done to others, starting with Jews, including Oksana and now, I'm sure, me. I strongly believe that unless he seeks and receives some kind of psychiatric help, someone is going to get hurt."

As for The Maccabees, Warner Bros. previously told E! News that they are still "analyzing what to do with the project."

Mickey Rourke Joe Eszterhas Is Just Bitter Mel Gibson Didn't Like His Script

Mickey Rourke continues to be Team Gibson all the way in the Joe Eszterhas/Mel Gibson feud -- telling our photog that Joe is just upset that Mel didn't want to make a movie with him.

Rourke -- who would only talk to us for a second straight day if our camera guy bought him ice cream -- said that Eszterhas is just bringing up "old s**t" because he has a personal beef with Mel.

Rourke supports Mel even though he knows it's not the popular thing, telling us, "I know my agent is going to yell at me tomorrow for sticking up for Mel, but ... somebody has to."

Future of Judah Maccabee film uncertain

The future of a film about ancient Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee may be close to flickering out.

Warner Bros. spokesman Paul McGuire said Friday that the studio is "analyzing what to do with the project."

The film about the biblical hero was to be a collaboration between producer Mel Gibson and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. After the studio recently rejected Eszterhas' script, the screenwriter accused Gibson of anti-Semitism in a letter published online. Gibson responded with his own letter denying the allegations.

In 2006, Gibson was arrested for drunken driving. A leaked arrest report revealed he used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

The Eszterhas allegations and Gibson's history prompted Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to issue a statement Thursday calling for Warner Bros. and all other studios "to permanently shelve the Maccabee project as long as Mel Gibson is associated with the film."

The Maccabees' unlikely victory over those who would repress Jewish religious freedoms is celebrated on Chanukah, the Jewish festival of light.

Mickey Rourke I Believe In Mel Gibson ... He's an Easy Target

Mel Gibson has at least one supporter in Hollywood ... his friend Mickey Rourke ... who tells TMZ, he thinks Joe Eszterhas is a LIAR ... who's out to smear Mel's reputation.

Mickey was leaving Caffe Primo in West Hollywood when we asked about Joe's allegations that Mel is a violent Jew-hater who hates John Lennon.

Mickey's response -- "Everybody is looking to make Mel look bad ... he's an easy f**king target."

He explained, "We live in a town that's built on envy."

It's not the first time Mickey's come to Mel's defense -- back in 2010, following Oksana Grigorieva's domestic violence allegations, Mickey said, "I wouldn't believe everything you hear ... I think he's a good dude, you know. And ah, screw the bitch!"

Mel Gibson Calls BS I LOVE The Beatles!!!

Mel Gibson is telling friends ... he NEVER said John Lennon deserved to die -- in fact, he's a huge Beatles fan and he plays their music all the time.

Sources tell TMZ, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas' allegations the actor celebrated John Lennon's death are just false. As one source put it, "It's not uncommon to hear The Beatles at Gibson's house."

The source adds, Gibson was even playing "Imagine" at a recent function -- the same song Eszterhas says Mel bashed recently, claiming, "Imagine. I hate that f**king song. I'm glad [Lennon's] dead."

Mel is claiming ... he isn't surprised by Eszterhas' false claims in his 9-page diatribe -- because the entire letter reads like a "bad script."

We're told Mel is also convinced ... another major rift between him and Eszterhas had nothing to do with him -- or "The Maccabees" -- it had to do with Mel's other viking-themed film project, which Mel's been developing for years.

We're told Eszterhas was frustrated with Mel ... because Mel had been putting more time into the viking movie than he did into "Maccabees."

Mel Gibson He Thinks 'The Maccabees' Is Still Alive .... He's Wrong

Sources tell TMZ ... Mel Gibson believes "The Maccabees" project with Warner Bros. -- the project that triggered nuclear war between Mel and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas -- is still alive, but in fact it might as well be buried in a rose garden.

A source connected to Mel tells us, "The project is going forward without Eszterhas. He [Mel] still has a relationship with Warner Bros."

As you know by now, Eszterhas has written a blistering, 9-page letter accusing Mel of making unspeakable anti-Semitic remarks and even celebrating John Lennon's death.

As for Mel's claim the movie project is still alive, a source intimately connected with it tells TMZ,"There are no plans on making it into a movie."

Our source, who has first-hand knowledge, tells us Warner Bros. was tentative in the first place about doing the project, but was banking on the script "being a heroic story, like Braveheart." The source says, "When the script was submitted, no one liked it ... including Mel."

We're told even if the script was good, the project would still have had to clear a number of hurdles, but given what was submitted, it's effectively D.O.A.

One last thing ... Mel could shop the project elsewhere when Warner Bros. officially pulls the plug.

Mel Gibson Joe Eszterhas is a Liar ... and His Script SUCKED

Mel Gibson is lashing back at his "Maccabees" collaborator Joe Eszterhas -- claiming Joe's accusations of anti-Semitism are pure BS ... and saying the real issue is Joe's script was TERRIBLE.

Mel just penned a letter of his own in response to Joe's ... in which he states, "I will say that the great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in your letter are utter fabrications."

Mel acknowledges he recently lost his cool with Joe during a conversation about the movie ... saying, " I did react more strongly than I should have." But he also explains "I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive. Let me now clearly apologize to you and your family in the simplest of terms."

Mel then explains his frustrations with Joe ... writing, "Not only was the script delivered later than you promised, both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time."

In his letter, Mel never specifically addresses Joe's claim that he "hates Jews" or made anti-Semitic statements.

As for Joe's claim that he wanted to get back in the good graces of the Jews, Mel says, "Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 years ago."

Mel's parting words -- "I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication."



I have your letter. I am not going to respond to it line by line, but I will say that the great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in your letter are utter fabrications. I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script.

I will acknowledge like most creative people I am passionate and intense. I was very frustrated that when you arrived at my home at the expense of both Warner Brothers and myself you hadn’t written a single word of a script or even an outline after 15 months of research, meetings, discussions and the outpouring of my heartfelt vision for this story. I did react more strongly than I should have. I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive. Let me now clearly apologize to you and your family in the simplest of terms.

Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 years ago. I absolutely want to make this movie; it’s just that neither Warner Brothers nor I want to make this movie based on your script.

Honestly, Joe, not only was the script delivered later than you promised, both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor.

I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication.


Warner Bros. shelves Mel Gibson Maccabee movie

Warner Bros. has put on hold a controversial Mel Gibson movie project about the Jewish Maccabee revolt in the 2nd Century B.C. after reading the script by writer Joe Eszterhas, TheWrap has learned.

A spokesman for the studio told TheWrap, "We are analyzing what to do with the project."

Jewish groups were outraged after news broke in September that Gibson had reached a production deal with Warner Bros. to direct the story of Judah Maccabee, whose victory over Greek and Syrian armies is celebrated at Hanukkah. One Jewish group called it "a moral lapse in judgment."

Eszterhas delivered the script in late February, and Warner Bros. has since passed on it, according to an individual close to the project. Warner production president Greg Silverman described it as lacking in "feeling" and "a sense of triumph," according to the individual.

As another individual put it, "The script didn't pass muster."

A spokesman for Gibson had no immediate comment. Eszterhas declined to comment.

Warner's has a long history of collaborating with Gibson, but the star was upset after the studio rescinded his cameo in "The Hangover Part II" when the crew protested his involvement.

The project involved one of Gibson's favored themes -- an underdog army fighting for freedom. In 165 B.C., Jewish leader Maccabee led his brothers in revolt against the Seleucid Empire, ruled by Antiochus Epiphanes who had forbidden Jewish practices.

Noting his checkered history of making anti-Semitic remarks and his controversial depiction of Jews in his 2003 film "The Passion of the Christ," Jewish leaders said the choice of Gibson to direct a film about a prominent figure in their religion was insensitive.

"Casting him as a director or perhaps as the star of 'Judah Maccabee' is like casting Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission," Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement after the project was announced.

The Anti-Defamation League asked Warner's to reconsider the choice of Gibson. In a statement, the group said, "Not only has Mel Gibson shown outward antagonism toward Jews and Judaism in his public statements and actions, but his previous attempt to bring biblical history to life on the screen was marred by anti-Semitism."

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants labeled the choice of Gibson a "moral lapse of judgment."

"Given our brutal experience, we are pained that Warner's has abandoned principle and taken this unworthy path," the group said.

Gibson was detained by police in Malibu for drunken driving in 2006 and found himself embroiled in a public relations fiasco when reports surfaced that he had launched into expletive-laden anti-Semitic remarks while in custody.

It was left to Eszterhas to offer a modest defense of Gibson in a New York Times interview in February. The screenwriter noted that he had an anger problem but said he understood how to make a movie of the story of Maccabee on a "Braveheart"-like scale.

"We both saw it as Mel, maybe from his heart, wanting to do a terrific 'Braveheart'-like movie about Jewish history," said Eszterhas, who said he was comfortable working with Gibson despite his problems.

Mel Gibson selling his sprawling Costa Rica retreat

Actor-director Mel Gibson is putting his sprawling hilltop compound in Costa Rica up for sale, with a $29.75 million asking price.

The Oscar-winning "Braveheart" director, who has suffered a series of public embarrassments in recent years after a decades-long reign as a top box office star, is selling the 500-acre compound to downsize his real estate portfolio following his divorce.

Christie's International Real Estate, the luxury real estate firm, was set to announce the offering on Friday.

Gibson's Pacific coast compound, on Playa Barrigona on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula just south of the Nicaragua border, boasts three hilltop homes, the largest of which has seven bedrooms, with soaring ocean and jungle views.

Each villa on the former cattle ranch is outfitted with native Costa Rican woods and Italian and Spanish tiles and features multiple verandahs and a private pool.

"The property is expansive, meticulously maintained, and ultimately private," said Rick Moeser, Christie's real estate senior vice president for the Southeast, Caribbean, Central and South America.

"With its multiple homes and outbuildings, this is the ideal family retreat," Moeser added of the pristine property that includes an expansive beach.

Gibson, 56, has seven children from his long marriage which ended in divorce in 2009 after his drunk driving arrest in Malibu. He also has one child with Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he had an acrimonious breakup.

The star and his large extended family had used the estate frequently before the troubles in his personal life. He reportedly retreated to the holiday home during his legal troubles with Grigorieva. Gibson was also photographed with her there in 2009, shortly before his wife filed for divorce.

Over the years the actor has owned lavish properties in Malibu, Australia, Montana, Connecticut, and even a private island in Fiji.

Since his legal troubles and a well-publicized anti-Semitic remarks made during his drunk driving arrest, Gibson's acting roles have diminished. He had a starring role in the Jodie Foster film "The Beaver" last year, and his next project is "Get the Gringo," which he also co-wrote and is due out later this year.

Mel Gibson No More Anger Issues

Mel Gibson has done all he needs to do to prove he has conquered his anger issues ... TMZ has learned.

Mel's lawyer, Blair Berk, appeared before Judge Stephanie Sautner this AM and showed her honor proof that Mel not only completed the required number of hours of court-ordered anger management therapy -- he exceeded it.

As a result, all Mel has to do now to get off of probation -- for pleading no contest to battery against Oksana Grigorieva -- is keep his nose clean for 2 more years, and then he's officially off informal probation.

Booze-free formula

Over-the-top Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone and husband James Stunt continue to hang with their unexpected new best pal, Mel Gibson. They hit Greystone Manor supper club in LA on Saturday night, spies said, where Idris Elba (a k a Stringer Bell of “The Wire”) was spinning. We’ve reported that the trio, who don’t seem to drink, nonetheless spent a quarter of a million dollars on Champagne at Beacher’s Madhouse in October. This time, we’re told they kept it relatively modest.

Mel Gibson Invited to Whitney's Funeral ... He Tried to Save Her

Mel Gibson was invited to Whitney Houston's funeral ... and the family extended the invite because Mel tried to help the singer during a very dark period in her life ... TMZ has learned.

Sources tell us ... several years ago, when Whitney was about as bad off with drugs and alcohol as she ever was, Mel quietly intervened and spent a lot of time with her, trying to help her break the addiction cycle.

We're told Whitney's family is "extremely appreciative" and wanted Mel at tomorrow's funeral, but because of family plans he can't attend.

Charlize Theron's Mad Max Reboot: Will Mel Gibson Make Cameo?


Cameras are finally gearing up to start shooting on director George Miller's upcoming Mad Max movie starring Charlize Theron.

And although Tom Hardy will be replacing the franchise's original star Mel Gibson as the title character, we've been wondering: will Mel be making a superstar cameo in the highly anticipated action flick?

Well, we got an answer...

"Nope," Gibson recently told us at the Angels at Rick charity benefit in L.A. "I've got nothing to do with it. George, he's filming in Namibia or something."

But that doesn't mean he wouldn't want to. "It would be fun to fly to Namibia and be a snake in the background or something," he laughed.

Gibson says he's really excited for the franchise's fourth installment, even if he isn't a part of the upcoming flick. "I think it's going to be great," he said. "George is a genius."

Meanwhile, Gibson was just one of the celebs, including Ted Danson, Ray Liotta and Taylor Armstrong, who came out to support Angels at Risk, a charity that works with the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse among youths.

"It's a good cause and substance abuse is an epidemic in this country at the moment," he said. "I mean it is the devil really. Substance abuse is the devil. And I've been through my own little trials so I feel empathy with it."

X Factor finalist Chris Rene, who has overcome drug addiction himself, says he now has "incredible experiences" with fans who are seeking help with addiction and recovery since his stint on the show.

"Because I've done it, they see the inspiration," he told us. "They're like, 'We're going to do the same thing you're doing.' Mothers come up to me and tell me their kids are in rehab, that they want to change and they're actually doing something. It happens on a daily basis."

Mel Gibson likely won't testify at deputy's trial

A civil jury will likely not hear directly from Mel Gibson about the night of his drunken driving arrest because his testimony doesn't appear relevant to a deputy's claim that he was discriminated against because of the traffic stop, a judge said Tuesday.

In a series of tentative rulings, Superior Court Judge Barbara Scheper said she will likely block attorneys for Deputy James Mee from showing the jury a video of Gibson being booked into jail and a 30-second TV ad he made supporting the Sheriff's Department three years before his arrest.

Mee, who is Jewish, claims he suffered religious discrimination by superiors after arresting Gibson in 2006, and that he was ordered to remove the actor-director's anti-Semitic rants from a report.

He claims he was passed over for promotions and suffered other reprisals because of the case and that he was personally offended by Gibson's remarks.

Gibson's work as a spokesman for the department helps explain "the circumstances that serve as a backdrop to the harassment and hostile work environment that Deputy Mee suffered," his attorneys wrote in a court filing.

Gibson "wasn't just another arrestee. He was the 'public face' of the department," the documents state.

Scheper also says she won't allow Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to testify during the case unless there is some evidence he ordered actions against Mee.

Attorneys for Mee had listed Gibson and Baca as potential witnesses last week, but Scheper said neither man's testimony appeared to be relevant.

Scheper said she will make final rulings in the case on Feb. 14, with jury selection expected later next week. Unless she alters course, jurors will hear little about the events during and immediately after Gibson's arrest.

"In my view, it's what happened after this gentleman was arrested" that is crucial to the case, Scheper said.

The judge said prospective jurors will undoubtedly have heard of Gibson's arrest, but the way Mee has presented his case renders Gibson and Baca's testimony unnecessary.

Gibson's reputation was damaged for years after details of the arrest and his anti-Semitic and sexist rant was leaked to celebrity website TMZ.

The actor apologized for his conduct, and his conviction was expunged in 2009 after he completed all the terms of his sentence.

Scheper has said she expects Mee will have difficulty proving his case, but that jurors should ultimately decide whether he was passed over for promotions and targeted for reprisals because he is Jewish.

Mee remains a deputy, although he no longer patrols for drunken drivers in the coastal community of Malibu where Gibson was arrested.

Mel Gibson may be witness in discrimination trial

Attorneys for a deputy who arrested Mel Gibson on suspicion of drunken driving want to call the Oscar-winner as a witness during an upcoming trial to determine if the officer suffered discrimination because of the case.

The trial will focus on what happened to Deputy James Mee after he arrested the actor-director in 2006, and whether he endured discrimination because he is Jewish.

Mee's attorneys are hoping to show the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department moved to protect Gibson because the star had a close relationship with the department before his arrest.

Attorneys for the county have denied Mee faced discrimination or retaliation.

The case is likely to focus heavily on Gibson's arrest, when the actor made anti-Semitic comments that Mee claims his superiors forced him to remove from a report.

Mee also alleges he was ostracized and his opportunities for promotion were blocked after he arrested Gibson.

Gibson's reputation was damaged for years after details of the arrest and his anti-Semitic and sexist rant was leaked to celebrity website TMZ.

The actor apologized for his conduct, and his conviction was expunged in 2009 after he completed all the terms of his sentence.

Sheriff Lee Baca also could be called to testify, according to a witness list filed Thursday.

Attorneys for the county are asking a judge to block jurors from seeing a video of Gibson in a jail booking area and a public service announcement that Gibson recorded for the agency prior to his arrest.

Gibson appeared in a deputy's uniform for the spot, and Mee's attorneys claim it is important context for jurors to consider.

Gibson's work as a spokesman for the department helps explain "the circumstances that serve as a backdrop to the harassment and hostile work environment that Deputy Mee suffered," his attorneys wrote in a court filing. Gibson "wasn't just another arrestee. He was the 'public face' of the department."

Neither Gibson nor Baca have been deposed in advance of the trial, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 14. If they are called as witnesses, Baca's testimony is expected to last about an hour, while Gibson may spend about 90 minutes on the witness stand.

"He'll do whatever is legally appropriate," Baca's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "We look forward to telling the whole story."

Gibson's spokesman Alan Nierob declined comment.

In all, 28 possible witnesses are listed in a pretrial filing, but it's unlikely all will testify.

Mee's attorney Etan Lorant said he has been unable to serve Gibson with a subpoena but may not need to call the actor to the stand if he is able to show jurors footage from an interview with Diane Sawyer after the arrest.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Scheper ruled last month that the case should go to trial if it cannot be settled, but noted that Mee's attorneys might have trouble proving their case.

"While I think it's thin, I think there are enough facts to create a question for the jury to decide," Scheper said during a January hearing.

She noted that Mee remains a deputy, although he no longer patrols for drunken drivers in the coastal community of Malibu.

Mel Gibson Tires of Eco-Lawsuit Settles Up

Things are rubber ducky for Mel Gibson ... we've learned he just settled a bitter lawsuit over recyclable tires.

Gibson was sued by a dude who claims -- at the behest of Mel -- he invested his life savings in a company called Green Rubber, which developed technology to devulcanize rubber so old tires could be recycled.

Nader Sherif claimed Mel promised the guy could sell his stock back to the company at any time and get his money back, and he further claimed Mel promised to personally write him a check if the Green Rubber refused. Yes, you guessed it. Sherif wanted his jack back, the company refused and Mel told him to pound sand.

Sources tell TMZ ... Mel paid Sherif something, but we don't know exactly how much.

2012 is starting out to be a very Goodyear for Mel.

Mel Gibson's "Get the Gringo" to debut on DirecTV

Mel Gibson's next movie, "Get the Gringo," will debut on DirecTV, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, DirecTV and Gibson's Icon Productions said Tuesday.

The R-rated movie will be available exclusively on DirecTV before being released on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download.

DirecTV plans to aggresively promote the movie, which premieres in HD on May 1. It will cost $10.99.

After an initial period in which the movie is available exclusively on DirecTV, Fox Home Entertainment will release it.

Adrian Grunberg, who was first assistant director on Gibson's "Apocalypto," directed the movie, which he and Gibson wrote.

An individual familiar with the project told TheWrap that Grunberg and Gibson got along so well on "Apocalypto" that Gibson told the director, who lives in Mexico, that he wanted to work with him again.

Grunberg came up with an idea about a guy who ends up in prison and he and Gibson turned it into a screenplay, the individual said.

The movie, formerly titled "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," is about a career criminal who crashes his car into the border wall while trying to escape the U.S. Border Patrol. He survives the crash, but ends up in a tough Mexican prison where a 10-year-old boy shows him the ropes.

Gibson, Bruce Davey and Stacy Perskie produced the movie.

Although "Get the Gringo" is being released on home video in the United States, it is getting a theatrical release in countries that do not have well-established VOD markets. In Russia, for example, the movie will premiere in movie theaters.

This is Icon's first movie to premiere on home video.

Icon also produced "Apocalypto," "The Passion of the Christ" and "Edge of Darkness."

Gibson clashes with photographer

Mel Gibson confronted a photographer on Tuesday night after his friend fell to the floor trying to prevent the snapper from taking shots of the star.

The Mad Max actor was pursued by a paparazzo in Malibu, California and his pal attempted to deter the cameraman - but ended up falling to the ground when they collided.

In video footage of the incident, taken by, Gibson shouted at the snapper, "Hey, stop running around, dude. I saw you attack him. We are getting the police because you assaulted him."

Addressing his friend, the actor added, "Hey, call the cops and report that this guy assaulted you, I saw him do it."

Gibson's pal then claimed, "You ran into me!", but the photographer insisted: "I didn't attack him, he attacked me."

A member of Gibson's party is reported to have called police but no report of a crime had been filed as WENN went to press.

Mel Gibson Back in Criminal Court As a Juror!!!

Mel Gibson has returned to criminal court today ... but this time he'll be the one passing judgment ... as a prospective juror!!!

A TMZ producer ran into Mel outside the jury assembly room. He's in the hallway reading a script, occasionally jumping on the cell phone talking business.

Mel was also chatting up some of the women in the hallway and even took some photos with them.

Mel is wearing a baseball cap, a dark sport coat, button-up shirt and jeans.

Mel is not being treated differently ... he's doing what all prospective jurors do -- wait.

Mel Gibson DUI Jail Video Triggers Legal Dogfight

A videotape of a raging and drunk Mel Gibson in a jail cell immediately after he was arrested in 2006 for DUI has become a huge bone of contention in a lawsuit filed by the arresting deputy.

L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy James Mee is suing his department, claiming he's the victim of religious discrimination. Mee, who is Jewish, claims he has been targeted by his superiors because of his faith.

Mee wants the jury to see a videotape of Mel Gibson in the holding cell. When TMZ broke the story about Mel's anti-Semitic rant, we referenced the video, which shows an out-of-control Mel handcuffed behind bars, complaining he had to urinate and then -- according to sources -- appearing to make an attempt to pee on the cell floor.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... the video shows Mel running around the cell and at one point even trying to scale the bars like a monkey. And when he attempted to use the phone, but couldn't get a dial tone, we're told he threw the receiver against the phone.

The County of L.A. -- the defendant -- has filed legal docs trying to block the admission of the video, arguing that it's irrelevant to Mee's religious discrimination claim and would only be used to "embarrass Mr. Gibson."

The County also believes the video would inflame the jury, because Mel is "a controversial public figure." And the County claims ... showing the video would violate Mel's right of privacy.

The judge hasn't decided whether the video is fair game.

Mel's rep declined comment.

Ricky Gervais' Best and Worst Golden Globe Jabs

Jodie Foster's Beaver. Or beaver -- "I mustn't mention Mel Gibson this year. Not his private life, his politics, his recent films and especially not Jodie Foster's Beaver. I haven't seen it myself. ... But that doesn't mean it's not good."

Kim Kardashian Joins Clooney, Gibson, Roberts at Sean Penn Haiti Benefit

Kim Kardashian is continuing to speak out in support of Haiti.

And last night, she did just that beside mega-celebs like Sean Penn, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Leonardo DiCaprio...

The E! reality star was a surprise guest last night at the Cinema For Peace benefit for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills.

"I went to [Haiti] to educate myself and see what it was like," Kardashian told me, referring to her recent humanitarian trip to the country. "Going and seeing that there's so much that needs to be done, I didn't even know where to start."

But start she did and she promises to continue. "I can't wait to go back," Kardashian said.

I'm told Kardashian was at the event as a guest of philanthropist and movie producer Mohammed Al Turki.

Penn was honored with the Cinema for Peace Award for Humanitarian Action in Haiti.

Also attending were Demi Moore and daughter Rumer Willis, Mel Gibson, Josh Brolin, Diane Lane, Hilary Swank, James Gandolfini, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, model (and Penn's ex-girlfriend) Petra Nemcova, fashion designer Donna Karan, CAA honchos Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane and producer brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

The highlight of the night was a live auction that saw singer Damien Rice winning a guitar used by Bono for a whopping $475,000. Julia Roberts' husband Danny Moder was one of two people who paid $50,000 for a trip to Haiti to work alongside Penn.

A $100,000 ring designed and owned by Angelina Jolie went for $60,000 to businessman and major J/P HRO supporter Richard Holz.

The evening raised $5 million for the group's ongoing relief efforts. Half of the funds came from a matching pledge made by Oprah Winfrey in a pre-taped video.

"There's something about Haiti that gets into your veins and you want to keep going back," said Soliel Moon Frey, who has made two trips there with J/P HRO. "And when you see the incredible progress and the work that Sean and J/P HRO is doing, you're in awe."

Roberts presented an award to Sen. Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.

Mel Gibson's Ex Wife Takes Half His Estimated $850 Million in Divorce Settlement

Mel Gibson is now legally single after his divorce was finalized Friday in a Los Angeles courtroom, but bachelorhood came at a heavy price.

Robyn, his ex-wife of nearly 30 years and the mother of their seven children, is walking away with half his fortune, once estimated to be as high as $850 million (according to the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006) in what is considered the biggest divorce payout in Hollywood history.

Because the couple didn't have a prenuptial agreement, Robyn, 55, was legally entitled to half of everything he earned during their marriage.

Among Gibson's estimated assets: more than $600 million grossed by The Passion of the Christ alone; $100-plus million in real estate investments worldwide (he bought an island in Fiji for $15 million in 2005); and $75 million for film and TV projects for which Gibson, 55, executive produced.

It appears some of his wealth has already been transferred to Robyn, in particular two Malibu homes worth a combined $22.5 million. As for film residuals, Robyn is entitled to half of every future check Gibson receives for the rest of his life.

"I left my wife because we had no spiritual common ground," Gibson told his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in secretly recorded tapes she made of the actor in February 2010.

During his custody battle with Grigorieva, in which the Russian musician accused Gibson of domestic violence, Robyn filed a sworn statement in July 2010 stating that "Mel was a wonderful and loving father" and never abused Robyn or their kids.

Gibson met Robyn, at the time a dental nurse, in the late 1970s after the American-born actor, who moved to Australia when he was 12, had filmed his breakout role in Mad Max.

Mel Gibson Divorce Final -- Single by Sundown

Mel Gibson will officially be back on the market by the end of the day ... because a judge is about to sign his divorce decree.

The couple and their lawyers have been negotiating a financial settlement for more than a year, and we're told the deal has finally been struck.

Now, the paperwork has been submitted, the judge will sign off and Mel will be a single guy by the end of the day.

There was no prenup -- remember, they were married for 28 years before officially separating. Although there are reports the Gibsons' net worth approached $900 million, but we're told it's less.

The couple separated back in 2006 -- shortly after his infamous Malibu DUI arrest -- and Robyn filed for divorce in 2009 -- shortly after learning Mel's then GF Oksana Grigorieva was pregnant.

The divorce has been surprisingly civilized, with Robyn even writing a letter of support for Mel last year ... in his legal war with Oksana Grigorieva. Robyn wrote in all the years she was with Mel, he never struck anyone in their family.

Mel Gibson Gets Glowing Review from Judge in Battery Case

If Mel Gibson got a grade for his probation, he'd score an A+.

Mel was in Judge Stephanie Sautner's court today for a progress report in his battery case -- remember Oksana Grigorieva?

Judge Sautner said she was more than impressed that Mel has completed twice the counseling requiring of him, and he was right on track on his 12-step program.

Mel pled no contest in March to misdemeanor battery. He's currently on informal probation.

Mel Gibson -- My Head Is Spinning Over My Baby

(Video) It's official. Mel Gibson is a rat ... a mall rat ... who dotes over his daughter Lucia on a carousel in the middle of shopping madness. We got this video of Mel and Lucia at the Westfield Mall in Canoga Park, CA, yesterday, where Mel seemed to blend right into the crowd. Pretty amazing how things can change in a few months.

Mel Gibson -- Out for Azita Ghanizada's Birthday

Mel Gibson continued his platonic relationship with actress Azita Ghanizada, showing up at her birthday party in Los Angeles this week.

As TMZ first reported, the two had dinner together a few weeks back ... but her people say it was just a business affair. Mel's rep wouldn't confirm or deny whether it was strictly business.

Mel Gibson's Alleged Baby Mama Laura Bellizzi -- He's Not the Daddy, Case Closed

The woman who was labelled by various gossip mags as Mel Gibson's baby mama tells TMZ ... it just ain't true ... blasting the "reports" as "lies and speculation."

Laura Bellizzi tells TMZ squarely, "Mel Gibson is not the father of my child."

Bellizzi -- who's a mother and a business woman -- adds through her rep ... any "alleged friends" telling gossip outlets that she's been privately identifying Gibson as her baby daddy are "being 100% dishonest in a misguided effort to seek 5 seconds of notoriety and fame."

Bellizzi's rep continues, Laura is "greatly dismayed at the rash of intrusive and irresponsible stories about her pregnancy."


Ms. Bellizzi and her family are greatly dismayed at the rash of intrusive and irresponsible stories about her pregnancy. Ms. Bellizzi considers the details of her pregnancy to be private, and does not intend to respond to the lies and speculation fueling the reckless reports, beyond that which her attorney has already accurately disseminated.

"Mel Gibson is not the father of my child," Ms. Bellizzi claims, all though she acknowledges they know one another. However, the details pertaining to her level of past and/or present involvement with him are private.

Additionally, any alleged "friends" of Ms. Bellizzi claiming that she told them that Mr. Gibson "is the father" of her child are either misinterpreting her desire for privacy surrounding the identity of the father, or are being 100% dishonest in a mis-guided effort to seek 5 seconds of notoriety and fame. Laura has never told any acquaintances or friends that Mel Gibson is the father of her child. That is total rubbish!

The Brain Storm with Mel Gibson, Jamie Foxx & Garry Shandling

(Video) How do you pay tribute to Robert Downey Jr.?

That's the question that has Mel Gibson, Jamie Foxx and Garry Shandling stumped in a roast video that played before Downey was honored with the American Cinematheque Award last month.

As we learn, Gibson's only there for the cheese plate, Shandling's never seen Downey out of the Iron Man costume and Foxx ... well, he's still bitter about Tropic Thunder.

"He stole a part from brothers," he says. "F--- that! He does this now. If we don't nip it in the bud, next thing you know, they have him playing Martin Luther King: 'I have a dream that one day little white boys will grow up to be bigger white boys and take roles from all of the black people.'"

It turns out none of them really know Downey that well, except for Gibson, who once visited him when Downey was in prison. "But I was just trying to get good press," he says.

"That would be confusing ... I just wouldn't know who's in, who's out," Shandling notes.

They all try to come up with excuses to get out of the event — until Shandling points out what they would miss out on: a Jodie Foster clip.

Happy Feet director backs Mad Mel

Just because Mad Max is leaving Mel Gibson in the dust doesn't mean everyone else should too.

This from director George Miller, who explains the 55-year-old actor simply got too old -- not too notorious -- to reprise his role in the forthcoming Fury Road.

Moreover, he believes Gibson's career can recover despite his highly-publicized personal struggles.

"I don't think it matters whether he acts or not, even though he's naturally an actor," says Miller, who helmed 1979's Mad Max, 1982's The Road Warrior and 1985's Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

"I think he's a brilliant filmmaker. (In) The Passion of the Christ, the filmmaking is brilliant. Apocalypto, I think, was brilliant."

Gibson has starred in only two films since 2002's Signs: last year's Edge of Darkness and this spring's The Beaver. Instead it's been his behaviour off-screen that's generated headlines. Most recently, when tapes of phone calls he'd made to his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, were leaked, Gibson endured a firestorm of criticism.

"He's a very, very kind and good soul," Miller says. "For me, observing him over the years, that's why he was naturally a Mad Max character. (He was) a man running from his better nature. All charisma depends on paradox. And here's this man who's funny and goofy and kind and on the other hand, there are these darker currents. You're aware of them when you watch him.

"To recognize how much pain he was in was awful. There's absolutely no question he's remorseful. I knew him when he was young and when he was drinking and he'd do something like turn up late to the set, and I'd take him aside and say, 'What's happening? You can't do this. You have a responsibility.' And he'd be so remorseful. And he'd often not do it again."

In fact, Gibson and Miller were originally set to reunite for the fourth Mad Max, entitled Fury Road, in 2003. But when the U.S. invasion of Iraq scuttled their plans to shoot in Africa, the production languished for years.

"Back in the beginning, Mel was still of the right age. The story wasn't Unforgiven, the film about an aging character who goes back for one more try. It wasn't that sort of story."

While Miller hopes to shoot Fury Road next year -- with Inception's Tom Hardy -- he's also been putting the finishing touches on Happy Feet Two, which opens Friday.

In the sequel to his 2006 CG-animated hit, penguin Mumble (Elijah Wood) faces new challenges, including fatherhood and climate change.

While it took decades for the idea for a fourth Mad Max to formulate, Miller says the concepts behind Happy Feet Two emerged early on. "I'd spent so long with the characters that they were already living like imaginary friends in my head. I began to ask, 'What happened next?' I'd already by the end of Happy Feet One thought about things we could put in the second film.

"Even with technology, because it advances exponentially, you can do things in the second you couldn't in the first."

But the advent of CG and motion-capture technology has always been key to the franchise, notes Miller, who produced Babe as well as directed its sequel.

"Happy Feet, you couldn't do it as a live action movie. Unlike Babe, where you can train dogs and pigs, you can't train penguins. You wouldn't be allowed to and you could never train them to sing and dance. It's amazing to be working when this technology is available and getting better. I feel very lucky to be working in this medium."

Mel's Fear

Mel Gibson gal pal Azita Ghanizada said the star was worried her acting career could suffer after they were photographed kissing after dinner at L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills. She insists the two are friends and it was just a goodbye kiss. Ghanizada, who has appeared in the SyFy series “Alphas,” was overheard telling friends at the TV Guide party at Greystone Manor Supperclub that troubled Gibson was upset about the photos and reports they were dating, and wondered about the impact it might have on her career, sources told us. A rep for Gibson had no comment. Ghanizada’s rep said, “Azita has not commented on this in public so your story is incorrect.”

Keaton: Gibson kiss unforgettable

Veteran actress Diane Keaton treasures the moment she locked lips with Mel Gibson in 1984 movie Mrs. Soffel, insisting the screen kiss is among the highlights of her life.

The Annie Hall star played Gibson's older love interest in the movie and Keaton admits she was so taken by the actor, she will never forget the romantic moment.

She tells People magazine, "Could he have been more beautiful? I was like 39, and he was... a baby! I got in the car to go home, and I kept reinventing that kiss. Over and over."

The love scene is one of many memories Keaton recalled for her new autobiography, Then Again.

Mel Gibson's Mystery Woman -- An 'Alphas' Female

TMZ has learned the identity of the woman Mel Gibson was spotted kissing last week ... she's "Alphas" star Azita Ghanizada, a rep for the actress tells TMZ.

Ghanizada's rep says it was NOT a date.

As TMZ first reported, the two met for dinner at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Azita Ghanizada Fun Facts -- she's 31, was born in Afghanistan, and is fluent in Dari.

Mel Gibson Smooches With Mystery Date

(Photo) Mel Gibson is back in the game ... sucking face with a woman who looks an awful lot like that Russian singer with a mean iPhone.

Mel and his chick hit up L'Ermitage Hotel for a romantic dinner earlier this week. When they left Mel went in for the kill.

A few days before Mel went back to the scene of the crime -- Moonshadows -- where he went just before he was arrested in 2006 and went on that anti-Semitic rant. Mel was there with another mystery woman and it was all very uneventful.

Everything seems to be comin' up roses for Mel.

Mel Gibson -- Returns to the Scene of the Crime

Mel Gibson made a bold move last night -- returning to the restaurant that triggered an anti-Semiticly fueled DUI arrest that changed his life ... but this time he made all the right moves.

Gibson and a blonde lady friend hung out together at Moonshadows in Malibu ... the last place Mel drank on July 28, 2006 before he got into his car and hit PCH ... got a DUI ... and said all sorts of horrible things to the arresting officer.

This time around was MUCH different ... witnesses say Mel was only having dinner with a mystery blonde lady -- not boozing -- and he had a DRIVER take him home.

Mel stays dry

Mel Gibson, Formula One heir Petra Ecclestone and her new husband, James Stunt, sparked a champagne frenzy at Beacher’s Madhouse in LA last Wednesday night, spending a whopping $250,000 on Cristal -- with Stunt picking up the tab. They went wild even though neither Gibson nor Stunt drinks alcohol. A spy said, “Neither of them touched a drop, they were handing it out to everyone else.” Gibson, whose battle with booze is well-documented, arrived with Ecclestone and her hubby in their Rolls-Royce and was “pretty relaxed and chilled.” The star ignored women around him before the threesome left near 2 a.m.

Mel Gibson, Oksana Grigorieva Settlement Hits a Roadblock

Oksana Grigorieva just made a beeline for family court after her settlement with Mel Gibson hit a snag ... TMZ has learned.

As TMZ first reported, Oksana and Mel struck a deal in which Oksana would walk away with $750,000, the house she's living in, and some other stuff. In return, she'll leave Mel alone. They also agreed to 50/50 custody of Lucia.

The settlement agreement is scheduled to go before the family court judge tomorrow for final approval, but we're told the lawyers are still fighting over how it's worded and they've reached a stalemate.

Our sources say Mel's lawyers asked the judge for more time so they can hash it out, but Oksana showed up to court this morning to fight the request ... because she wants the deal done STAT.

Judge Scott Gordon gave Mel and Oksana an extension to sort out their differences -- but only until November 1st ... less time than Mel's people were hoping for.

Robert Downey Jr. Shocker: We Need to Forgive Mel Gibson!

Talk about having an iron skin.

In a surprise move last night, Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. turned a gala in his honor into an effort to save Mel Gibson's career and bring the onetime A-Lister back into the Hollywood fold.

It all went down during the annual star-studded American Cinematheque tribute...

"Unless you are without sin—and if you are, you are in the wrong f---king industry—you should forgive him and let him work again," Downey said after Gibson presented him with the award before a packed ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

During his presentation, Gibson remembered being warned about hiring Downey for Air America in 1990 because of his troubled private life. Downey has always credited Gibson for being the first person in town who gave him a job during some of his years battling substance abuse.

Once he was accepting his honor, Downey spoke about that time, recalling that Gibson had told him to "help the next guy" once he was able to.

"It's reasonable to assume...he didn't imagine the next guy would be him," said Downey.

Gibson, who became notorious after arrest and his anti-Semitic rant, attracted skepticism most recently when it was announced that he's planning on directing a film about Judah Maccabee, the Jewish warrior who led the fight against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah marks the return of Jewish worship at a Jerusalem temple after he removed pagan statuary.

Jennifer Aniston, Jodie Foster, Jack Black, Jared Harris, directors Jon Favreau and Guy Ritchie, Jamie Foxx, Michael Douglas and CAA honcho Bryan Lourd were among the night's other presenters.

Mel Gibson -- I've Got One, HUGE Tip for Ya ...

It pays to service Mel Gibson ... especially in Arizona ... where the actor dropped a massive tip after a fancy Italian dinner Monday night ... TMZ has learned.

Gibson hit up the Bravo Bistro in Scottsdale ... where he dined on shrimp cocktail and osso bucco with the owner of the restaurant and two women.

After 3 hours, Mel picked up the $170 bill ... and left a $150 tip ... that's 88% for all you math-a-magicians out there.

Mel Gibson -- winning back fans one server at a time.

Mel Gibson -- Rear Ends Driver in Arizona

Mel Gibson caused a minor traffic accident yesterday, when his front bumper met somebody's back bumper in Phoenix, Arizona.

We're told no one was injured -- a cop came to the scene but no one was cited. Both vehicles sustained minor damage. After exchanging insurance information, both parties went their separate ways.

We're told Mel is in town to visit his father, who is hospitalized in Phoenix.

Mel hasn't had the best luck on the road, just last year he crashed his 2008 Maserati in L.A. But cops say he acted like a total gentleman after the wreck.

Rival Maccabee Producer: We're Gonna Beat Mel Gibson!

Mel Gibson's Hanukkah movie is in trouble -- TMZ has learned, another company is currently making their own Judah Maccabee film ... and they're racing to beat Mel to the punch.

Sources close to the production tell us, the untitled Judah film -- by producer Bruce Nash and writer Scott Abbott -- was fast-tracked once news broke that Mel was putting together his own Maccabee homage.

We're told Nash believes Mel is the wrong person to helm such an important Jewish story -- telling friends, the Hanukkah tale should be told by someone who has respect for the Jewish community.

As we previously reported, Mel's been developing his J Macc film for 10 years -- and sources tell us Nash has been working on his for 15. Nash doesn't have a shoot date yet, but the race is on.

Shana Tova!

Mel Gibson -- I Didn't Agree to Pay Alexander $100,000

Mel Gibson is taking issue with legal documents filed by Oksana Grigorieva's lawyer -- which state that Mel paid $100,000 to Oksana's son Alexander Dalton, the son she had with actor Timothy Dalton.

Mel's rep tells us, "The deal between Mel and OG is exactly what was set forth on the record, in open court, on Augst 31, 2011" -- when Mel agreed to pay Oksana $250,000 as part of their custody settlement agreement.

His rep continues, "Mel is paying exactly the sums set forth to OG -- and is paying no additional sums to Alexander Dalton or anyone else."

"How OG chooses to have any sums due from Mel allocated is her business."

But as we previously reported, TMZ has obtained legal documents filed by Oksana's lawyer -- which claim, "Of the first $250,000 paid ... $100,000 belongs to Alexander Dalton who is waiving his rights to sue Mel Gibson and must be compensated for this to be lawful."

The docs continue, "If Alexander Dalton does not get his $100,000.00, he cannot waive his rights to sue. Mr. Gibson negotiated for that as a part of the settlement and is entitled to the benefit of his bargain."

Oksana's Son Settles with Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson is paying Oksana's son, Alexander (Sasha) Dalton, $100,000 ... in return for a guarantee that the 14-year-old will not sue the actor ... TMZ has learned.

As we have previously reported, Oksana's lawyers were trying to get Gibson to pay Alexander $500,000, for allegedly terrorizing the boy during the blowout fight between Oksana and Mel on January 6, 2009. Oksana also alleged Mel once pushed the boy onto a table.

According to legal docs obtained by TMZ ... Mel agreed in his settlement to pay the boy the $100,000, but there is a complete waiver on Alexander's part to sue Gibson.

Mel Gibson Accused of Pastry Meltdown!

Mel Gibson allegedly tried to run over a man outside a Costa Rican bakery ... but at least one eyewitness tells TMZ the man's a liar.

Quick backstory -- Nader Sharif sued Mel, claiming the actor swindled him out of $200,000 by cajoling him into investing in a recyclable rubber company.

Sharif filed a lawsuit in June, but he's filing new documents today, in which he claims Mel tried to mow him down in July, after the two ran into each other at a Costa Rican bakery.

Sharif says Mel got violent, calling him "vile and offensive names" and threatening him with physical harm if he didn't skip town.

Sharif alleges Mel stormed out of the bakery and got into his car. Sharif says he left the premises moments later, and Mel "accelerated the car to a high rate of speed" and drove the car directly at him while multitasking by giving him the finger! Sharif says he jumped out of the way... narrowly escaping his fate as Costa Rican roadkill.

But a witness tells TMZ it's all hogwash. He says Mel was trying to enjoy a "sweet pastry" and a cup of coffee, when Sharif walked in the bakery and tried to confront him. He claims Mel asked Sharif to leave, to no avail. The witness says Mel left ... Sharif followed. The witness says at no time did Mel drive toward Sharif. And he says there are at least 7 other witnesses who will tell the same story.

If only Oksana was there to record the incident.

Mel Gibson: Why I Want to Make A Jewish Hero Movie

Mel Gibson has a passion for the story of Judah Maccabee, one of the greatest Jewish heroes of all time, but is not doing the movie as an act of contrition.

Sources very close to Mel tell TMZ ... Gibson does not feel the need to bridge a gap between himself and the Jewish community, because he doesn't believe a gap exists. They say Mel is adamant -- he does not hate Jews, noting that his lawyers are Jewish, his publicist is Jewish, and he has many Jewish friends and employees.

As for Mel's anti-Semitic rant during his 2006 DUI arrest, Mel has written two public letters of apology and also met with numerous leaders in the Jewish community to discuss where he went wrong.

As for the movie, Mel has wanted to produce it for a decade, telling our sources it's actually a statement against corruption in the church. Mel believes Maccabee's story parallels the modern church, and he thinks the movie will help force change.

Jewish Org. to Warner Bros. -- BOOT Mel Gibson from Maccabee Movie

Two powerful Jewish organizations are lashing out against the decision to put Mel Gibson in a movie about biblical Jewish hero Judah Maccabee ... TMZ has learned.

The Anti-Defamation League has released a statement -- demanding Warner Bros. pull Gibson off the flick immediately ... saying, "As a hero of the Jewish people and a universal hero in the struggle for religious liberty, Judah Maccabee deserves better."

The statement adds, "It would be a travesty to have the story of the Maccabees told by one who has no respect and sensitivity for other people’s religious views."

TMZ also spoke with Rabbi Marvin Hier -- founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center -- who tells us casting Mel Gibson as a Jewish hero is "like having a white supremacist portray Martin Luther King Jr."

FYI -- Judah is a central figure in the story of Hanukkah ... as the brave warrior who drove enemies of Judaism out of Jerusalem.

Mel Gibson -- I'm Making a Jewish Movie!

File this under ironic and interesting ... Mel Gibson is producing a movie that triumphs the Jewish struggle against tyranny ... a movie about the greatest Jewish hero of all time.

Mel's publicist Alan Nierob tells TMZ ... Mel is teaming up with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas -- who wrote the Jewish-themed movies "Betrayed" and "Music Box" -- to produce a movie about Judah Maccabee, the Jewish warrior who defeated the Greek-Syrian armies in the second century B.C.

Mel -- who famously directed the arguably anti-Jewish "Passion of the Christ" in 2004 -- has signed on with Warner Bros., which won out over several other studios that wanted the project.

Nierob says Gibson has been working on the Maccabee project for a decade, but now it's about to become real.

Mel Gibson -- Oksana's Music BLOWS!

Oksana Grigorieva and her lawyers touted her music credentials in court this week, but we now know exactly how Mel Gibson feels about her music -- he says it sucks.

Sources connected to Mel tell TMZ ... Gibson deeply regrets supporting Oksana's music career -- especially plunking down a fortune to produce a CD and music video. Mel even paid for a studio in Oksana's home.

Mel privately says Oksana's voice and music are "horrible," and he's "embarrassed" that he promoted her.

Mel Gibson Settlement -- HUGE Loss for Oksana

The settlement struck between Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva is nothing less than a financial fiasco for a woman who wanted untold millions of dollars from her famous ex.

TMZ obtained a copy of the original 2010 settlement worth $15 million that Oksana disavowed. At the time, Oksana said she would not go through with the settlement because she felt Mel was a danger to their daughter Lucia and believed Mel should not have unsupervised contact with the child.

In reality, sources connected to the case tell TMZ, the real reason Oksana walked away from the settlement is because she was advised she could get a lot more than $15 million because of the alleged physical abuse she claims she suffered at the hands of Mel.

Now, in a shocking twist of fate, rather than getting $15 million, Oksana is only getting $750k. On top of that, she was concerned about Mel having unsupervised visitation ... Mel is actually getting MORE unsupervised visitation based on the agreement that was just struck.

The fact is, under the 2010 agreement, Mel would NOT have gotten 50/50 custody until Lucia turns 3 years old. Under the current agreement, he gets 50/50 custody immediately.

Short story ... she should have taken door #1.

Gibson settlement with ex to be discussed in court

A judge is scheduled to discuss financial details of a settlement between Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend in a long-running custody dispute over their young daughter.Court officials say Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman will handle financial issues in open court, but details about the former couple's custody arrangements will be closed to the public.

The actor-director and his ex-girlfriend have been fighting for more than a year, and her allegations of domestic abuse prompted a criminal case against Gibson. He pleaded no contest to domestic battery earlier this year without acknowledging any wrongdoing.

Their daughter turns 2 in November.

Mel Gibson to Pay Oksana $750,000

Mel Gibson has agreed to fork over $750,000 to his baby mama Oksana Grigorieva as part of their custody settlement ... TMZ has learned.

According to the terms of the agreement, revealed today in court, Mel will give Oksana the money in 3 installments of $250,000 -- the first payment will be made when the deal is signed today.

The next payment will be made on Sept. 15, 2013 -- and the final payment will be made on Jan. 1, 2016.

Today in court, the judge in the custody case said the couple will have joint legal and physical custody of their daughter Lucia.

The judge also said the house that Oksana and Lucia are living in will be sold when Lucia turns 18 and the money will be placed in a trust for Lucia.

The couple also agreed that no books can be written by either party ABOUT the other party. The judge also mentioned that neither party can hire a ghost-writer to write a book about the other party either.

If any repairs need to be made on Oksana's home, Mel is required to pay for the work -- up to $5,000.

The judge asked both Mel and Oksana if they understood and agreed to the terms of the settlement -- and they both replied, "Yes."

During the hearing, Mel addressed the judge and said, "Thanks for a reasonable conclusion."

Oksana also spoke ... saying, "Thanks to the judge for the tremendous help to resolve this matter."

Mel Gibson and ex-girlfriend reach settlement

Mel Gibson and his Russian ex-girlfriend have reached a financial and custody settlement of a bitter dispute that spawned a criminal case and left the Academy Award winner's reputation damaged.

Los Angeles Superior Court officials said in a statement late Friday that Gibson and musician Oksana Grigorieva had reached an agreement after days of negotiation. Terms and conditions of the settlement were not announced, but a hearing Wednesday will be held to discuss the financial terms.

The equally contentious issue of custody of the couple's infant daughter will be handled in closed session, the court announced.

Gibson's spokesman Alan Nierob confirmed the settlement and said the actor-director appreciated the judge's help in mediating the case.

Grigorieva spokesman Stephen Jaffe declined comment.

The former couple have sparred for more than a year over custody and financial issues in a mostly-secret court proceeding in Los Angeles. In June 2010, Gibson's attorney Stephen Kolodny said that his client had provided his ex-girlfriend with a four-bedroom, multimillion dollar home, vehicle and tens of thousands of dollars a month.

It is unclear exactly how much Grigorieva has been receiving since then.

The "Braveheart" star was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery as a result of a January 2010 fight with Grigorieva and pleaded no contest earlier this year. The actor-director entered his plea in a way in which he admitted no guilt, and Grigorieva cannot use the outcome in a civil case.

He was ordered to undergo counseling and recently completed his community service by volunteering with a children's charity in Guatemala.

The case became an international story after recordings of racist and sexist rants by Gibson were leaked to the celebrity website Sheriff's officials took possession of the recordings as part of their criminal investigation, but Grigorieva's attorney announced in May that he would no longer seek to use them against the former Hollywood superstar in the custody case.

The coming days could prove crucial for Gibson to resolve some of the messiness of his personal life in recent years.

Gibson, 55, recently reached a divorce settlement with his estranged wife, Robyn, and his attorney announced in June that the case should be finalized by Tuesday.

Robyn Gibson filed to end her nearly 28-year marriage in April 2009, just months before Grigorieva gave birth. The divorce has been a mostly private affair, in sharp contrast to Gibson's fight with Grigorieva.

Gibson announced Grigorieva's pregnancy to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show," but their relationship sputtered after the girl's birth.

In recent months, both have appeared multiple times in court for hearings and meetings with a judge handling their case. Gibson has not publicly spoken about the case.

The leaked conversations recorded by Grigorieva were the latest scandal for Gibson, who was arrested in 2006 for drunken driving; a deputy's report revealed he made a series of anti-Semitic and sexist slurs while in custody.

Despite positive reviews for his performance as a deeply depressed man who can only communicate through a puppet, Gibson's return to the big screen in "The Beaver" earlier this year failed to catch on with audiences.

Betty White voted America's most trusted celebrity: poll

Seems like former "Golden Girls" actress Betty White really does have the Midas touch.

White, 89, is both the most popular and most trusted celebrity with Americans and the person most likely to drive up the business of a brand she might choose to endorse, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

But the Reuters/Ipsos poll suggested that companies should stay away from Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen if they want to promote their products.

The socialite and reality TV actress, and the fired "Two and A Half Men" star topped the list of the most unpopular and least trusted personalities and were deemed most likely to damage any brands they choose to support.

White, the only surviving member of the key cast members of TV's "Golden Girls" 1980s comedy, has enjoyed a career resurgence in the last few years as a saucy senior in films like "The Proposal" and the TV show "Hot in Cleveland".

She also won an Emmy Award last year for hosting satirical sketch show "Saturday Night Live".

White scored an 86 percent favorable opinion in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, beating Oscar winners Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock and Clint Eastwood in the survey of the 100 most popular personalities. She easily edged out Britain's Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton (5th), Oprah Winfrey (6th), and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (15th) in the most trusted personalities ranking.

Some 44 percent of those questioned said they would be more likely to do business with a company if White endorsed it.

At the other extreme, 54 percent of the 2,012 Americans questioned for the poll said they would trust a company less if it were endorsed by Sheen, with Hilton coming in second.

Pop star Britney Spears, actor Mel Gibson and golfer Tiger Woods -- who lost several major endorsements after his 2009 sex scandal -- also fared badly.

Below is a list of the top 10 most popular personalities with their "favorable" rating by percentage of voters.

1. Betty White ...........86 pct favorable
2. Denzel Washington .....85 pct
3. Sandra Bullock ........84 pct
4. Clint Eastwood ........83 pct
5. Tom Hanks .............81 pct
6. Harrison Ford .........80 pct
7. Morgan Freeman ........79 pct tie
7. Kate Middleton ........79 pct
9. Will Smith ............77 pct
10. Johnny Depp ...........76 pct

Below is a list of the top 10 most unpopular personalities with their "unfavorable" rating by percentage of voters.

1. Paris Hilton ..........60 pct unfavorable
2. Charlie Sheen .........52 pct
3. Britney Spears ........45 pct tie
3. Kanye West ............45 pct
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger..44 pct
6. Tiger Woods ...........42 pct
7. Kim Kardashian ........38 pct
8. Mel Gibson ............33 pct
9. Donald Trump ..........31 pct
10. LeBron James ..........29 pct

Oksana Grigorieva to Mel Gibson: I'm Calling the Shots On Lucia's Schooling

Mel Gibson may be rich and famous, but he's dealing with the same issues millions of fathers struggle with after separating from their partners -- how can he keep a relationship with his child, when his baby mama tries to keep him away?

Mel and Oksana Grigorieva are deep in the throes of mediation, and one of the big issues is where baby Lucia goes to school. Oksana wants to put Lucia in a private school by her home in the San Fernando Valley. Mel does not want to drive from Malibu to the Valley -- a long drive when there's no traffic -- when he picks Lucia up and drops her off. He wants a school half way between their homes.

Sources tell TMZ ... Mel and Oksana are miles apart in settling the custody case. Mel wants 50/50 custody, and he believes that would solve most of their issues, but Oksana is vehemently opposed to an equal split.

And, sources say, even Oksana's lawyers want her to settle with Mel, in no small part because they want to get paid, but she's refusing to budge. We're told Oksana is still so bitter, she'd rather drag Mel through the mud than settle and just walk away.

Oksana Grigorieva Mel Should Pay $500k For Traumatizing My Son

Oksana Grigorieva made it clear to the family law judge Friday -- she wants a bundle from Mel Gibson, including a half a million bucks for the alleged trauma she claims Mel caused her 14-year-old son, fathered by actor Timothy Dalton.

TMZ broke the story ... Mel and Oksana met separately with the judge and a mediator Friday, trying to hammer out a settlement in the custody war that is laced with financial overtones. We're told Oksana asked for a huge amount of money for various reasons, and one involves her son Alexander (aka Sasha).

Oksana claims Mel traumatized the boy during the January 6, 2009 explosive fight, which ended with physical violence .... Oksana has alleged Mel knocked two of her teeth out, while Mel says he merely slapped her because she was out of control and endangering the baby.

Oksana claims Mel was abusive to the Sasha during the argument, calling him names and scaring him so much he allegedly hid under the bed.

Oksana also claimed on another occasion Mel threw her son onto a table, but Mel's camp has denied it.

We're told Oksana and Mel are still far apart in settling the claims -- both financial and custody of Lucia -- and the mediation continues next week.

Oksana Grigorieva, Mel Gibson Separate Meetings with Judge To Resolve Custody War

Oksana Grigorieva and Mel Gibson met separately today with Judge Scott Gordon, to try and resolve their epic custody battle over baby Lucia.

We're told Oksana met with Judge Gordon in the AM, and Mel showed up today at 1:30 and is still in the judge's chambers.

The centerpiece of their dispute is an agreement Oksana and Mel signed, which lays out a custody and visitation schedule. Under the agreement, the dueling parents would have 50/50 custody when Lucia turns 3.

Oksana has tried to repudiate the agreement, while Mel is fighting to keep it in place.

As for the prospects of settlement, Judge Gordon has worked miracles in his chambers .... notably he actually got Jamie and Frank McCourt to agree on the terms of their divorce, and no two people hate each other more -- except maybe Kelsey Grammer and Camille.

Mel Gibson Back In Court Over Baby Lucia

Mel Gibson just showed up at the L.A. County Courthouse to meet with the judge in his custody war with Oksana Grigorieva.

Mel will be in Judge Scott Gordon's courtroom for a mediation session over the allocation of Lucia's custody and visitation.

According to the custody deal the couple struck more than a year ago -- the one Oksana tried to repudiate -- Mel's custody increases as Lucia gets older, and he'll get 50/50 custody when she turns 3 a year from October.

Mel Gibson, Estranged Wife Reunite for Good Cause

Mel Gibson and his estranged wife Robyn made a rare public appearance with three of their seven children and three of their grandkids on Saturday.

The special occasion, taking place in the hills of Malibu, was the 10th birthdays of two young Guatemalan girls close to the family's hearts: Maria de Jesus and Maria Teresa Quiej-Alvarez, the formerly conjoined twins connected at the skull who made international headlines when surgeons at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA Medical Center separated them in August 2002.

"We're all involved in Josie and Teresa’s lives," Gibson, referring to the girls by their nicknames, tells PEOPLE. "It's incredible seeing Josie and Teresa do so well. Listening to Josie speak, you think, 'Man, this is the happiest kid I’ve ever seen.' "

The Gibsons appeared in good spirits, as well. Amid bongo and steel drums, hula dancers and 100 guests at the Hawaiian-themed party, Mel and Robyn, who arrived separately, mingled individually with friends, doctors and executives for the hosting charity, Mending Kids International.

Midway through the event, Mel, 55, went over to say hello to Robyn and to wiggle the toes of their 5-month-old grandson.

"He likes that," Mel said with a chuckle. During the birthday cake cutting ceremony, Robyn and Mel were honored for their generous support of Mending Kids, which provides life-changing surgical care for children worldwide.

With Robyn formerly having been president of the board of directors of the nonprofit group, Mel said: "My wife was really far more involved than I was in the past, but we're both still involved."

Recently returned from two Mending Kids medical trips to Guatemala and Panama, Mel also said, "We gave them financial support, but it was hands-on sometimes. I remember Robyn taking care of children who came here [for surgery]."

He added: "All of my kids do give back. Our children have been raised that way and that will be an integral part of their lives as they move on."

Gibson, whose next screen project, the dark comedy How I Spent My Summer Vacation, is due out next year, said of working with the organization: "It gives you perspective … It's one of my faults, you tend to focus on yourself a lot. Which is not always the healthiest thing for your psyche or anything else. If you take a little time out to think about other people, it's good. It's uplifting."


(Photo) Mel Gibson was spotted entertaining Teresita Cajas, a 10-year-old formerly conjoined twin, at a birthday party for her and her sister Josie in Malibu yesterday.

Gibson has been a long-time supporter of Mending Kids International, the charity organization that arranged for the $1.5 million surgery back in 2002.


Mel Gibson wants more quality time with his little girl -- and in order to get it ... he's demanding a change to his child custody agreement with Oksana Grigorieva.

Sources connected to the former couple tell TMZ Mel has filed a request with the court ... for additional overnight visits with 1-year-old Lucia.

Under the current agreement ... Mel gets 3 overnights with Lucia every 2 weeks.

Nothing's decided yet -- a hearing is set for September -- but if the judge grants Mel's request, he and Oksana will be much closer to an even 50-50 split of their time with Lucia.

Mel Gibson Celebrates I'M 5 YEARS SOBER!

It's been FIVE YEARS since Mel Gibson's infamous 2006 DUI arrest -- and sources close to the actor tell TMZ, he's been off the sauce ever since ... and celebrated the sobriety milestone with friends last week.

Mel was arrested on July 28, 2006 -- and from that day forward ... we're told he hasn't taken a sip of booze.

Mel and some buddies commemorated the occasion last Friday -- and the actor is telling friends ... even though it's been a rough couple years, he's ultimately grateful for his arrest that fateful night.

Time really flies.

Gibson settles divorce case

Embattled actor Mel Gibson has settled his divorce case with his estranged wife, according to a U.S. report.

The Lethal Weapon star's wife Robyn ended the couple's 28-year marriage when she filed for divorce in April 2009, citing "irreconcilable differences", but, although both Mel and his ex have since moved on romantically, their separation was not officially legal - until now. reports Robyn's lawyer, Laura Wasser, appeared before a U.S. judge on Tuesday and declared the former couple has finally reached an agreement regarding the terms of the divorce and their property settlement.

Mel and Robyn's lawyers are set to draft the final documents and enter the judgment in August.

Stella Mouzi: Mel Gibson Is Not My Boyfriend

When Stella Mouzi met Mel Gibson this spring through mutual friends, the pair hit it off. But not, Mouzi insists, in a romantic way.

Eager to set the record straight after tabloid reports declared her Gibson's new, young girlfriend when they were photographed together, Mouzi tells PEOPLE exclusively: "I came to the U.S. from Greece a few months ago and was charmed by the American hospitality. I made many new friends including Mel Gibson, with whom I share merely a friendly acquaintance."

Described unflatteringly in some reports as everything from a "Greek Gothic chick" to a fetish model, Mouzi clarifies: "I am a dancer, performance artist and a photographer – that is the extent of my professional life. It has been difficult to be the subject of false rumors, which have also been hurtful to my friends and family."

As for Gibson, 55, (who's stayed out of the salacious headlines himself, since the battery case involving his ex-girlfriend) he's not dating anyone, says a close friend, who corroborates Mouzi's account.

Says the source: "They're 100% just friends."

Mel Gibson Spends Father's Day with Baby Lucia

(Photos) It's been almost a year to the day since Oksana Grigorieva and Mel Gibson began their bitter court battles -- but Mel got to enjoy Father's Day with his daughter Lucia.

Father/daughter time is always a good thing.

Mel Gibson -- Party on the Sunset Strip

(Photos) Mel Gibson has moved from the Ukraine to down under -- no, not Australia ... leather-clad women who pose in dungeons. Translation: He's upgraded from Oksana.

Stella Mouzi, a Greek citizen, is a model who is know for being gothic -- a fetish catering to the dark realms of fantasy.

She recently walked the red carpet at the 2011 L.A. Fetish Film Festival Awards.

Mel's been spending a lot of time recently with Stella, and we're told they're dating. We got pics of the pair at the beginning of the month leaving dinner, and again this week at Sky Bar on the Sunset Strip. We're told she's also been to Mel's Malibu home for a barbecue.

Stella is in the U.S. on a visitor's visa, but we're told she wants to extend her stay. We're also told she's into Mel.

Mel, like they say at the car lot, caveat emptor.

"Beaver" acclaim spurs Mel Gibson comeback plans

In May, Mel Gibson stood basking in the applause of the black-tie audience as "The Beaver" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. But now Cannes has come and gone, and so has "Beaver," which grossed less than $1 million at the North American box office.

So where does Gibson, whose image was tarnished by his outbursts during his bitter custody battle with his former girlfriend, go from here?

Turns out, Hollywood is still eager to get into the Mel Gibson business. "Beaver" earned him some good reviews, and the general consensus is that any star would have had a hard time opening the quirky drama. "It was just a heavy, depressing, tough art movie," says one distributor.

Gibson hasn't had an agent since William Morris dropped him last summer, but several agencies are courting the actor, according to knowledgeable sources.

"There's a lot of interest on the agency side, but I don't think anything is imminent," says the actor's spokesman, Alan Nierob.

There are other questions on the table: Gibson has completed a film that he produced, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," but it has yet to find a U.S. distributor even though it sold in most other global territories.

Directed by Adrian Grunberg -- who served as first assistant director on Gibson's "Apocalypto" -- the sure-to-be-R-rated movie is set in a tough Mexican prison where Gibson's character, an American on the run, is thrown after being seized by Mexican authorities. There, he strikes up a friendship with a 9-year-old boy.

Summit, Lionsgate and FilmDistrict have screened the picture, but so far no takers. "It's an interesting, cool movie," says one buyer who passed. "In fact, it has what I'd call a Tarantino-esque feeling."

There also is the question of what movie Gibson might take on next. Lately, he's been talking up a proposed film version of Randall Wallace's novel "Love and Honor," a swashbuckler set in the court of Catherine the Great. Wallace, who wrote Gibson's "Braveheart," is looking to direct.

More immediately, Gibson also has been offered a role in "Sleight of Hand," a heist movie with Gerard Depardieu and Til Schweiger; it is set to begin filming in Paris in August.

Mel Gibson -- Party on the Sunset Strip

(Photo) Mel Gibson threw on his finest party blazer and hit the legendary Skybar on the Sunset Strip last night to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Mel was seen puffing away on some cigarettes and chatting up some of the guests during the fiesta.

Gibson was flanked by two women with pouty red lips and long brown hair. Careful, Mel .....

Mel Gibson Complies with Probation Demands

Mel Gibson is being sued by a man who claims Mel cajoled him to put his life savings in a newfangled technology to recycle tires ... the guy lost it all and now claims Mel is swindling him.

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Nader Sherif met Mel at a dinner party in 2007. According to the lawsuit, Nader claims Mel started jawboning him about a Malaysian company called Green Rubber, which developed a technology to devulcanize rubber so old tires could be recycled.

Sherif claims Mel tried convincing him to invest $200,000 in the company -- his entire life savings. Sherif says he was resistant, but someone from the company who was present at the dinner assured him the company would re-purchase Sherif's stock for the full face value whenever Sherif wanted.

But Sherif was still uneasy, telling Mel he had just had a child and could not afford to lose money. Sherif alleges Mel -- who is a "significant investor" in the company -- then told him if the company wouldn't make good, Mel would buy the shares from Sherif for the full $200,000.

Short story -- Sherif was going through hard financial times and wanted Green Rubber to buy his stock back. Sherif claims the company repeatedly refused to do so, and he then went to Mel, who allegedly ignored his demand.

Sherif is suing for $200,000 plus interest. We could not reach Mel's rep for comment.

Here's a video of Mel back in 2008 -- presenting an award to the CEO of Green Rubber at the Global Green Sustainable Design Awards.

Mel Gibson Complies with Probation Demands

Mel Gibson has done exactly what he's supposed to do to complete his probation in the domestic violence case.

Gibson's lawyer, Blair Berk, went before Judge Stephanie Sautner this AM, and presented proof Mel has paid his fines, performed his community service, and got high marks from his psychiatrist who says Mel has been going to therapy every week and making progress.

Mel pled no contest in March to simple misdemeanor battery in the Oksana Grigorieva case.

Mel Gibson -- Community Service In Guatemala

Mel Gibson has touched down in Guatemala -- where the actor is performing his court-ordered community service with a local chapter of an international kids charity.

Gibson has until tomorrow to complete 16 hours of community service -- stemming from the plea deal he struck with prosecutors for allegedly striking ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

TMZ has learned Gibson has been spending time with the local Mending Kids International charity organization ... a group dedicated to providing medical care to underprivileged children.

Mel has worked with Mending Kids for years -- and his estranged wife Robyn Gibson is a former President of the Malibu chapter.

Mel Gibson Goes Italian With Oksana-Looking Woman

Mel Gibson is back in circulation. Exhibit A: Dining out with a pretty woman last night at Culina restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

We've asked around ... and no one seems to know who she is and whether it's about business or pleasure ... or just friendship.

Here's the thing. She looks dangerously like one Oksana Grigorieva.

Hey Mel ... sometimes looks can be deceiving in a good way.

Mel Gibson's troubled eyes tell the 'Beaver' story

Mel Gibson yearns to be understood, and in The Beaver he shows the strain.

Yet, for the role of a profoundly depressed husband and father, his lined visage and troubled eyes work perfectly. In real life, Gibson has attributed his much publicized aggressive behavior to alcoholism and depression, and his character, Walter, struggles with the same demons.

Of course, his casting was hardly accidental: The director is pal Jodie Foster. Though this is fiction, it's easy to let what we know of reality bleed into our interpretation of the story.

The title refers to a hand puppet that Walter manipulates and speaks through so he can cope with his deep melancholy. Though the notion has its outlandishly comic aspect, the movie is more painfully sad than humorous.

Walter hits rock bottom after his wife, Meredith (Foster), walks out with their two sons. Filled with suicidal impulses and reeling boozily, he stumbles around his apartment and rescues a ratty-looking beaver hand puppet from the garbage. His savior is born as the beaver commits himself to lifting Walter out of his black hole.

As uneven as the film is, it might be Gibson's finest performance. We buy his tortured persona, but it's harder to accept how he quickly transforms from suicidal to jovial.

Foster brings a stately directorial style, but the material sometimes feels too flimsy to merit it. That near-glacial pacing makes it harder still to effectively mine the humor in this grim tale, which also involves the suffering of Meredith and the rage felt by son Porter ( Anton Yelchin).

Some of Gibson's best scenes involve reconnecting with his younger son (Riley Thomas Stewart), for whom the puppet suddenly makes his dad lovable in a way he had never been.

But the story lacks honesty. For a film about the real problem of mental illness, it never feels authentic. Depression is not something neatly tied up. If this is meant as an allegory, it's vague and unconvincing.

The Beaver
* * 1/2 out of four

Stars: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
Director: Jodie Foster
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Expands Friday nationwide

Mel Gibson pops up in Cannes for 'Beaver' screening

Though he's studiously avoided American press, Mel Gibson showed up Tuesday night at the festival premiere of his new movie The Beaver, even clowning around a bit on the red carpet with director and pal Jodie Foster.

Not surprisingly, though, the actor, who has been generally in seclusion following , gave the movie's press conference a miss. The film is not in competition for the festival's Palme D'Or award.

This has been a noteworthy pair of days for reclusive filmmakers showing up for premieres at Cannes. (Terrence Malick also made a surprise appearance at the premiere of his new movie Tree of Life Monday night.)

Gibson appeared on the arm of his pal and The Beaver director Jodie Foster on the red carpet. In tuxedo and dark sunglasses, the 55-year-old actor-director appeared relaxed, perhaps signalling he's ready to rejoin the world of celebrities. By showing up in France --a country seemingly less concerned with the personal peccadilloes that have made him reviled by some in the U.S. -- it was akin to sticking a toe back in the water.

Speaking of water, he was spotted with a male friend on the balcony of his French Riviera hotel--the famously luxurious Hotel Du Cap in Antibes --with a cigarette dangling from his mouth and shirtless, presumably sunbathing.

Not only was Gibson not reviled at Cannes, he and the movie received a whopping a 10-minute standing ovation inside the Grand Theater Lumière. Among the other stars at the premiere were Naomi Campbell, Leonardo Di Caprio and his on-off girlfriend, Bar Refaeli.

Upon walking in, Foster and Gibson held hands and posed for pictures. Foster said at the earlier press conference that she made the film, which has not been a hit in the U.S., for a European sensibility. Gibson did not attend the press conference -- no doubt because of the plethora of American journalists bound to be preoccupied with his legal run-ins and racist and sexist rants against his girlfriend Oskana Grigorieva.

Gibson has studiously avoided the usual publicity whirl for The Beaver, which is currently playing in a limited number of theaters in the U.S. and expanding to more this Friday. His performance in the movie as a massively depressed man who decides only to speak to people through a beaver hand puppet has been widely praised for its depth and range.

Foster has said Gibson "really understood the character in a way that was extraordinary. I think that he was willing to go to such a deep place and willing to expose himself ... to really talk about something he knows a lot about which is struggle, wanting to change, wanting to transform yourself, not wanting to be who you are."

It is not surprising that the bleak comedy/drama about a suicidal character would be more embraced by European audiences who seem more appreciative of dark, offbeat fare. The film could get a boost at the box office stateside as a result of the enthusiastic Cannes reception -- provided Americans do not remain put off by Gibson's persona.

Gibson film a hit at Cannes

Mel Gibson’s box office flop The Beaver received a more promising reaction from critics at the Cannes Film Festival in France, where it premiered to rapturous applause.

The movie is Gibson’s first film role since the breakdown of his relationship with Oksana Grigorieva last year amid allegations of violence, a custody battle over their daughter, and leaked tapes of their arguments.

Jodie Foster, who directed the project, hoped the role of a company boss who deals with his depression by communicating via a glove puppet would reignite film fans’ love of the Lethal Weapon star, but the release was a letdown - scoring just $104,000 in box office takings on its opening weekend.

However, critics at Cannes were more keen on the movie when it was screened on Tuesday, warmly applauding and cheering Gibson’s performance as the credits rolled.

Foster and producer Keith Redmon defended the film’s performance at the box office during a subsequent press conference, insisting the movie is not expected to make millions in ticket sales.

Redmon says, “It’s not just about the box office - there are many ways to recoup a film. We know it will be an issue of time rather than just the first weekend.”

Foster added, “I’ve learned... that if you gauge your self-worth at the box office, you will be a very sorry person.”

Gibson adds voice to Foster, 'Beaver' at Cannes

In Mel Gibson's new movie "The Beaver" a hand puppet does most of his talking. At the Cannes Film Festival, Jodie Foster continued to supply most of the words for her pal, though Gibson did share a few wry quips.

Foster, director and co-star of the darkly comic drama, spoke for an absent Gibson at Tuesday's news conference for the movie, which arrives after the latest scandal in his private life.

Gibson did turn up on the red carpet for the festival's glitzy premiere of "The Beaver" later, and though Foster had predicted he would not be talking, Gibson had a ready answer when a festival interviewer asked him how he got into the dark head space of his character.

"I faked it," Gibson said, before adding, "Hey, I don't know. It doesn't bear too much analysis."

Gibson has stayed out of the limelight in the months leading up to the U.S. theatrical debut of "The Beaver" on May 6, while Foster has been out publicizing the film and defending her star after his ugly breakup from then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who had accused Gibson of striking her. Gibson pleaded no-contest and has been sentenced to three years probation for the incident.

As Foster was editing "The Beaver" last year, recordings surfaced of disturbing arguments riddled with sexist and racist comments that purportedly occurred between Gibson and Grigorieva.

"I can't excuse Mel's behavior. Only he can explain that," Foster told reporters at Cannes. "But I do know the man that I know. He's been a friend for many, many years, and as a friend, he is kind and loyal and thoughtful, and I can spend hours on the phone with him talking about life. And he's complex, and I appreciate his complexity and what his complexity brings to his work."

The film stars Gibson as a suicidally depressed husband and father who tries to sort through his problems with an unlikely therapist, a beaver puppet through which he communicates with his wife (Foster), their two sons and his colleagues at the failing toy company he runs.

The puppet initially rejuvenates his home life and business, but it gradually turns into a dangerous alter-ego that forces Gibson's character to an even darker place.

Critics have praised the performance as one of the best of Gibson's career, some viewing it as almost an on-screen therapy session for the actor to work on his own troubled life.

"The Beaver" was shot before the blowup over his relationship with Grigorieva, which further eroded Gibson's reputation in Hollywood after his anti-Semitic rant during a drunken-driving arrest in 2006.

Foster said she did not know whether the film might help restore Gibson's tarnished reputation, but it does offer a glimpse of his soul.

"Anything that you do that you obsess about and think about and give that much to, for six months of your life in his case and for years in mine, allows you to look deeper at yourself and at the people around you, at the effect of what you do, and that has to have kind of a therapeutic, cathartic end," said Foster, friends with Gibson since they costarred in 1994's "Maverick."

"I think he's proud of what he's shown, and I think he wants people to see that side of him. And he's an incredibly private man, so what he shows on the screen is as deep as you could possibly get, and that's our way as actors of telling people, `This is who I really am.'"

Warm welcome at Cannes for Gibson's "The Beaver"

Jodie Foster's wry look at depression and therapy in "The Beaver" got a warm reception at the Cannes film festival Tuesday, hinting at a possible second life in Europe after it flopped with U.S. audiences.

The film, which stars Mel Gibson in his first major role after a series of scandals tainted his reputation in Hollywood, fell flat on its opening weekend in the United States with ticket sales of just over $100,000.

But an audience of critics at Cannes, where introspective or psychological movies often go down better than elsewhere, laughed loudly several times during a screening and applauded at the end, with one spectator even whooping in delight.

The Beaver, which is not in competition for the Palme d'Or prize for best picture, shifts between comedy and drama as it follows Gibson's character -- a CEO crippled by depression -- through a radical therapy to regain his mental health.

Using a beaver with a British cockney accent as a ventriloquist's hand-puppet, Gibson's character completes a radical about-face in terms of mental health as he revamps his toy company, renews ties with his wife and starts his life anew.

Director Foster defended Gibson as an actor and professional, making light of his personal problems after recordings surfaced of him making an anti-Semitic rant and yelling at his ex-wife.

"He's an outstanding actor: he can do the humorous side and the dark side," said Foster, 48, who has directed four movies including The Beaver. "Most of all he understands that characters struggle... He is somebody who wants to change, who doesn't want to be himself -- that is part of Mel."

Asked what it was like to direct Gibson, whose private life was in turmoil during the shooting, Foster described him as "the least neurotic actor" she had ever worked with and someone willing to reveal himself on-screen.

In the movie, Gibson's character starts out in the depths of clinical depression, drinking himself into a stupor before he tries to hang himself from a shower curtain rod and crashes into the bathtub, wrapped in the curtain.

With its dark subject matter and wry sense of humor, the movie failed to find an audience in the United States, but its producer Keith Redmon said he still held out hope for success in DVD sales and other venues.

"It's not just about the box office -- there are many ways to recoup a film," he said. "We know it will be an issue of time rather than just the first weekend."

Foster skirted the question of money altogether. "I've learned ... that if you gauge your self-worth at the box office, you will be a very sorry person," she said.

Foster thinks Cannes film can be 'therapeutic' for Gibson

Jodie Foster drew cheers at Cannes on Tuesday for her latest film "The Beaver" and said she thought the experience of making it could be "therapeutic" for her troubled star Mel Gibson.

The small-budget drama, directed by Foster and featuring Gibson as a depressed toy company executive who turns to a beaver hand puppet to help him get his life back on track, had a shaky opening at US cinemas this month.

But critics in Cannes, where the film is screening out of competition, embraced the eccentric picture in which two-time Oscar winner Foster plays Gibson's confused wife, showering it with frequent laughs and a warm round of applause at a packed presentation.

Gibson, who has faced allegations of domestic violence and been caught in a string of misogynistic and anti-Semitic rants in recent years, skipped the traditional post-screening press conference but was due to appear on the red carpet for the gala festival screening.

"He won't be talking but he'll be here," Foster, 48, quipped as she fielded reporters' questions in English as well as her fluent French.

Much of the discussion around the film has centred on the unusual overlap between the on-screen storyline and Gibson's off-screen travails, and whether his presence in the film would be box-office poison.

Foster said she had counted Gibson, 55, as a close friend for several years and believed their work together on the movie would help him with his inner demons.

"Anything that you do, that you obsess about and give that much to for six months of your life ... allows you to look deeper at yourself and at the people around you and the fact of what you do has to have some kind of therapeutic, cathartic end," she said.

"I think that he's proud of the movie. I think he's proud of what he's shown and he wants people to see that side of him. He's an incredibly private man yet he shows on screen (something) as deep as you can possibly get. That's our way as actors, I think, of telling people, this is who I really am."

She said his notorious private life clearly fed into the role of Walter, who speaks in a Cockney accent through the beaver puppet at work, at the family dinner table and even in his marital bed to reveal his fears and desires.

"He was definitely the first on my list mostly because he's somebody who really understands how to handle humour and the lightness and the charm of the character but also has a deep understanding of the struggles," she said.

Foster said despite his public image, Gibson was "so unneurotic" as an actor that he was a pleasure to work with and actually quite popular among directors.

"I can't excuse Mel's behaviour -- only he can explain that. (But) I do know the man that I know. He's been a friend for many, many years and somebody who is probably the most loved actor in Hollywood," she said.

"As a friend he is kind and loyal and thoughtful. I can spend hours on the phone with him talking about life. He's complex and I appreciate his complexity and what his complexity brings to his work.

"This is an extraordinary performance and I am nothing but grateful for that and for what he gave to this movie. He just gave from his heart without asking for anything in return."

Foster brushed aside concerns about ticket sales, saying she was confident her "very high-concept" picture would find its audience.

"It's an independent film -- it wasn't designed to be loved by everybody," she said.

"If you gauge your self worth on your box office you will be a very sorry person. I am not my box office."

Foster, 'Beaver' do Gibson's talking at Cannes

In Mel Gibson's new movie "The Beaver" a hand puppet does most of his talking. At the Cannes Film Festival, Jodie Foster continued to supply the words for her pal.

Foster, director and co-star of the dark comic drama, spoke for Gibson, who skipped Tuesday's news conference for the movie as he lays low after the latest scandal in his private life.

Gibson was expected to turn up on the red carpet for the festival's glitzy premiere of "The Beaver" later, though Foster said would remain mum.

"He will be here," said Foster, who has been friends with Gibson since they co-starred in 1994's "Maverick." "He won't be talking, but he will be here."

Gibson has stayed out of the limelight in the months leading up to the U.S. theatrical debut of "The Beaver" on May 6, while Foster has been out publicizing the film and defending her star after his ugly breakup from then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who had accused Gibson of striking her. Gibson pleaded no-contest and has been sentenced to three years probation for the incident.

As Foster was editing "The Beaver" last year, recordings surfaced of disturbing arguments riddled with sexist and racist comments that purportedly occurred between Gibson and Grigorieva.

"I can't excuse Mel's behavior. Only he can explain that," Foster told reporters at Cannes. "But I do know the man that I know. He's been a friend for many, many years, and as a friend, he is kind and loyal and thoughtful, and I can spend hours on the phone with him talking about life. And he's complex, and I appreciate his complexity and what his complexity brings to his work."

The film stars Gibson as a suicidally depressed husband and father who tries to sort through his problems with an unlikely therapist, a beaver puppet through which he communicates with his wife (Foster), their two sons and his colleagues at the failing toy company he runs.

The puppet initially rejuvenates his home life and business, but it gradually turns into a dangerous alter-ego that forces Gibson's character to an even darker place.

Critics have praised the performance as one of the best of Gibson's career, some viewing it as almost an on-screen therapy session for the actor to work on his own troubled life.

"The Beaver" was shot before the blowup over his relationship with Grigorieva, which further eroded Gibson's reputation in Hollywood after his anti-Semitic rant during a drunken-driving arrest in 2006.

Foster said she did not know whether the film might help restore Gibson's tarnished reputation, but it does offer a glimpse of his soul.

"Anything that you do that you obsess about and think about and give that much to, for six months of your life in his case and for years in mine, allows you to look deeper at yourself and at the people around you, at the effect of what you do, and that has to have kind of a therapeutic, cathartic end," Foster said.

"I think he's proud of what he's shown, and I think he wants people to see that side of him. And he's an incredibly private man, so what he shows on the screen is as deep as you could possibly get, and that's our way as actors of telling people, `This is who I really am.'"

Crew responsible for cut Gibson cameo

Moviemaker Todd Phillips has spoken out about his decision to cut a Mel Gibson cameo from his The Hangover sequel, insisting it just wasn't worth upsetting members of his crew just for two minutes of film.

The director invited the embattled star to shoot a hilarious cameo in the movie, but too many crew members were upset about the idea, following the release of Gibson's rage-filled phone rant aimed at his ex-lover Oksana Grigorieva and her allegations he attacked her.

Movie star Zach Galifianakis was singled out as the cast member who was opposed to Gibson's involvement in the comedy sequel, but Phillips tells Entertainment Weekly magazine it was others who made him change his mind and replace the movie star with Liam Neeson.

He explains, "A lot of people voiced opinions. Yes, I'm the director and I could have said f**k you to everybody and this is what we're doing, but I also have to put the movie ahead of my own ego and say, 'What's best for the movie when we still have 10 weeks ahead of us?'

"The truth is, it's not worth causing a rift in this family... over a two-minute cameo."

Promise Keepers stand behind Gibson

Promise Keepers president Dr. Raleigh Washington believes that God is continuing to use Mel Gibson as a messenger -- despite his many public problems.

The head of the prominent Christian ministry -- which threw tremendous support behind Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of Christ -- says the troubled actor still has a powerful message for Christians.

"I believe that God used Mel Gibson mightily for the Passion of Christ," Washington tells USA TODAY. "And I believe He is going to continue to use him."

Christian leaders who had supported Gibson during his film have been remarkably quiet in the wake of the actor's widely publicized woes from last summer, which came on top of the fallout from his infamous 2006 drunk driving arrest in Malibu.

But Washington says that movie-goers and Christians should forgive the actor whose new film, The Beaver, opened to a poor box office take last weekend.

"The times a person is granted forgiveness is directly related to the times that person takes responsibility and genuinely repents," says Washington. "If this is his second or third time, it doesn't disqualify him."

Washington says he's interested in seeing The Beaver and is inclined to give the same support as he gave The Passion of Christ.

"That was a religious movie from beginning to end. It would have been shame on us to not get behind that one," he says. "In the case of The Beaver, the story looks like it's about the redemption of mankind. I can support that."

Oksana -- I Don't Want Mel Back!

Oksana Grigorieva wants nothing to do with Mel Gibson in any romantic sense whatsoever ... TMZ has learned -- despite her attempts to contact the actor.

Oksana's publicist, Steve Jaffe, tells TMZ, Oksana wants "zero contact" with Mel ... other than to ensure the well-being of Lucia.

Jaffe adds, "Oksana never wants a relationship with Mel ever again. All she wants is to be a good, responsible co-parent."

TMZ broke the story ... Oksana's been trying to communicate with Mel for months, according to sources -- despite the fact that Mel is adamant he wants nothing to do with her.

Oksana Probably Won't Use Tapes Against Mel

The secret tapes that made Mel Gibson really famous in a bad way are about to become irrelevant.

Oksana Grigorieva's lawyer, Dan Horowitz, told the judge in the custody case this AM that he may not even introduce the racial and other tirades into evidence.

It's not shocking that Horowitz is backing off the tapes. A few weeks ago he told the judge Oksana would not be raising the domestic violence issue in the case.

The tapes could surface if Oksana files a civil lawsuit against Mel, but it's starting to look iffy at best that such a case would even be filed. Oksana's damages would be limited, even if she won, so it may not be financially worth the trouble.

Moviegoers not eager to see Mel Gibson's "Beaver"

Mel Gibson's long-delayed first movie since he was embroiled in a messy domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend flopped at the weekend box office in North America.

"The Beaver," an offbeat comedy-drama directed by and co-starring his close friend, Jodie Foster, earned just $104,000 during its first three days of limited release in 22 theaters, its distributor said on Sunday.

Its per-theater average of $4,745 ranks at No. 62 among the 139 limited-release movies tracked this year by Box Office Mojo. Among recent prestige debuts in a similar number of theaters, "Black Swan" opened to an $80,000 per-theater average last December and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" to $9,900 in March 2010.

The $21 million film will expand across North America on May 20, coinciding with a screening at the Cannes Film Festival, said closely held distributor Summit Entertainment.

Gibson, 55, stars as a suicidal businessman who finds salvation in a furry hand puppet he has salvaged from the trash. Critics were enthusiastic about his performance, pointing to eerie parallels between his character's alcoholic haze and the actor's own real-life problems.

"If you can get past your feelings for the troubled Gibson, you get to watch a high-wire performance of the highest caliber," said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers.

Filming was completed more than a year ago, but the release was put on hold after audio tapes were leaked last summer of an angry Gibson threatening the mother of his baby daughter as their brief relationship hit the rocks. It eventually premiered in March at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Texas.


The "Braveheart" and "Passion of the Christ" director has struggled to recapture his box office magic in recent years as his personal life has taken center stage. He made anti-Semitic slurs in 2006 while being arrested for drunk driving, duly apologized and went into rehab.

His wife of almost 30 years filed for divorce in 2009, and Gibson fathered a daughter later that year with his girlfriend, a Russian pianist. That relationship blew up in spectacular fashion last year with a vicious custody battle highlighted by the leaked telephone voicemails.

Gibson told Deadline Hollywood last month that the rant should be seen "in the context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship."

But the damage to his tarnished reputation was done. His Hollywood agents dumped him, and he was dropped from a cameo role in the upcoming "Hangover" sequel after a revolt by the comedy's stars.

He was last in theaters with the thriller "Edge of Darkness," which opened to an encouraging $17 million in January 2010 but quickly faded to a $43 million finish.

Since 2001 he has starred in just six movies, of which three were wide releases and only one of those -- 2002's "Signs" -- was a big hit.

He has had better luck as a director with 2006's "Apocalypto" ($51 million) and the 2004 smash "The Passion of the Christ" ($371 million).

Mel Gibson seeks new voice in glove-puppet movie

It's sounds an unlikely basis for a Hollywood movie: a depressed husband takes to communicating through a beaver glove puppet, as he struggles to rebuild his life.

Add that he is played by Mel Gibson -- the actor ostracized by Tinsel Town since an 2006 anti-Semitic drunk-driving tirade -- and that the brown furry beaver has a thick cockney accent, and, well, questions multiply.

But Jodie Foster, who both stars in and directs "The Beaver," out in North America on Friday, insists Gibson gives the performance of a lifetime, and reception of the film was positive at a press screening.

"Mel was brilliant. Mel Gibson's performance is extraordinary, and he was really the best actor for this and I'm grateful of the performance he gave, he's my friend," she told a small group of reporters.

Gibson's career has struggled since his 2006 arrest for drunk driving, which exploded into a major scandal because of anti-Semitic remarks he made to a highway patrol officer.

The star of "Braveheart" -- for which Gibson won two Oscars in 1996 -- had no starring role on the big screen from 2005 until last year's thriller "Edge of Darkness."

In March this year he was ordered to follow a one-year domestic violence counseling program, and serve three years of probation, in a plea bargain to avoid jail over the alleged abuse of his ex-partner.

Two-times Oscar winner Foster, directing her third movie, insists Gibson will overcome the nightmare of the last few years.

"I think that's something that Mel understands in a very personal way, wanting to change and wanting to transform and worried that he can't transform," said the 48-year-old, promoting the movie in Beverly Hills.

And the star of "Silence of the Lambs" defends the film's depiction of a man struggling with mental illness.

"I think there are many genuine examples in our culture over and over again where people will don a different personality, split themselves, in order to cope with an overwhelming situation," she said.

"We see that in everyday life, that there are things you know you just can't face, so you find a way to cope."

She wasn't the first filmmaker linked to the project -- the screenplay was on Hollywood's "Black List" of top unproduced scripts in 2008, according to the LA Times newspaper.

"I read the script for 'The Beaver' and loved it, but there was another director involved at that time," she said.

"It was such a raw and beautiful first movie for a first time writer that I kept saying to everybody, 'Listen, if anything happens, call me up'. And that's exactly what happened."

Then she had to find a distributor, no easy task given the subject matter and Gibson's reputation. Gibson also offered to help promote the film, Foster said, although in the end he has kept a low-profile before its release.

Eventually they persuaded Summit -- the company that released the "Twilight" movies and the 2009 best picture Oscar winner "The Hurt Locker" -- to back it, including both with Gibson, and a violent self-harm scene.

"Summit was the only distributor that said yes to two things: Yes to the violent scene, and yes it's Mel Gibson," she said.

Can `The Beaver' help mend Mel Gibson's career?

His name has been more synonymous in recent years with volatility and vitriol than Hollywood glitz and glamour. He's been one of the most powerful people in this town, but a series of rants and scandals has prompted some of the industry's top players to say they won't work with him.

And yet Mel Gibson is back this week in the dark comedy "The Beaver," directed by and co-starring his longtime friend Jodie Foster, as a man who falls into such a deep depression, he can only communicate with the outside world through a beaver hand puppet.

Reviews have been positive, yet can this risky picture restore the two-time Oscar winner's reputation, and will it inspire the public to embrace him once more?

"They're going to think his performance is extraordinary," said Rob Friedman, co-chairman and CEO of Summit Entertainment, which is releasing "The Beaver." "People have their own issues in their personal lives and for the most part they aren't in the public eye the way a movie star like Mel Gibson is. They resolve them without the scrutiny and intense focus."

Gibson stars as Walter Black, a toy company executive who suffers from such heavy despair, his wife (played by Foster) kicks him out of the house and away from their two sons. After a botched suicide attempt, he finds an unusual method of returning to reality: by speaking through a beaver hand puppet he finds in a trash bin.

Gibson's dramatic moments harken to his work in films like "Ransom," "The Patriot" and "Braveheart" — which earned him Oscars for best picture and best director. Yet his manic, comic scenes call to mind the charisma the 55-year-old actor made his name on decades ago in the "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" pictures.

Both extremes serve as a reminder of how versatile and gifted Gibson can be as an actor, but viewers will surely look for ways in which art imitates life in this tale of instability and mental illness.

Last summer, as Foster was editing "The Beaver," a series of recordings surfaced of disturbing arguments that purportedly had occurred between Gibson and his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, Oksana Grigorieva. They were full of sexist and racist comments, and they simultaneously made Gibson a pariah and fodder for late-night comedians.

Last fall, Gibson had been cast in a cameo as a tattoo artist in the sequel "The Hangover Part II," but director Todd Phillips ended up cutting him when he received protests from some members of the cast and crew.

Earlier this year, Gibson pleaded no contest after being charged with misdemeanor spousal battery for a January 2010 fight he had with Grigorieva at his Malibu home.

But Foster stuck by her friend, with whom she co-starred in 1994's "Maverick." She also stuck by Gibson in 2006, when he was arrested for drunken driving, and a deputy's report revealed that he'd used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

"I'm not defending his behavior," she said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "I'm defending the man that I know. And I know he's kind and loyal and is an incredible professional."

Still, the timing of all these events made releasing "The Beaver" tricky. Summit originally planned to have it in theaters last fall, then moved it to this spring, and now it's coming out in limited release on Friday before expanding May 20.

"It's taken the focus away from what we wanted. That's one of the reasons we moved the movie out of last year, at the height of the chaos that was occurring," Friedman said, adding that Gibson was supportive of the move.

"The Beaver" generated strong word of mouth when it premiered at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas, in March. The festival's producer, Janet Pierson, said she was intrigued by its premise, and that mattered more to her than any gossip about Gibson.

"With a lot of artists — a lot of really incredibly fascinating, incredibly talented people — one would not want to look too closely at a lot of their private lives," Pierson said. "I thought the film was so moving, just beautifully done and perfectly etched, and it's about some real issues."

Early reviews for the movie, and especially for Gibson's work, have been strong.

"With the dusky corners Gibson has revealed of his own psyche," wrote AP Movie Writer David Germain, "' The Beaver' is not only a showcase for a great performance, but also, an intriguing academic study of where Walter ends and Gibson begins."

Still, it's impossible to tell just yet whether the positive response to "The Beaver" will help salvage Gibson's reputation.

"It's in the gutter right now. A lot of people don't want to work with him, he's in trouble," said longtime celebrity publicist Howard Bragman. "He's got a movie coming out that, under the best of circumstances, would be a tough sell. It's a very dark movie — a lot of people were afraid to make it. The buzz is great on his performance, and Jodie Foster is an amazing director. Nobody's denying Mel's ability as an actor. I think he's good. But it's not going to save his career."

Veteran Hollywood observer Tom O'Neil, columnist for, suggested that Gibson has been too reticent and hasn't appeared sufficiently contrite. Gibson's representatives declined repeated interview requests from The Associated Press.

"Mel Gibson has gone from 'Braveheart' hero to tabloid hellcat, and `The Beaver' seems like a ploy for sympathy: He's setting himself up as the victim of depression," O'Neil said. "This man beat up the mother of his daughter and raged against blacks and Jews. These sins are so huge, and with `The Beaver,' he seems to be acknowledging this by taking on the movie role and then hiding behind the hand puppet."

Friedman, who's been friends with Gibson for 30 years, said that's not the man he knows. "He has a lot of very, very supportive friends who have been lifelong friends who come from various ethnic backgrounds and we support him. I don't think anybody would support him if they felt he were racist or anti-Semitic."

Bragman suggested that Gibson, who's directed and produced such films as "The Passion of the Christ" and "Apocalypto," should continue working behind the camera as a way to return to form.

"Mel should look for small parts in interesting movies and wind his way back in," he said. "He's never going to get to where he was. Honestly, there are just some people who will never work with him. If Ari Emanuel, the head of one of the two most powerful talent agencies in the world, is saying he won't work with him, that sends a message."

Mel Gibson in 'The Beaver': Art imitates life?

It is easy to draw comparisons between Mel Gibson and Walter Black, the character he plays in The Beaver. Both were once charismatic personalities who, after deep personal setbacks, are struggling mightily to find their way back to a life that has escaped them.

When The Beaver opens in limited release Friday after a long delay, many involved with the film are hoping theatergoers simply admire the performance on the screen and ignore everything that has gone wrong in the personal life of its troubled star.

The Beaver will be a test of whether America, and the critical world, is willing to forgive or forget enough to still watch Gibson on-screen.

"I'm hoping that people can put all of this aside, because really, acting is what he is meant to do," says Anton Yelchin, who plays Gibson's son in the movie. "Mel Gibson gives this brilliant performance of a broken man. It's a pity, but sometimes our culture forgets that at the core of it, his job is to make movies."

Gibson has been in this comeback position before, after his 2006 DUI arrest in Malibu. He apologized on national television, calling the anti-Semitic and sexist remarks made to police officers "the stupid ramblings of a drunkard."

The 2010 film Edge of Darkness was billed as his cinematic return, but quickly sunk off the box office charts.

That July, Gibson's personal life went tabloid nuclear with the release of an alleged threatening taped conversation with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Summit Entertainment immediately pulled the Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver off of its year-end schedule.

"When things started occurring in Mel's life, we wanted the movie to be the topic of conversation ... not other stuff," says Rob Friedman, co-chairman and CEO of Summit Entertainment, the film's distributor.

Summit opted for the spring release due to Foster's availability to promote the film — and the beleaguered actor — she believes in so passionately. While Gibson has remained mostly silent in the film's run-up, Foster has done her best to put a human face on his distorted public image. She points out that her co-star in 1994's Maverick cares little for what remains of his career and is simply acting out of passion for his craft.

"The only reason for him to do it is because it moves him and he loves something," she says. "That's it. He doesn't have to prove anything."

Foster also makes clear that Gibson is a complex man trying to do right, and sometimes failing.

"There's nobody that understands struggle the way Mel does," she says. "He never questioned the path of the film because he understood it so well."

In fact, watching Walter Black's personal struggle — so vivid and raw and echoing Gibson's own — might be enough to draw curious moviegoers into the theater.

"If his personal life factors into him giving a great performance, that's for him to know," Yelchin says. "I don't care what got him there. I only care what I see on screen."

While Gibson's critics have been quiet in the lead-up to the film, so have former allies like the Christian right, which buoyed the Gibson-produced The Passion of Christ to a $370 million domestic box office in 2004. Raleigh Washington, president and CEO of the Promise Keepers, a prominent Christian ministry, doesn't discount supporting The Beaver.

"The man is down and out, has lost everything and did things wrong," Washington says. "But Christian life is all about redeeming people who have blown it. I definitely support and get behind (the film). If there's anything that fits Mel Gibson, considering what he's been through, it's a movie dealing with a person being redeemed."

Oksana DROPS Domestic Violence Claim Against Mel!

In a shocking move in court today ... Oksana Grigorieva just dropped her domestic violence claim against Mel Gibson.

Oksana's lawyer, Dan Horowitz, announced to Judge Scott Gordon ... they would no longer be pursuing the claim that Mel's alleged violence against her is grounds to change the custody order.

Mel's lawyer, Stephen Kolodny and the judge were visibly shocked.

Sources tell us ... Oksana dropped the domestic violence claim as a gesture -- extending an olive branch in an attempt to settle the custody case.

And the DV protective order Oksana obtained -- prohibiting Mel from contacting or harassing her -- has also been terminated. Sources connected with Oksana say she would like to be able to communicate directly with Mel, rather than using intermediaries. No word on whether Mel feels the same way -- though we're guessing not.

Horowitz did not say if Oksana is still pursuing a civil lawsuit against Mel.

Review: Gibson performance brings 'Beaver' to life

Mel Gibson's interpersonal flaws have all but ruined his career. Now with the dark comic drama "The Beaver," Gibson delivers a career performance that salvages a flawed film.

Directed by longtime pal Jodie Foster, who also co-stars, "The Beaver" was shot in between Gibson's 2006 anti-Semitic rant during a drunken-driving arrest and his ugly breakup from ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, which resulted in his no-contest plea and three years on probation after he was accused of striking her last year.

Inevitably, because of the spectacle of Gibson's private life, it will be difficult for viewers to separate the real person from the fictional character in this tale of a suicidal man struggling with depression and inner demons.

"The Beaver" is an unorthodox therapy session for Gibson's Walter Black, a family man at the end of his rope who has a psychiatric break after finding a beaver hand puppet, a piece of cloth and fur that becomes an alter-ego helping him to work through his problems, at least initially.

As Walter and his beaver buddy delve deeper into the nature of depression, viewers likely will ponder whether Gibson was exploring his own dark emotional recesses at the same time.

Maybe, maybe not. Either way, Gibson creates a rich, engrossing portrait of a man in deep distress, playing Walter with great heart and humor where appropriate, and the rest of the time with the disturbing conviction of someone who's been there himself.

Gibson's performance makes the film generally work despite a story from first-time screenwriter Kyle Killen that veers from an absorbing family dynamic into a pointless media circus as Walter and his beaver puppet become national celebrities.

"The Beaver" would have been more effective without the tabloid trappings, if the story had been contained within the narrower and relatable confines of the Black family, which has been torn apart by Walter's depression.

So much so, that as the film opens, his wife, Meredith (Foster), is kicking him out of the house for the good of their two sons, angry 17-year-old Porter (Anton Yelchin) and 7-year-old Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart).

The head of a toy manufacturer he inherited from his uncle, Walter has been in the dumps so long that his household and his business are ready to crumble.

At a low-point when taking his life seems the only option, Walter stumbles on the beaver puppet, through which he begins to speak in a Cockney accent, demanding that others interact with the creature as his proxy.

The beaver speaks like a no-nonsense, working-class shrink, lifting Walter out of his funk, winning over Meredith and Henry, who are glad to have husband and father back in any form, and reviving the fortunes of the toy company.

Porter, clearly dealing with symptoms of potential depression inherited from his father, is the only one who doesn't buy into the beaver, viewing the puppet as a crass ploy for his dad to weasel his way back into the family.

Early on, Gibson yucks it up with charm and vigor as if the beaver were just that and the film were a lightweight comic fantasy about mental illness. "The Beaver" gradually digs much, much deeper as the beaver persona proves to be another symptom of the dark spaces in which Walter has lived much of his life.

It still winds up a mental-illness fantasy, with a forced ending and a convenient side story involving Porter's valedictorian classmate (Jennifer Lawrence) that's there to provide a broader view of family dysfunction.

As in her previous times behind the camera on "Little Man Tate" and "Home for the Holidays," Foster provides a precise, measured setting for the story then steps back and lets her actors perform.

Friends with Gibson since they co-starred in 1994's "Maverick," Foster is a sturdy but muted presence alongside Gibson, whose eyes bespeak a bottomless melancholy even as he works the puppet on his hand with a glib voice and maniacal movements.

Gibson makes the puppet feel like part of his own body and a frightening extension of Walter's subconscious. With the dusky corners Gibson has revealed of his own psyche, "The Beaver" is not only a showcase for a great performance, but also, an intriguing academic study of where Walter ends and Gibson begins.

No matter what he does, what acts of contrition Gibson undertakes, his career will never be the same. Some, perhaps many, in Hollywood will not want to work with him, but as long as friends like Foster stand by the guy, Gibson can find interesting work.

In smaller films than he once starred in, granted, but that happens to virtually all aging actors. With "The Beaver," Gibson shows that for all his personal turmoil, he still may have a career in the twilight years.

"The Beaver," a Summit Entertainment release, is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference. Running time: 91 minutes. Three stars out of four.

Jodie Foster: Mel Gibson Is Misunderstood

Jodie Foster's latest flick, The Beaver, has been one of the most talked-about movies in Hollywood since before it even began shooting. But it isn't the film's subject matter, or its trouble getting off the ground, that has people's attention. It's Foster's unyielding support of her costar Mel Gibson.

And with casts like the one from The Hangover Part II making sure to distance themselves from the veteran actor following his made-public meltdowns, many have wondered why Foster was so adamant about sticking by her pal. Now she's opening up and revealing how the Mel she's familiar with isn't the same guy the public thinks it knows.

"[The] Mel that I know, the man that I know, that I've known for a very long time as a friend, is an incredibly deep thinker," Foster told E! News. "He's somebody who's thoughtful and loyal and thinks about struggle and that's somebody who understands struggle in a very personal way."

Foster goes on to paint a picture of a man who's more than a movie star: "Surely people misunderstand when they don't know him at all. I mean, they don't know him at all, and why would you know a complete stranger? You don't. I mean, the only way that people know him is his beautiful work and what he brings to his work, and they know him by his professional reputation which is stellar."

The two Academy Award winners first starred together in 1994's Maverick, and this isn't the first time she's stuck by her pal's side. She famously supported Gibson back in 2006 in the wake of the scandal following his reported use of anti-Semitic slurs during a drunken driving arrest. And once again, despite Gibson's seeming pariah status thanks to leaked phone conversations between him and his ex Oksana Grigorieva, Foster states that what the public has seen and heard isn't Gibson's true self.

"They [the public] know him by private conversations being taped and broadcast on the Internet," she says. "I know the man I know. I've known him for a very long time, and we've had a lot of conversations about his life, about you know, my life, about work. He's a deep and complex man, that is true. But he's an incredible friend, an incredibly sensitive and, you know, interesting, interesting man."

Guess we'll have to take her word for it.

Jodie Foster says Mel Gibson is still 'beloved'

Mel Gibson has had more ugly scandals than hit movies in the past five years, but longtime friend Jodie Foster still feels he's "the most beloved actor" in Hollywood.

Foster stuck by Gibson when he was reported to have made anti-Semitic and sexist slurs in 2006 and she's still defending him now that he's pleaded no contest after being charged with misdemeanor spousal battery for a fight he had with his then-girlfriend.

"I'm not defending his behavior," she said in a recent interview. "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."

Foster, who first costarred with Gibson in "Maverick" in 1994, finds it strange that she's been criticized for being loyal to him.

"When somebody's struggling, you don't run away from them, you love them and you stand close to them," she said.

Foster says the difference between Gibson and anyone else who's experienced pain is that Gibson's troubles were made public.

"As I said to him before," Foster explained, "I don't mind seeing you in your underwear, but I'm not interested in seeing your underwear against your will. A lot of mistakes that people make, that we've all made — which, by the way, I don't think are as unusual as people might think — aren't usually played out" on the news.

Foster plays Gibson's wife in the upcoming film "The Beaver," a movie she also directed. It's about a depressed man who can only speak to his family and co-workers through a beaver puppet he wears on his left hand.

The movie is serious, for the most part, but that didn't stop Gibson, a notorious prankster, from having some fun on the set, Foster recalled.

Gibson pulled a practical joke on Foster during a kissing scene they filmed in the shower in which Gibson mocked Foster's tendency to break out if a guy hadn't shaved before kissing her.

After locking lips with Foster, Gibson bent down so she couldn't see what he was doing and when he stood up, Foster said the actor's "whole face is broken out, totally red." She shouted, "What did I do to you? Was it my skin?" Then, Foster continues, "he starts going `She's an animal! Look what she did to my face! She's an animal!' All day. That's what I got all day."

But it was no joke when Gibson ended up with a bloody head filming a scene where he and the beaver puppet get into a fight. The scene called for Gibson to use the puppet to smash a lamp over his head, but Foster says the prop guy didn't properly score it.

"He smacked his head open and lots of blood came pouring out," the actress said, "but he did finish the take" and that's the one used in the movie.

Though most of Gibson's personal trauma happened before he started filming, he was in the middle of a custody battle with his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva when he had to return to the set to film his final scenes. Yet Foster says Gibson was a pro that day.

"That's what we do for a living. It's focus. But, there's a lot of pain in his face and I'm so grateful in some ways that he is as deep a person as he is," the actress said. "He has lived through a lot of struggle in his young life as well as now. He brings all of that depth of feeling to what he does on screen and I'm really grateful to what a deep person he is."

Gibson showed a different side in a series of phone calls with Grigorieva. The 55-year-old Oscar-winner's sexist and racist rants were leaked to celebrity website

Grigorieva also accused Gibson of hitting her during a fight at his Malibu home in January 2010.

He was charged with misdemeanor spousal battery. As part of a plea deal, Gibson was put on three years' probation last month. He was also told to get domestic violence counseling for a year and perform 16 hours of community service.

In 2006, Gibson was arrested for drunken driving. A deputy's report leaked to the celebrity website revealed that Gibson used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

None of this changes Foster's opinion of Gibson. "You can pretty much call anyone you like who actually knows him and ask them what they think of him," she says, adding that it would be difficult to find anyone with a bad word to say about the actor. "He's such a good person."

"The Beaver" opens in some cities on May 6 and wider on May 20.

Mel Gibson's Alleged Mistress -- He's NOT A Racist

Mel Gibson has at least ONE person who is backing up his claim that he's NOT a racist -- his alleged mistress -- who swears Mel is a VERY tolerant person behind closed doors.

TMZ spoke with Violet Kowal -- the woman who claims she was Mel's other woman when he was with Oksana -- who tells us, "Violent, racist, anti-Semitic ... are you serious? When I was around Mel, he never once made any racist or derogatory comments about anyone."

She adds, "The people who are close to him knows better than anyone ... he was very kind to me, my friends and family whom are all from different walks of life."

Violet is adamant, "[Mel] will recover from this incident and prove that those tapes does not reflect on who he really is."

Earlier this week, Mel gave an interview to ... explaining the infamous recordings were simply, "One terribly awful moment in time, said to one person in the span of one day, and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life."

Mel Gibson Doesn't Care If He Never Acts Again

He has nearly 50 movie and TV credits to his name, but Mel Gibson says he doesn't care if he's ever in front of a camera again.

"I could easily not act again. It's not a problem," the troubled actor-filmmaker, 55, tells Deadline Hollywood in his first major interview since a series of leaked audiotapes documenting his rants to ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva dominated summer headlines. Gibson adds that he's going to work again with Randy Wallace, who wrote the script for the 1995 Best Picture Oscar winner Braveheart.

While Gibson may seem willing to give up and not look back on his career, he expresses regret over what he said on the tapes, where he unleashed expletives on Grigorieva, 41. Among his statements to her: "How dare you act like such a b---- when I'm being so f------ nice."

"I was angry at me," Gibson says of his rants. "But no one expressed any anger at me. They may have felt it."

In his defense, he adds: "Who anticipates being recorded? Who anticipates that? Who could anticipate such a personal betrayal?"

Says Tapes Were Edited

He understands the backlash, but he's also wishes to remind those who were angered by his rants that the tapes were edited.

"You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship," he says. "It's one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life."

Gibson will next be seen on the big screen in The Beaver with Jodie Foster, who publicly defended the actor. Foster and Whoopi Goldberg were among the short list of Hollywood voices that spoke up for Gibson during his travails – but, once again, he says he doesn't care.

"Why would anyone want to speak publicly and drag themselves through this crap? It seems to add fuel to the fire," he says. "Very many people are supportive, of course, but you find out who your friends are."

Moving On

From a drunk-driving incident turned anti-Semitic tirade in 2006 to the making of 2004's controversial The Passion of the Christ, Gibson isn't new to storms. In his defense, the actor plays with the persona of the reluctant star, insisting that he made the "spur of the moment" decision to act in his early 20s, but that when it comes to fame, "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube."

His latest setback: Last October, his cameo in The Hangover 2 was canceled because of reported protests from the cast and crew. But he's not hung-up about it.

"You have to let that go," he says. "You just move on and go, okay, I'm not greatly offended by it. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it went south."

Mel Gibson Says Tapes Were Edited: "Who Could Anticipate Such a Personal Betrayal?"

Mel Gibson is talking. (Quietly, and in a reasonable manner.)

"Who anticipates being recorded? Who anticipates that? Who could anticipate such a personal betrayal?" the actor said in his first sit-down since recordings of him lashing out at baby mama Oksana Grigorieva hit the Internet—and he ultimately pleaded no contest to hitting her.

"Of course" Gibson feels regret about what was on those tapes, he says, according to the interview obtained by Deadline Hollywood. But he also claims that the leaked tapes "were edited" and that he has "never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality—period."

"You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship," Gibson says. "It's one terribly, awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life."

He says that "no one expressed any anger" at him after the tapes reared their ugly words, though "they may have felt it."

As for the charge that he hit Grigorieva, with whom he has a year-old daughter, Lucia, Gibson pointed out that he was able to "end the case and still maintain my innocence."

"I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine," he figured. "But I ended it for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don't drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I'll take the hit and move on."

But while longtime friends like Jodie Foster, who directed him in his latest film, The Beaver, and Whoopi Goldberg controversially expressed their support—"I always liked her and loved her. I like her even more now because she got it," Gibson says—the one-time box office superstar knows that he almost certainly did irreparable damage to his career.

"I don't care if I act anymore," he says bluntly, calling it the truth.

"I'm beyond [people judging him], way beyond that. The whole experience has been most unfortunate. And so it's not without all the downside."

"I could easily not act again. It's not a problem," Gibson insists. "I'm going to do something now because I want to do it and because it's fun. I've already pulled another job and it's going to be fun. I don't know if it's going to get off the ground, but I'm going to go work for [Braveheart scribe] Randy Wallace's almost like Alexander Dumas—like that swashbuckler kind of stuff."

"But it's funny," he added. "Randy writes a decent script. And I responded to it right away. I thought, This is hilarious. I've got to do this. And I'm not the main guy in the film—which is great."

Speaking of which, Gibson was also asked how he felt about being passed over for a cameo in The Hangover Part II, which like the first film will feature Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist.

"You have to let that go," he said. "I sat here and talked to [director Todd Phillips] about it. I like Todd. How could you not like Todd?"

But, "It shows you a few things. You just move on and go OK. I'm not greatly offended by it. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it went south."

Citing all the legal stuff "still pending," Gibson couldn't affirmatively answer when asked about the rumored $16 million settlement Grigorieva had received.

"Everybody has a dog in the fight but me, oddly enough," he said. "I haven't got a lawsuit out on anyone because I think it's extremely...You have to think about your children. That's all there is to it. I can't really discuss this. There are a lot of delicate and sensitive issues and I don't want to be the cause of grief to any of my children or to friends or family or associates on either side because it's a matter that should be dealt with."

Even if he weren't under a court order, he added, he likes to think he'd still choose to "stay mum."

"It doesn't do any good [to air the dirty laundry publicly]," Gibson said. "Maybe, when this is all over and hopefully, justice is achieved, maybe I could say something. But I'd never want to leave anything lying around that would...A lot of damage has been done. I don't want to add to it."

Mel Gibson Out at a Nightclub (Yes, Really)

(Video) Of all the places you would think our photogs would spot Mel Gibson on a Saturday night, darting out of Colony Nightclub in Hollywood would have to be the last.

It's no contest ... definitely the most surprising sighting of the weekend.

Mel's Malibu Estate -- Spruced Up, On the Market

(Photos) Mel Gibson's Malibu estate -- where he and Robyn raised their 7 children -- has just been put on the market again for an affordable $14.5 million.

Mel and Robyn put the house on the market a year ago for $14.5 mil, but took it off recently. One source familiar with the home tells TMZ, "They wanted to spruce it up and re-list it."

The property is 5,403 square feet, with 6 bedrooms in the main house.

Mel Gibson's Surprising Ally: Investigators Pushed Hard for Oksana Extortion Charges

Earlier this month, the district attorney quietly announced, ahead of Mel Gibson's arraignment on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, that it had decided not to charge Oksana Grigorieva with extortion after she allegedly tried to bilk $20 million from the actor in exchange for keeping his infamous phone rants under wraps.

Well, it turns out that Mel wasn't the only one pissed about that decision.

The lead detective investigating the case reportedly pushed hard for not one but three extortion charges to be formally filed against Oksana, declaring as much in a letter written to the prosecution in charge of the case. The letter itself was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

In the document, Det. Rodney Wagner argued that the Sheriff's Department's six-month investigation into the accusations showed definitive evidence that Grigorieva made "implied threats" against Gibson, who himself knows from intimidation.

Specifically, Wagner cited a meeting that took place between Grigorieva's lawyers and Gibson's representatives, in which Team Oksana made it clear that the tapes' surfacing would "ruin" Mel's career.

"By discussing the potential damage to Mr. Gibson's career if the 'evidence' were to be released to the was my opinion, that constituted a threat," wrote Wagner.

Incidentally, the L.A. Times also pointed out—you know, just 'cause—that Grigorieva's lead attorney, Eric George, is a campaign fundraiser for District Attorney Steve Cooley.

However, the D.A.'s office made clear that Wagner's letter of recommendation was just that—a recommendation based on his own opinion—and that the lawyers in the case were in no way beholden to it.

And clearly they disagreed, as the D.A.'s office—who Wagner said required a direct threat to pursue charges rather than just an implied one—ultimately declared that there was "insufficient evidence" to charge Grigorieva.

Gibson, as we know, didn't fare quite so well.

Robert Downey Jr. & Mel Gibson: Double-Double Date

Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson got together for a friendly celebrity power lunch yesterday, but it didn't go down at one of those super-expensive Hollywood joints -- they got burgers at In-N-Out ... TMZ has learned.

The old friends found themselves out in Irvine, CA when the hunger pangs hit -- so they went to every West Coasters favorite fast food spot.

According to a witness, they each ordered a Double-Double combo meal and dined with a third person, non-celebrity. They were joined by a friend, who did the ordering for them.

BTW -- We know the pic is blurry, but we've confirmed ... it's definitely them.

No word on why the two were in Irvine together, but we're told it definitely wasn't for a movie.

Mel Gibson -- Kid Tested, Father Approved

Mel Gibson is set to begin his court ordered community service at a kid's charity in L.A. soon -- and he's already getting support from some of the parents ... TMZ has learned.

In fact, one set of parents associated with Mending Kids International tells us they're more than happy to help give the actor a "brand new start" because Mel has helped fund a life-changing series of operations for their foster son over the past couple of years.

James Nicol tells us his Ethiopian-born son Berhanu was only able to undergo an expensive series of medical procedures to help fix severe spinal issues ... thanks, in part, to Mel's generosity.

Nicol says his family is still active with the organization ... and they're excited for any assistance Mel can provide ... despite the fact his community service is the result of a plea deal in a domestic violence case.

James says he completely trusts the actor around his child ... saying, "If Mel was coming over to our house to play ball with my son, I would not be the least bit concerned."

"The Beaver" Film Review

Bottom Line: Less nutty and more moving than its premise suggests, Jodie Foster's on-target dramedy transcends its real-world baggage.

A risky bet that pays off solidly, Jodie Foster's The Beaver survives its life/art parallels -- thanks to its star, Mel Gibson -- to deliver a hopeful portrait of mental illness that while quirky is serious and sensitive. Despite obvious hurdles, with smart marketing it could connect with a wide audience.

Those echoes of Mel Gibson's well-publicized breakdowns are impossible to ignore in an opening sequence introducing us to his character Walter Black, who first appears floating in a pool, arms outstretched like Christ's. A few shots later, we see this "hopelessly depressed man," who has tried everything to remedy his condition, flagellating himself like a Catholic penitent.

Whether intentional or not, this front-and-center reminder works almost as an inoculation to viewers for whom controversy might be a distraction from drama: Having put it out there frankly (much as the protagonist will soon do, in more outlandish ways, with his own issues), the movie kills a bit of our morbid curiosity; our awareness that this depressed character is being played by a troubled actor never vanishes, but it is allowed to inform the story at hand.

Introducing the film's debut here, Foster warned that it is not a comedy. Yet Beaver starts firmly in that mode, even using upbeat music (Marcelo Zarvos' bouncier version of Astor Piazzola's moody tangonuevo) and slapstick to turn Walter's suicide attempt -- on the eve of his being kicked out by a wife (Foster) who can't accept his years-long hopelessness into an occasion for laughs.

The breakthrough Walter has after that failed attempt is also treated lightly, though it's dead serious for the character: He begins dealing with the world through a beaver puppet he rescued from the garbage, having come to the conclusion that his own psyche is so irreparable he must "blow it up" and start over again.

He returns home and to the workplace, dealing with people not directly but through the Beaver, who speaks with a Cockney accent and shows aplomb with situations that have stymied Walter for years. The readiness with which most people accept this strategy (that Walter presents as a legit psychological therapy, invented to distance himself from his pain) is believable in part because it works so well for him -- and Foster stages shots that deftly bring the fuzzy animal to life, jostling with Gibson in the frame and occasionally meeting the camera's gaze to help us see him as Walter does.

Foster and the script (Kyle Killen's first feature) continue to earn non-mocking laughs with the scenario, sometimes simultaneously planting seeds of problems to come -- as when husband and wife consummate their reunion with a funny but troubling puppet threesome.

The tone takes a firmly dark turn when Foster's Meredith, impatient with the "therapy," insists on seeing her husband sans Beaver for their anniversary dinner. Exposed and frightened, Walter breaks down. Gibson, hyperventilating and with eyes darting in panic, offers a more affecting, less romantically dramatic collapse than some he has created in earlier film roles and he continues to underplay this state of mind (darting eyes aside) as the action grows progressively darker.

Walter's suffering is mirrored by that of his older son Porter (Anton Yelchin), who unlike a younger son who embraces Dad's new friend, is ashamed of his father's illness and pained by similarities he sees in himself. A subplot in which Porter is hired to write a speech for the class valedictorian (a seemingly perfect girl, played by Jennifer Lawrence, suffering her own traumas) looks at first like a straightforward romantic thread but proves to be a poignant reiteration of the movie's themes and culminates, a bit surprisingly, in the film's emotional payoff.

It's very easy to imagine a less gifted filmmaker producing a train wreck of a film using an identical script -- exaggerating the highs, compartmentalizing the lows and casting a mawkish eye on everything from Walter's youngest child to his ever-present suffering. Foster finds the script's subtleties instead, and grounds the film with just enough pain to make it work. Viewers who can shake off tabloid preoccupations as they settle into the film will likely be surprised by a picture that (in a way reminiscent of Lars and the Real Girl) turns a crazy-sounding premise into something moving and sane.

Jodie Foster: You'll See the Real Mel Gibson in His Next Film

Jodie Foster, who has stood by Mel Gibson throughout the very public trials of his private life, hopes audiences reconnect with the actor in his next film – which she directed and also stars in.

"At this particular place, the most beautiful part of Mel, I think, is onscreen," Foster, 48, told PEOPLE at Wednesday's premiere of The Beaver at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. "People will see the movie, and they'll see what an incredibly deep and committed performance he gives, and hopefully they'll have some insight into who Mel is as a human being."

Films may be fiction, Foster says, but they can reveal truths about the actors who work on them.

"Obviously we're playing characters," she says, "but it's our gestures and our psyches that are on the line, and this film is all about a lot of what Mel cares about."

It certainly has an offbeat premise. Half comedy and half tragedy, it stars Gibson, 55, as a clinically depressed man rescued from the brink of suicide by a beaver hand puppet, who becomes his best friend and worst enemy. Foster stars as Gibson's wife.

Gibson was sentenced last week to probation and counseling in a long and sordid battery case involving his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. But Foster says the real Mel Gibson is nothing like the caricature he's become in the media.

People would be surprised, she says, by "what a sensitive person he is, and what an incredibly thoughtful guy he is. He's just an incredibly good friend, and a very thoughtful man."

Mel Gibson's New Mugshot Revealed

(Photo) This isn't the kind of photo opportunity an actor welcomes.

Mel Gibson, 55, had his mugshot taken when he was booked as part of his misdemeanor battery case Wednesday evening in Los Angeles.

"Mr. Gibson was cooperative, he was photographed and fingerprinted at around 9:30 p.m. and was gone in about half an hour," Lt. Ray Garcia of the El Segundo, Calif., Police Department tells PEOPLE.

Gibson pleaded no contest on March 11 to allegedly hitting his ex girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and was sentenced to three years probation and counseling.

Foster grateful for Gibson role in new movie

Jodie Foster premiered the quirky but dark movie "The Beaver" at the South by Southwest Film Festival on Wednesday night, saying she's grateful for the performance by troubled actor and friend Mel Gibson.

The film follows a depressed toy company executive who picks up a hand puppet beaver and uses it to separate himself from the negative aspects of his personality that are destroying his family and career. Foster directed the movie and plays Gibson's wife.

"I can't imagine anybody else doing it. He has such a deep, struggling soul that really understood the part of the movie that's about a man in a spiritual crisis," Foster said on the red carpet before the screening.

Gibson, who recently was sentenced to 36 months of probation and ordered to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of spousal battery on former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, did not attend the premiere.

The battery charge was another blow to Gibson's reputation, which took a major hit after his 2006 arrest for drunken driving. A deputy's report leaked to the celebrity website TMZ revealed the action star had used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

Foster, who has remained a steadfast friend of Gibson, acknowledged the battery charge made release of the film tricky.

"There were all sorts of things that were beyond our control," she told the audience after the movie, "It's been difficult. In the last six months there hasn't been any real audience (for the film). I think we all made the wise decision we should keep the film in some ways private and under wraps until we were ready to release."

Foster said she has no regrets about having Gibson in the movie.

"I feel incredibly grateful to have Mel's performance in this movie and I wouldn't change anything. For anybody who's ever worked with Mel Gibson, he's the most beloved actor probably in the film business, at least of the ones I've worked with," Foster said.

"Obviously all sorts of stuff happened after the film finished that threw our release into a crazy pattern, but I certainly have no regrets about him being in the film or his performance."

"The Beaver" is only the second major film that Gibson has starred in since 2002. It is scheduled to open in select theaters May 6.

Joining Foster at the premiere were actor Anton Yelchin, who plays Foster's son, and writer Kyle Killen.

Killen said he thought up the movie about a man with a beaver puppet on his hand while driving between Los Angeles and Dallas, where his wife was attending medical school. The car didn't have air conditioning for those 22-hour hauls, he said.

"I don't know if I have a brilliant 'bitten by a beaver story,'" Killen said. "You would drive through the desert in the middle of the night and you tend to come up with some crazy stuff."

Jodie Foster has "no regrets" in hiring Mel Gibson

Actor and director Jodie Foster on Wednesday defended her choice of Mel Gibson for the lead role in her movie "The Beaver," saying she had "no regrets" about hiring him despite his personal troubles that delayed its release.

"Obviously all sorts of stuff happened after the film was finished," she said in a question-and-answer session following the movie's premiere at Austin's South by Southwest arts festival on Wednesday night. "I certainly have no regrets about him being in the film and his performance."

Foster's drama was delayed for months beyond its planned U.S. debut last year and had been expected to compete for awards during Hollywood's Oscar season.

The postponement came after a series of audiotapes were posted on celebrity website of a man, widely believed to be Gibson, making a racial slur and sexist comments to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Neither Gibson nor his representatives have confirmed he made the comments but they have not denied it either. Only last week he pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic abuse linked to his bitter breakup with Grigorieva.

Throughout his troubles, Foster has defended her long-time friend and at Wednesday's premiere, she told the audience she felt "incredibly grateful" for Gibson's performance and would not change anything about the movie.

"The Beaver" tells the story of deeply depressed Walter Black (Gibson), his wife (Foster) and teenage son (Anton Yelchin) who do not understand the pain he is in.

He finds a beaver puppet one day in a trash dumpster and, when he slips it onto his hand, he is able to communicate more easily in the voice of the animal which, strangely, has a London cockney accent.

At its heart, the movie explores complex issues surrounding depression and the impact it has on people and families.

Foster, who has directed other films including "Little Man Tate," called making the movie "probably the biggest struggle of my professional career" because of the difficulty striking the right balance between the movie's comedy and drama.

After "The Beaver" screening was finished, she seemed relieved at the warm reception it received from the audience.

"You're all still here," Foster joked when taking the stage for the question-and-answer session.

"The Beaver" opens across the United States in May.

Jodie Foster defends Mel Gibson return to big screen

Jodie Foster has defended scandal-dogged US actor Mel Gibson ahead of his return to the silver screen after several years lying low, saying he is a "sensitive" man with a "lifetime of pain."

"God, I love that man," Foster, who directs and co-stars with fellow Oscar-winner Gibson in their upcoming movie "The Beaver," told industry daily the Hollywood Reporter in an interview out Thursday.

"He brought a lifetime of pain to the character that we've been talking about for years, that I knew was part of his psyche and who he is. It's part of him that is beautiful and that I want people to know, too," she added.

Gibson's career has struggled since his 2006 arrest for drunk driving, which exploded into a major scandal because of anti-Semitic remarks he made to a highway patrol officer.

Last week he was ordered to follow a one-year domestic violence counseling program, and serve three years of probation, in a plea bargain to avoid jail over the alleged abuse of his ex-partner.

The star of "Braveheart" -- for which Gibson won two Oscars in 1996 -- had no starring role on the big screen from 2005 until last year's thriller "Edge of Darkness."

In "The Beaver," he plays a troubled husband and executive who adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating.

Gibson has agreed to do the publicity rounds for the movie, which hits US theaters in May -- putting himself in front of journalists who are likely to ask him questions about the past few years.

"He was like, 'I'll be chained to a car and dragged through gravel for you!' Foster said. "And I'm like, 'That's OK!'"

"He's so incredibly loving and sensitive, he really is," the notoriously private Foster said in one of her most candid interviews in years.

"He is the most loved actor I have ever worked with on a movie. And he's not saintly, and he's got a big mouth, and he'll do gross things your nephew would do. But I knew the minute I met him that I would love him the rest of my life."

Foster will always love Gibson

Actress Jodie Foster stands by Mel Gibson despite his legal woes, confessing she will love the troubled star for the rest of her life.

Foster, who directed Gibson in new movie The Beaver, admits she has a soft spot for the embattled actor and finds it easy to forgive him when he screws up and hits the headlines.

She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "He is the most loved actor I have ever worked with on a movie. And he's not saintly, and he's got a big mouth, and he'll do gross things your nephew would do. But I knew the minute I met him that I would love him the rest of my life."

Foster remained a loyal supporter of the Braveheart star as Gibson faced media scrutiny for his nasty split with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

She continues, "We talked about it all the way through, about what was going on in his life. I don't think he told me until it was something he couldn't handle by himself."

Despite the public backlash, Foster stuck by Gibson as he faced legal troubles for allegedly attacking Grigorieva during a heated argument in January 2010.

She adds, "I know him in a very complex way. He's a real person; he's not a cardboard cutout. I know that he has troubles, and when you love somebody you don't just walk away from them when they are struggling."

Mel Bloodied

Mel Gibson injured himself on the set of "The Beaver," which he filmed just as tapes of him berating then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva were made public. Director Jodie Foster tells the Hollywood Reporter the prop department "messed up" when setting up a lamp: "When he smacked his head, it just -- whoosh! -- blood was gushing . . . I can't tell you how many 'I'm so sorry' notes I sent." The movie premieres at South by Southwest today.

Mel Gibson a granddad again

Actor Mel Gibson became a grandfather for the third time on Saturday, just one day after pleading no contest to misdemeanor battery charges.

Gibson's daughter, Hannah, and her husband, blues singer Kenny Wayne Shepherd, welcomed a baby boy over the weekend, reports The couple already has two children.

The good news follows Gibson's court appearance on Friday, when the actor/director was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to undergo a year of counselling after pleading no contest to a charge of simple misdemeanour battery.

The embattled star's latest legal woe stems from accusations filed against him by his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who alleged Gibson attacked her during a heated argument in January 2010.

The former couple has been locked in a war of words over custody of their baby daughter Lucia since splitting last year.

Mel to Oksana: Sue Me, I'll Sue You!

Mel Gibson will sue Oksana Grigorieva for extortion if she dares sue him ... this according to sources close to Gibson.

As TMZ first reported, Oksana still plans to file a lawsuit against Mel, alleging battery, emotional distress and defamation.

But sources close to Gibson tell us he will wage legal war if Oksana files -- and will NOT settle out of court. In fact, we're told Mel will gladly file his own lawsuit against the woman he says put a $15 million price tag on the tapes in return for keeping them secret.

Looks like this battle has just begun.

Gibson's ex still plans to sue

Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva still plans to sue the embattled actor despite him striking a plea deal over a charge of misdemeanour battery, according to her lawyer.

The Russian singer accused the Lethal Weapon star of attacking her during a bust-up in January 2010 and the pair has been fighting through the courts for custody of their daughter Lucia after splitting last year.

Gibson struck a plea deal with Los Angeles prosecutors to keep him out of jail and on Friday was handed three years probation and ordered by a judge to undergo counselling. He also has to carry out 16 hours of community service and pay almost $600 in fines.

However, Grigorieva's lawyer Daniel Horowitz is adamant his client will continue to sue Gibson for battery, emotional distress and defamation, despite him being sentenced.

When asked by whether she would still file a lawsuit after the plea deal, Horowitz says, "Our position hasn't changed."

Mel Gibson -- Community Service at Wife's Charity

Mel Gibson will perform his court-ordered community service at a charity organization run by his estranged wife ... TMZ has learned.

As part of his sentence, Mel must complete 16 hours of community service between now and June 9 -- and he's chosen to pitch in at Mending Kids International ... where, according to their website, Robyn Gibson serves as the President of the Board of Directors.

The charity is dedicated to providing life-changing surgical care to children in need.

UPDATE: A rep for Mending Kids tells TMZ ... Robyn finished her term as President in December ... and is now in charge of the Malibu branch of the charity.

The rep adds, ""Mel and Robyn Gibson have been tremendous supporters of Mending Kids International over the years and have provided life-changing surgeries to children across the globe."

Protective Order Allows Oksana to Tape Mel!

The judge in the Mel Gibson case issued a protective order as part of Mel's no contest plea, and part of the order allows Oksana Grigorieva to record Mel ... if he does anything threatening.

Pretty ironic, but according to the order, "The protected persons may record any prohibited communications made by the restrained person."

The order claims Mel is prohibited from threatening, harassing, striking, stalking or following Oksana. It also prohibits Mel from blocking Oksana's movements.

Once burned ....

Mel Gibson Sentenced to Counseling, Probation in Battery Case

Mel Gibson was sentenced Friday in a Los Angeles courtroom to three years probation, a year-long domestic violence counseling program, community service and various fines in his battery case involving his ex-girlfriend.

A calm-looking Gibson, 55, wearing a navy blue suit, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of domestic violence allegedly committed against Oksana Grigorieva in January 2010. Gibson made no statements other than to acknowledge his plea to the judge and to say that he understood the proceedings.

It was also revealed in court that Gibson is undergoing psychological counseling as part of his plea deal reached with prosecutors. He was also served with a protective order not to "threaten or harass anyone involved in the case."

By pleading no contest, Gibson "may maintain his innocence and does so now," his attorney Blair Berk told Judge Stephanie Sautner. "He's entering his plea because it's in the best interest of his children."

In addition to probation and counseling, Gibson will be completing 16 hours of community service with Mending Kids International, an organization which has Gibson's soon-to-be-ex-wife Robyn Gibson on the board of directors.

"Ms. Grigorieva will now concentrate on co-parenting Lucia, resuming her charitable work for the children of Chernobyl and moving forward with her life," her attorneys said in a statement, expressing their satisfaction with the plea.

The Russian musician alleged Gibson punched her in the head and face more than once at the actor's Malibu home. He admitted to slapping her in order to restrain her from shaking their baby, Lucia, while the couple were arguing.

Gibson, meanwhile, alleged Grigorieva tried to extort him for millions with recorded phone conversations, although prosecutors confirmed that she won't be charged with a crime.

Mel Gibson Finally Slapped With Battery Charge-but What About Oksana?

Guess what, folks? Just a couple hours before Mel Gibson is due to appear in court to accept a plea bargain in his lengthy domestic violence case, the district attorney is putting the final touches on their deal.

And by final touches, we mean they've only just gotten around to formally charging Mel with one count of misdemeanor battery for an altercation wtih estranged baby mama Oksana Grigorieva.

According to the complaint filed this morning, the battery was committed on Jan. 6, 2010, when Gibson "did willfully and unlawfully use force and violence" against the Russian musician—while, lest we forget, she was holding their daughter, Lucia.

Gibson is due in Los Angeles Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. PT (from which we'll be streaming live all afternoon!) to answer to the charges and, per the deal struck earlier this week with prosecutors, is expected to plead no contest in exchange for avoiding serving any time in jail. Instead, he'll likely face some combination of counseling, community service and fines.

But what about Oksana, who was concurrently being investigated by officials for allegedly extorting Gibson? Turns out, she's totally in the clear.

Despite Mel's insistence that Grigorieva was attempting to criminally swindle $15 million from him in exchange for keeping those infamous voicemails private, the district attorney's office today declined to press any charges against the singer.

Guess this just isn't Mel's day.

Gibson avoids jail with plea deal

Mel Gibson has struck a plea deal with Los Angeles prosecutors to keep him out of jail over allegations of domestic assault.

The actor was expected to be hit with misdemeanour domestic violence charges this week, relating to accusations filed by his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva following their bitter split last year.

The former couple has been locked in a war of words over custody of its baby daughter Lucia, with the Russian singer accusing Gibson of attacking her during a heated argument in January, 2010.

But Gibson has now reached an agreement with prosecutors - he will appear in court on Friday and plead no contest to the lesser charge of simple battery, instead of corporal injury on a spouse.

According to, the actor will only be required to undergo counselling sessions and will not spend time behind bars.

In a statement, his lawyer Blair Berk says, "Mel's priority throughout all of this has been that the best interests of his young daughter Lucia and the rest of his children be put first in any decisions made. It is with only that in mind that he asked me to approach the District Attorney with a proposal that would bring all of this to an immediate end."

Gibson separated from his wife of 26 years, Robyn, in 2006 and she filed for divorce in 2009. They have seven children together.

The embattled actor travelled to Guatemala on Tuesday for a charity trip, but is expected to return to California in time for Friday's court date.

Meanwhile, in related Gibson legal news, officials are still investigating and extortion case involving Gibson and Grigorieva. The movie star claims his ex attempted to extort money out of him by recording an angry Gibson hurling abuse at her in a 2010 phone call.

The tape was leaked to the media. Grigorieva maintains she did not leak the recording.

Mel Gibson -- Guatemalan State of Mind

Mel Gibson looked relaxed in Guatemala today as TMZ broke the story that he'll be plea bargaining his criminal case. (Photos)

TMZ broke the story ... Mel is in Guatemala on a charity mission to save the rain forest.

As part of the rain forest conference, Mel will climb La Danta, one of the largest pyramids in the world.

Mel will be returning to L.A. for Friday's court hearing where the plea bargain will be formally accepted.

Mel Gibson -- Guatemala-Bound

Mel Gibson is leaving for Guatemala tomorrow on a long-planned charity trip, and it looks like he'll be out of the country when the D.A. charges him with misdemeanor domestic violence.

Sources tell TMZ ... the purpose of the trip is associated with the campaign to save the rain forest in the country. Mel made the commitment to go several months ago.

As we have already reported, the D.A. will charge Mel with domestic violence, and a spokesperson for the office says the decision will likely come this week -- while District Attorney Steve Cooley is on vacation.

So it looks like Mel will not be in the U.S. when he's charged.

Oksana Grigorieva: WINNING!

Oksana Grigorieva and her legal team have scored yet another victory against Mel Gibson ... TMZ has learned Mel must fork over an additional $300,000 for her attorney's fees.

Sources connected with Oksana tell us ... Mel must pay the $300k immediately ... per Judge Scott Gordon.

TMZ has been privy to a partial tab on how much Oksana's lawyers -- which total more than 40 -- have asked requested. That figure exceeds an incredible $3 million. Mind you ... it's a custody case involving one kid.

We don't have a tally of how much was actually rewarded, but it well exceeds $1 million, and counting.

Justice -- it ain't cheap.

D.A. Gets Financial Help From Oksana's Lawyer

L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley -- whose office will soon decide the fate of Oksana Grigorieva and Mel Gibson -- attended 2 fundraisers on his own behalf at the home of the lawyer who negotiated Oksana's $15 million settlement ... which is the core of the extortion investigation.

TMZ has learned Eric George, a prominent Beverly Hills civil lawyer, hosted both campaign fundraisers last year, while the L.A. County Sheriff's Department was conducting its investigation.

And documents reveal ... George contributed more than $8,000 to Cooley in 2010 ... of that, George contributed $1,992 in August ... while the Sheriff's investigation of Oksana was going full bore ... we do know, however, George has had a long-standing friendship with Cooley and has made contributions to him in the past.

As TMZ first reported, George negotiated a $15 million package for Oksana during her mediation in May, 2010. Law enforcement sources tell us ... Sheriff's investigators believe there's "strong evidence " that Oksana extorted Mel by threatening to release the explosive tapes unless she got the money.

TMZ broke the story that the D.A.'s office disagrees with Sheriff's investigators and has all but decided not to prosecute Oksana, but we're told Mel Gibson will be charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.

And we've learned ... Cooley has been involved -- holding a meeting in his office in December to review the case, though a D.A. spokesperson says no decisions were made during that meeting.

There is grousing among some people in law enforcement -- especially in the Sheriff's Department -- that Cooley should have completely removed himself from the decision-making process given the fundraisers and contributions from George.

George had no comment to TMZ, but a Sheriff's spokesperson has told us the only person under investigation in the extortion matter is Oksana.

Although sources tell us the die has already been cast, a D.A. spokesperson tells TMZ ... prosecutors will make a filing decision "very soon" and Cooley likely will not participate -- because he's about to go on a long-standing, out-of-town vacation for a week and a half.

The spokesperson would not say whether Cooley would make the filing decision if he's back in town when his deputies make their recommendation.

Mel Gibson "Trying to Save" Charlie Sheen's Life, Says Source

Not everything that Charlie Sheen says these days is a full cup of crazy.

I just got word that his claim that Mel Gibson has reached out to him is actually true.

Oh? Read on for more...

Gibson has been reaching out to the Two and a Half Men actor "for some time now," a source says. "Mel's trying to save this guy's life."

Sheen told CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight last night that the Oscar winner called him to offer support.

"He's a stone cold dude," Sheen said of Gibson.

Sheen also told Howard Stern about Gibson when he called into his radio show this morning. "Of course he did," Sheen said when the shock jock asked if Gibson had called. "Mel's a rock star. I love him...I'm a huge fan and I think he's a beautiful man." (FYI to Sheen: Mel Gibson's next movie, The Beaver, is not a film starring one of your goddesses.)

Sheen has also named Sean Penn and Colin Farrell as supporters.

"Sean Penn was over [at my house] the other night and we had a few laughs," he told Morgan.

Sorry, Charlie, but your life is no laughing matter.

Charlie Sheen: No One From the Show Has Tried to Call Me. But Mel Gibson Did!

Charlie Sheen says no one from CBS or Warner Bros. has tried to contact him since production on Two and a Half Men was shut down.

"I would urge [CBS President] Les [Moonves] or [Warner Bros. TV President] Bruce [Rosenblum]or Chuck Lorre to call in," he said on Piers Morgan Tonight Monday evening. (They did not.)

Sheen also said he hadn't heard from any of his fellow cast members since production halted. "I don't feel like there is any real support there," he said. "I'm out here doing this for all of us guys. ... It would be nice if there was some measure of support from anybody at this point."

The actor said he also has yet to hear from father Martin Sheen, who last year compared his son's addiction problems to cancer. "Dude, relax, it's so dramatic. He's entitled to that. I don't support it," he said about his father's comments. "He's been out of the country, I think, that's why he hasn't called."

But Sheen added he had received support from others in Hollywood including Mel Gibson and Sean Penn. "[Mel] was just great. Not calling with any advice. [He said] 'Just thought you might like to hear a friendly voice,'" Sheen said about Gibson. "He was a stone cold dude, I was impressed."

The interview followed Sheen's Monday sit-downs with Today, Good Morning America and TMZ, among others. Sheen said he was on a mission to "right some terrible wrongs because there have been some things that have happened. ... I think it's important that people hear the truth, and hear it from me."

Regarding his drug use, Sheen said his recent episodes stemmed from sleeping problems. "I can function without sleep...and handfuls of cheap trucker meth," he said. When asked about having taken cocaine, Sheen did not deny previous usage: "I didn't take it -- I had to pay for it."

Sheen also admitted to possible alcohol abuse, saying that he "maybe hit the vodka a little too hard" to numb the pain of a hernia. He was hospitalized for the hernia in January.

However, Sheen defended his unconventional lifestyle, saying that the show was created because of his bad-boy ways, and that he had proven he was able to work despite recent alcohol and drug use. "Can't you just be in a pink cloud your whole life and just be bitchin' and focused?"

He also said that he has never exposed his children to drugs. "Those things just don't go together. That's just common sense and courtesy, right?"

The one claim Sheen did deny is hitting women. "I have not. Women are not to be hit, they are to be hugged and caressed," he said.

Sheen said he would apologize to Moonves, as well as Lorre for his anti-Semitic remark against the Two and a Half Men creator last week. He also said he "feels guilty" about being the perceived person to blame for the production halt, and still hopes to get the show's crew compensated for the other four episodes they were originally scheduled to produce this season. Warner Bros. announced earlier Monday that they will pay the crew for four of the eight episodes that were to be produced before the production hiatus began at the end of January.

As for the future, Sheen said he has a "vision" of the cast and crew returning for seasons 9 and 10 with "a couple of adjustments. ... I still don't feel they have the right to interfere in my personal life."

D.A. On Verge Of Charging Mel Gibson

Sources connected with the Mel Gibson criminal investigation tell TMZ ... Gibson is about to be charged with domestic violence, but Oksana Grigorieva will not be charged with extortion.

Multiple sources say the dye is not officially cast, but the powers that be think there's enough evidence to prosecute Mel, however not enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Oksana extorted him -- notwithstanding that she demanded $15 million from him in return for keeping the tapes secret.

All of our sources say ... the turning point for prosecutors was the fact that prior to Oksana going to the Sheriff's Department and accusing Gibson of domestic violence, Mel's family law attorneys filed a declaration in the family law case, in which Mel admits to slapping Oksana -- he says because she was shaking baby Lucia wildly and feared Shaken Baby Syndrome.

We're told the likely charge against Mel will be misdemeanor domestic violence -- he will not be charged with a felony. Misdemeanor domestic violence carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

Sources say the extortion investigation has become a bone of contention between the D.A. and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. We're told Sheriff's investigators believe there is sufficient evidence -- much of which has not been made public -- to prosecute Oksana, but the D.A. doesn't agree.

As for a timetable ... we're told the decision is expected in the next two weeks, and very possibly this week.

Mel Gibson -- Worried Oksana Won't Be Charged

Mel Gibson is worried about being charged with domestic violence ... but sources directly connected with Mel tell us he's even more concerned that Oksana Girgorieva might NOT be charged with extortion.

We're told Mel believes there is more than enough evidence to prove Oksana used the explosive tapes as leverage to score a $15 million payday ... but he thinks the politics of prosecution could get in the way.

The D.A. is currently mulling over the two case files.

D.A. Not Ready to Rule On Mel or Oksana

The L.A. County D.A. will not make a quick decision on whether to charge Mel Gibson and/or Oksana Grigorieva with a crime, at least not this week ... sources connected with the D.A. tell TMZ.

TMZ broke the story ... on Wednesday the L..A. County Sheriff's Dept. turned over it's report on the Oksana Grigorieva extortion investigation.

Sources tell us the Sheriff's report is exhaustive and complicated and will take time to digest.

The D.A. has said ... they will make a decision on whether to file criminal charges as a package.

We're told the decision absolutely will not be made this week.

Oksana Extortion Case Goes to the D.A.

The Oksana Grigorieva extortion case is now in the hands of the L.A. County District Attorney ... TMZ has learned.

The case file went to the D.A.'s office at noon today.

As we first reported, it's all over a $15 million deal Oksana signed -- and then rejected -- during child custody mediation in May, 2010. The deal included child support, a house, and other assets ... plus the guarantee that Oksana would NOT release the audio tapes of Mel's now infamous rants.

The D.A. will now determine if Oksana will be charged with a crime.

Mel Gibson's "Beaver" delayed to May 6

Mel Gibson's new movie "The Beaver" is being pushed pack by six weeks to a May 6 release date, its distributor said Monday.

The drama, directed by Gibson's pal Jodie Foster, was to have opened in limited run on March 23. Summit Entertainment had originally hoped to release it last year, but it was pulled when Gibson got embroiled in a nasty domestic dispute with his former girlfriend.

Since Foster is shooting Roman Polanski's "God of Carnage" in Paris until mid-March, the new release date for "Beaver" gives her and the cast more time to promote it.

A May release also gives Summit more time to build word-of-mouth following its premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 16.

"The Beaver" will kick off in a limited run, and then expand on May 20. Foster co-stars with Anton Yelchin and Oscar-nominated "Winter's Bone" star Jennifer Lawrence. Gibson plays a troubled man who communicates with people by using a handheld beaver puppet.

Gibson had 'death' wish

Mel Gibson sought "death by cop" after his wife, Robyn, left him while he was filming "Apocalypto" in 2006, according to Vanity Fair. Peter Biskind writes in the Hollywood issue that Gibson had started drinking again on location and returned home to LA to find Robyn had moved out with the kids. Soon after, he infamously ranted slurs at a police officer who arrested him on suspicion of DUI following a drinking session at Moonshadows in Malibu. A friend told VF, "He felt that he had just absolutely failed as a human being. Mel was trying to invite death by cop. I don't think this was being anti-Semitic. I think he was trying to rile that guy into pulling out a gun and shooting him." The friend said Gibson had "said goodbye to every table" in the restaurant before leaving: "I believe what was going on that night was a farewell." Dean Devlin, who co-produced "The Patriot," told Biskind, "He told me that when he drank, this whole other character came out . . . he was doing everything he could to redeem himself." Gibson's "Lethal Weapon" co-star, Danny Glover, leapt to his defense, saying, "I know Mel in his heart, and I think he's not the way he has been characterized."

Gibson's 'Beaver' copy stolen

Mel Gibson’s copy of the final cut of “The Beaver” was stolen from the mailbox outside his Malibu home on Wednesday.

Summit Entertainment gave Gibson a copy of the final cut to screen at home and put in his mailbox when he was done.

“When the courier came to pick it up on Wednesday between 10:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., it wasn’t there. They went out to check, and apparently someone prior to the courier took it out of the mailbox and made off with it,” Lieutenant Rich Erickson of the Malibu/Lost Hills Station Sheriff’s Department told The Hollywood Reporter.

Continues Erickson, “It’s a $10 DVD. We’re treating it as a petty theft at this point.”

As for the punishment, the Lieutenant tells THR, “It’s a misdemeanor crime. It’s considered a minor crime.”

Erickson says Gibson didn’t physically put the DVD in the mailbox.

“A detective is assigned to the case, and will do some follow up,” he adds of the crime, as first reported by

A rep for Summit declined to comment to THR.

“The Beaver,” directed by Jodie Foster, will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March. It hits U.S. theaters on March 23.

Ex-bodyguard sides with Gibson

Oksana Grigorieva will struggle to fight allegations she secretly taped phone calls with Mel Gibson with the purpose of extortion - her former bodyguard insists she wanted to "pressure" the star into handing over a financial settlement.

The former couple split last year and is currently locked in a bitter custody battle over baby daughter Lucia.

The break-up turned nasty when Grigorieva accused the actor of domestic violence, and captured him on tape allegedly confessing to striking her.

But police have been called in to investigate the Russian singer amid claims she purposely recorded the heated phone conversations with Gibson in a bid to force him to pay her a settlement sum to keep their disputes out of the press.

Grigorieva has denied the accusations, insisting she only taped Gibson's angry calls because she feared for her life - but her former security guard Kristian Herzog claims otherwise.

Herzog, who was fired by the singer in October, tells she wanted "to pressure Mel to pay her money" and suggests Grigorieva plotted the extortion early on, branding her a "sexual sorceress".

He has also defended Gibson against allegations he punched his ex - he claims Grigorieva told him all about the violent incident and admitted that the actor had only slapped her.

DA: Review of Mel Gibson criminal case ongoing

Los Angeles' district attorney says a review of domestic violence allegations against Mel Gibson is ongoing after a meeting between prosecutors and the actor's attorneys.

The statement by District Attorney Steve Cooley didn't indicate when prosecutors will decide whether to pursue charges against the Academy Award winner. Gibson's ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva (gree-GOR'-yeh-vuh) claims the actor-director struck her during a fight in January 2010.

Cooley says Gibson's attorneys presented information about the accusations during Tuesday's meeting. His statement didn't address Gibson's allegations that Grigorieva attempted to extort him.

The former couple have been locked in a bitter custody dispute over their infant daughter for months.

Mel Gibson's next film to debut at Texas festival

Mel Gibson's return to the big screen will begin in March at the South by Southwest festival. Organizers of the Austin, Texas, multimedia entertainment festival announced Thursday that "The Beaver" will be one of five films that will have their international premieres at the event, commonly known as SXSW.

Jodie Foster directed and co-stars in "The Beaver," which features Gibson as a troubled family man trying to cope with help from an unusual friend — a beaver puppet he wears on his hand.

The film will be shown a week before a limited public release on March 23, with an expansion to more theaters planned on April 8.

Its release had been delayed as Gibson dealt with bad publicity from a public breakup with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Their split has spawned a bitter custody fight over their infant daughter, as well as investigations into claims of physical abuse by the actor-director and extortion by the Russian musician.

Los Angeles prosecutors are still mulling whether to press charges against either Gibson or Grigorieva.

It remains unclear whether the Gibson, who last appeared in 2010's "Edge of Darkness," will attend South by Southwest.

SXSW film spokeswoman Rebecca Feferman said Foster will attend the premiere when it is shown in the festival's "centerpiece" slot.

Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, said in an e-mail that he did not yet know whether the 55-year-old Academy-Award winner would make an appearance.

"The Beaver" also features Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence.

Among the other films premiering at SWSX is the documentary "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop," which focused on the comedian's tour after his much-publicized split from NBC as host of "The Tonight Show" last year.

Mel Gibson selling $35 million Costa Rica estate

Mel Gibson has listed his roughly 500-acre Costa Rica estate for sale for $35 million. The actor is selling because the oceanfront property is no longer private.

"He bought it for a getaway. Now he goes there and paparazzi follow him," says listing agent Sandra Miller of brokerage Engel & Volkers.

The property, known as Hacienda Dorada, includes a seven-bedroom main house and a pair of two-bedroom homes, each with a private pool, and fronts a beach on the country's Nicoya peninsula. The estate includes hundreds of acres of jungle, and is staffed full-time.

Want to See Mel Gibson in Jodie Foster's Beaver? Now You Can

Get ready for the maybe-comeback of Mel Gibson.

After much thinking and plotting, Summit Entertainment has finally announced a release date for is movie-in-a-holding-pattern The Beaver…

The Jodie Foster-directed flick about a man (Gibson) who befriends a hand puppet will have a limited opening on March 23 with an expanded release on April 8.

The movie, which also costars Foster and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), has been in limbo because of, well, you know—Gibson's very messy and trouble-filled personal life.

Foster told me back in October the movie was finished, but she was "waiting" for a release date.

There has been talk of debuting the film at a festival in Europe. No word if that will actually happen.

As for Gibson doing press for the movie, I'm told, no surprise, all major news outlets are after him, especially the morning shows. A rep for the Oscar winner said it was too early to say what they have planned.

Winona Ryder: Mel Gibson Was Anti-Semitic, Homophobic 15 Years Ago

Winona Ryder wasn't surprised by Mel Gibson's profanity-laced, racially derogatory tirades caught on tape earlier this year. In fact, she claims the actor made offensive remarks to her many years ago.

"Fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk," Ryder, 39, tells GQ. "I was with my friend, who's gay. [Gibson] made a really horrible gay joke."

And he didn't stop there, the Black Swan actress says. "Somehow it came up that I was Jewish," Ryder says. "He said something about 'oven dodgers,' but I didn't get it. I'd never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment."

Ryder says she knew of Gibson's dark side, captured in his outbursts to ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, long before many others did. She tells GQ: "I was like, 'He's anti-Semitic and he's homophobic.' No one believed me!"

Gibson has been accused of homophobia before – he made derogatory comments in an early-'90s interview with Spanish newspaper El País – and famously made anti-Semitic remarks after a 2006 drunk-driving arrest. When reached, Gibson's rep had no comment.

Mel Gibson Out with Baby Daughter Lucia

(Photo) You wouldn't know she's been at the center of a bitter feud between her parents. On Sunday, Lucia Gibson was just a happy little girl at church with Daddy.

Lucia, the 13-month-old daughter of Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva, was photographed with her doting father after attending church services in Malibu, reports.

She looked cute as a button in a white sweater and with short dark hair and a big happy smile.

Her happiness is definitely shared by dad, too, says a friend: "Mel has so much fun when he is with Lucia. All he wants is as much time with his daughter as possible."

Mel Gibson: Crazy Like a Fox in The Beaver?

(Trailer) OK, he had us at crazy. In a bout of accidentally inspired type-casting, cuckoo-bird Mel Gibson looks pretty damn natural playing a puppet-possessed nut in Jodie Foster's The Beaver. Judging by this new trailer, it seems that rumors of Mel's Hollywood demise may have been premature. That's our take anyway. But what do you think? Would you pay to see Gibson in Foster's Beaver?

Summit Taking Mel Gibson's 'The Beaver' Off the Shelf Next Spring

Summit Entertainment plans to release Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," which stars Mel Gibson, in Spring 2011, and will debut the film's trailer tomorrow night on "Entertainment Tonight," the studio has confirmed to TheWrap.

"The Beaver" stars Gibson as a father who walks around talking to a beaver puppet he wears on his hand. Foster co-stars alongside Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence of "Winter's Bone" fame.

"The Beaver" had been scheduled for release this year before the studio decided to delay the film after Gibson was accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.

Gibson has had brushes with controversy in the past, but that didn't stop "The Passion of the Christ" from becoming a worldwide box office sensation. Of course, Gibson didn't appear on camera in that film, but a CBS News/Vanity Fair poll revealed that most people wouldn't take Gibson's bad behavior into account when deciding whether or not to see another one of his movies.

Mel Gibson Now Starring in Payback 2: I Want My Daughter!

We haven't seen this much Mel Gibson around town since Braveheart was in Oscar contention.

For the second time in as many weeks, there was Mr. Lethal Weapon himself, sporting a pair of shades and a sheriff's deputy escort, walking into an L.A. court this morning for the latest round in his long-running custody drama with baby mama Oksana Grigorieva over their daughter, Lucia.

But Thunder Dome this ain't.

The ex-lovers arrived at the courthouse separately, both ignoring the crush of paparazzi—and each other—to talk with their attorneys as they went inside.

Since the case concerns a minor, the hearings are confidential and the press and public are being kept out.

Today's battle is believed to be focused on visitation—Grigorieva wants to keep him from having overnighters, while Gibson wants more daddy time. In fact, he prefers that he have full custody of the year-old Lucia.

Last week, the judge ordered Gibson, 54, to shell out $60,000 in child support to Grigorieva, 40.

Aside from their spat over their little girl, the former lovers are also embroiled in dueling allegations over domestic violence and extortion.

Sadly, this is one sequel that we don't think will have a Hollywood ending.

Mel seeks sole custody of daughter

Mel Gibson's lawyers have launched a bid to strip the star's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva of her custody rights regarding their child, insisting she is not acting in the best interests of the child.

The former couple has been battling over little Lucia since splitting earlier this year and Grigorieva spoke candidly about claims she was beaten by the actor on news show Larry King Live, which aired on Wednesday night.

The Russian singer opened up about the allegedly abusive relationship, claiming she feared for her life when her ex reportedly struck her during a heated argument in January.

Gibson's legal advisors have pounced on the interview and are preparing to argue that her false and derogatory public comments about the actor suggest she's only interested in damaging his reputation, reports

His lawyers want Los Angeles court Judge Scott Gordon to grant Gibson custody of Lucia and only allow Grigorieva monitored visits during the day.

Judge Gordon had previously warned the Russian not to discuss the case with the press or risk losing custody of the tot.

A hearing has been set for Monday.

Oksana "Wanted to Help" Mel Gibson With Those Recordings

If Oksana Grigorieva never gets the justice she feels she deserves, sharing her story on CNN will just have to do.

Attorney Dan Horowitz told E! News Wednesday that his client agreed to a Larry King Live interview so that people will "know how compelling the evidence is," even if Mel Gibson is never charged with domestic violence.

And true or not, this is indeed some compelling stuff.

"Jan. 6, this year, the beating took place," Grigorieva recalls in the interview that aired tonight. "Mel actually assaulted me while I was holding the baby in my arms...I ran into my son's bedroom and told him, 'Mel's crazy.' "

She says that her 12-year-old son, Alexander (with actor Timothy Dalton), hid behind the bed as she stood there with Lucia, "like a mother protecting her cubs."

He came into the room "and struck me twice," she continues. "He wasn't drunk. He hit me, and choked me in front of my son and brandished a gun at me."

Gibson was apologizing by the very next day, promising to get "treated" and "be evaluated," Grigorieva says.

In a signed declaration, one of the supposedly sealed documents from their family court case that have been leaked to the press, Gibson admitted to slapping, but not striking, his ex.

According to the actor, they fought and Grigorieva grabbed Lucia out of her bassinet and started running. "Her rapid movements were causing Lucia's little body to be flung from one side to the other, her head shaking violently...I slapped Oksana one time with an open hand in an attempt to bring her back to reality," Gibson stated. "I did not slap her hard. I was just trying to shock her so that she would stop screaming, continuing shaking Lucia back and forth."

Either way, Grigorieva tells King that she feared for her life afterward and ended up taping Gibson on the phone because she thought she wouldn't "live through the night," because he threatened to come over and kill her.

"I wanted my mother to be able to prove that, if I'm dead, that this is who did it," she says.

And as if the recordings that made it online weren't disturbing enough, Grigorieva says she has "nonedited" tapes that are "unforgivable."

Having said her decision to speak out was all about this issue of domestic violence and her daughter, Grigorieva says she thinks victims of abuse are "really decent human beings."

"They cover up for perpetrators, they're trying to help them," she says. "In the back of my mind, I thought, If I don't killed tonight, I'd like him to hear what he sounds like, to get...better."

"I wanted to help him, as strange as that may sound."

Martin Garbus, the attorney who joined her on the air, explained that it is legal to record people without their knowledge in California if one feels his or her life is being threatened or if there are "illegal connotations" in the conversation.

When asked how the tapes got released, Grigorieva says, "I have no idea. They were in possession of my lawyers and the court."

She says he called her 30 or 40 times in one night, and she recorded him eight or nine times.

Meanwhile, Gibson has accused Grigorieva of making the tapes to extort money from him.

"We think the extortion charges are retaliatory for the domestic violence case," Horowitz told E! News. "She talks about why she made the tapes. She was fearful and wanted [Gibson] to change. She wasn't trying to extort him."

"I never have extorted him," she says on TV tonight.

Grigorieva admits that not breaking up with Gibson after he supposedly became violent was a mistake.

"I stayed for a little bit too long," she says. "I gave him last chance. He asked me for the last chance. He begged. He cried. He cried on his knees. What am I supposed to do?"

"At the beginning of our relationship, he said, 'There's a dark side of me I don't want you to see,' " Grigorieva tells King, who asks her multiple times about Gibson's drinking.

"No liquor, not once," she insists, maintaining that Gibson never drank around her.

"As a human being, as the mother of his child, I would forgive him, but he really needs to come and acknowledge what he's done and what he's doing," she says.

Judge in Mel Gibson Case Looking Into Leak of Court Documents

So much for closed doors staying closed.

In light of sealed documents from the ongoing custody battle between Mel Gibson and ex Oksana Grigorieva being leaked to TMZ, a judge overseeing the case has ordered an investigation into just how that happened.

This according to Grigorieva and her lawyer, Martin Garbus, during their appearance on CNN's Larry King Live airing tomorrow.

"It's medical documents, declarations, court opinions, transcripts—everything, it seems. They say over 2,000 pages of documents were leaked," reveals Garbus, adding that whoever took the files from the courthouse "certainly got paid a good deal of money."

Grigorieva also expressed her concern, particularly since the case involves her and Gibson's 1-year-old daughter.

"It would be quite terrible because this case could turn into a gossip story," says Grigorieva—apparently oblivious to the media attention already devoted to her case—"and swayed away from what's important here. It's domestic violence and Lucia at stake."

During the one-hour discussion with King, the topic of those infamous tapes is revisited, and Grigorieva, once again, explains how she recorded Gibson's rants out of fear for her life.

"I wanted my mother to be able to prove that if I'm dead that this is who did it," she says.

Grigorieva and Gibson are due back in court on Nov. 22.

Gibson says ex's wounds self inflicted

Mel Gibson has declared his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva blamed her Trichotillomania on him in a bid to win sympathy.

In the latest round of the pair's custody battle over baby Lucia, the actor/director insists his former lover suffered from the impulse control disorder that left her scratched and bruised - and he was not to blame for the marks left on her face.

Grigorieva maintains angry Gibson attacked her once while she was holding the couple's child - and had the bruises and the missing teeth to show it. has obtained a declaration from Grigorieva's facialist Mady Shany, who claims her client had "scratches and bruises around her eyes and on her forehead" when she visited her for a facial in January, and told her Mel had "punched her and threw her on the bed while she had the baby in her arms."

But the website also obtained a declaration from Gibson, in which he claims, "Oksana is emotionally unstable and suffers from Trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pull, and pulling, out ones own hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and other body hair."

He adds, "During our relationship Oksana often had scratches and bald spots on the side of her head as a result of this disorder (scratches she is now, apparently, attempting to blame on me!)."

But the singer's lawyer, Dan Horowitz, insists, "I've spent over 100 hours with Oksana and I have never seen her pick her hair or scratch her skin, she just acts like a totally normal person."

The custody battle between the former lovers continues.

Report: Gibson admits slapping ex

Mel Gibson has allegedly admitted slapping ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva - but insists he was trying to stop her behaving "erratically" around their baby daughter, according to court papers.

The Braveheart star is currently locked in a bitter custody battle with Grigorieva, who claims he hit her and knocked out her teeth during an alleged altercation in January.

The claims sparked a domestic violence investigation and the Russian singer told police she was holding baby Lucia at the time of the incident.

Newly obtained court papers, dated June 23 and obtained by, reportedly state Gibson admitted striking Grigorieva once at their Malibu, California home - but the actor insists it was necessary to calm his "hysterical" partner.

Gibson claims he and his ex were arguing when Grigorieva took their baby out of her bassinet and "spun around", taking her into their darkened backyard.

She is said to have eventually brought the tot back inside before running into her son Alexander's bedroom and "swinging Lucia erratically in her arms, jerking her body from side to side to keep Lucia out of my (Gibson's) reach".

Gibson claims Grigorieva's "rapid movements were causing Lucia's little body to be flung from one side to the other, her head shaking violently".

He adds, "I slapped Oksana one time with an open hand in an attempt to bring her back to reality. I did not slap her hard, I was just trying to shock her so that she would stop screaming, continuing shaking Lucia back and forth.

"I did not hit Oksana with a closed fist, as she alleges. I did not ever punch her in the face or in the temple or anywhere else, not then or at any other time. While I do not believe I handled the situation as well as I should have, I was worried about the rough way Oksana was shaking and tossing Lucia around. My hand never touched any part of Lucia.

"There was never any blood on Oksana and none of her teeth were 'broken,' although one of the false veneers from a tooth apparently did come off, I did not see that occur at the time."

Grigorieva is set to open up about the incident and her time with Gibson in a candid chat on American show Larry King Live, after reportedly recording an interview with the host at the weekend.

Gibson's ex to dish on TV

Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva is set to break her silence about the alleged domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of the embattled actor in a candid chat with U.S. newsman Larry King, according to a new report.

The former lovers are currently locked in a bitter and highly-publicised court battle as they fight for custody of their young daughter, Lucia.

Gibson hit headlines earlier this year when the Russian singer accused him of violently beating her and knocking out her teeth in an alleged altercation, while taped recordings of their bitter arguments were leaked on the internet.

According to, Judge Scott Gordon has warned the Grigorieva going public with her story could negatively impact her custody battle.

However, the website reports Grigorieva has defied the warning by sitting down for an hour-long interview on Larry King Live on Saturday night with one of her lawyers, Marty Garbus, to "speak out on behalf of battered women".

Reports suggest Larry King played portions of a number of the tapes Grigorieva allegedly recorded in secret, in which a man purported to be Gibson can be heard hurling insults at her.

Executives at King's TV network CNN had yet to confirm a broadcast date for the interview as WENN went to press.

Grigorieva believed Mel 'would change'

Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has admitted she stayed in a relationship with the star for "longer" than she "should have" because she was convinced the actor "would change".

The former lovers are currently locked in a bitter and highly-publicized court battle as they fight for custody of their young daughter, Lucia.

Gibson hit headlines earlier this year when the Russian singer accused him of violently beating her and knocking out her teeth in an alleged altercation in January, while tape recordings of their bitter arguments were leaked on the internet.

Court documents from their legal battle have been obtained by and a sworn declaration from Grigorieva details the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of the Lethal Weapon actor.

Grigorieva describes several incidents when Gibson was allegedly violent towards her, while she also accuses him of becoming angry and abusive several times a month during their romance.

In the papers, filed in June, Grigorieva explains why she didn't apply for a restraining order against Gibson earlier - insisting she wanted to keep the details private to avoid embarrassing the actor. She also claims she "begged" Gibson to seek professional help for his problems and was convinced he would change.

She writes, "I stayed in this abusive relationship for much longer than I should have due to Petitioner's (Gibson's) threats and intimidation, as well as an obviously misplaced belief that Petitioner would change. I begged Petitioner to get help. I desperately wanted him to get better, but I understand that I cannot live in fear with his unpredictable and unstable personality any more... I am terrified of Petitioner... I believe Petitioner is chemically imbalanced and dangerous. I fear Petitioner now more than ever."

Gibson surrendered weapons cache

Mel Gibson surrendered an arsenal of weapons to police this summer after ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva filed for a restraining order against the star amid allegations of domestic violence.

Grigorieva obtained the protective order against Gibson in June, two months after the couple split, claiming she feared for her life after he reportedly physically assaulted her.

Court documents from July, obtained by, show Judge Scott Gordon ordered Gibson to surrender several weapons to the Los Angeles Police Department as a result of her allegations.

The order to surrender, dated July 15, is standard procedure when domestic violence is alleged.

According to the legal papers, Gibson surrendered two 9 millimetre semi-automatic handguns, a rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun, as well as a number of magazines and cases for the weapons.

Gibson and Grigorieva have been locked in a bitter custody battle for their baby daughter Lucia since the split in April.

Liam Neeson: Mel Gibson's 'Cool' with Me Taking Hangover 2 Role

It's not going to be the clash of the Hollywood titans some may have expected.

According to Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson doesn't harbor any hard feelings about being replaced by Neeson in a Hangover 2 cameo.

When he was offered a shot at the role, which was first reported to be that of a Bangkok tattoo artist, Neeson says he "didn't realize" it had originally gone to Gibson but eventually had a "very pleasant" conversation with his fellow actor about it.

"I spoke to Mel," he told Access Hollywood Tuesday at the premiere for his new film The Next Three Days. "Mel's cool about it. We're all cool."

Neeson also pointed out he has a history with Gibson, with whom he worked on the 1984 film The Bounty.

"Mel and I did a movie together about 20 or 25 years ago," Neeson, 58, said. "It was a long time ago. So, we know each other."

Neeson revealed his part is being filmed at a movie studio in Los Angeles and shot down rumors he'll play a tattoo artist – but would not reveal what his role will actually be.

Mel Gibson Ordered to Whip Out His Checkbook

As far as confrontations with Mel Gibson go, this one was pretty uneventful.

The actor and baby mama Oksana Grigorieva were in court Wednesday for a closed-door custody hearing, the first time Gibson appeared in person to address the ongoing dispute.

But when your ex doesn't want your daughter staying at your house overnight, you show up.

Though Grigorieva was hoping to stop Gibson from having overnight visits with their 1-year-old daughter Lucia, claiming she was concerned that a nanny was the primary caregiver and Lucia was isolated in her dad's big house, L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon said he would address their visitation issues at a later date.

Early next year, perhaps.

"I'm holding up," Grigorieva told reporters as she waited to be escorted back into the courtroom following their lunch break.

A source confirms to E! News that Gordon did, however, order Gibson to pay roughly $60,000 in back child support. We hear that the Lethal Weapon star held off on the $20,000 monthly payments while he figured out whether he could subtract the $6,000 he was alreadying kicking in for the house Grigorieva lives in with her mother and Lucia.

Gordon says the $6,000 was not deductible.

Also today, the judge denied Team Gibson's request for a gag order that would prevent all parties—including their lawyers—from discussing the case publicly, according to Grigorieva's attorney Martin Garbus.

"But the judge sealed the depositions," he said.

Earlier today, Grigorieva attorney Alan Shiftman was spotted serving Gibson attorney Blair Berk with a subpoena in the hallway outside the courtroom.

Today's session ended just before 5 p.m., with Gibson and Grigorieva going their separate ways. Another hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22.

Mel Gibson, Oksana Grigorieva Argue Child Support & Visitation in Family Court

Mel Gibson may be ordered today to pay three months of child support, totaling $60,000, as part of an all day family court hearing between the actor-director and Oksana Grigorieva – the mother of their 1-year-old daughter.

In September, Gibson was ordered to pay $20,000 a month in child support by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon. Now sources tell PEOPLE that Gibson missed payments because his attorneys were unclear as to whether he could deduct $6,000 a month for providing Grigorieva's Los Angeles home.

A source says the matter will be resolved today, and that Gibson likely will be forced to pay the full $60,000.

Gibson arrived at court Wednesday around 8:30 a.m., wearing a dark suit and blue shirt and tie. Grigorieva arrived a few minutes later wearing a blazer, tight knee-length skirt, heels and large sunglasses.

Another issue on Judge Gordon's agenda is a request by the Grigorieva camp asking that Gibson no longer have overnights with daughter Lucia. Sources say that Oksana is concerned about Mel's temper, that a nanny watches their daughter overnight and that the baby cries because she misses her mother.

However, Gordon is unlikely to resolve the visitation issue immediately. Instead, he's expected to defer it until a multi-day hearing later in the year or possibly in early 2011.

Mel Gibson to Face Off Against Oksana Grigorieva in Court

Mel Gibson will make what is believed to be his first courtroom appearance in a custody dispute with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva over their 1-year-old daughter Lucia.

The closed-door hearing is set for Wednesday in Superior Court in Los Angeles.

Gibson, 54, and Grigorieva, 40, share custody of their daughter, with Gibson seeing her every other day and getting overnight visits.

After Gibson and Grigorieva's two-year relationship ended in April, the pair have traded angry accusations, with Grigorieva alleging domestic violence and Gibson claiming she subjected him to extortion.

No criminal charges have been filed against either Gibson or Grigorieva.

Mel Gibson Makes for the Saddest Clown of All (See for Yourself)

(Photo) Hey, Sean Penn's makeup artists have to do something in their off time.

Actually, we're not sure who gets the credit for Mel Gibson's sad clown face (we're guessing no one's going to be tripping over themselves for the association), but just in case you were wondering what the embattled actor went as for Halloween this year, here's your answer. (Condolences to everyone who had money on "employable actor.")

And if you were wondering what brave soul decided to extend the invite to Gibson, we'll have you know this stunning photo was taken outside of David Arquette's spooky shindig. Guess actors who don't know when to shut their traps gotta stick together.

Mel Gibson's New Beaver Movie Poster?

(Photo) The Beaver is getting closer to finally being released…overseas, that is.

A poster for the Mel Gibson flick, directed by and costarring his good friend Jodie Foster, hit the Internet this morning, but…

It's not an official poster. In short, Summit Entertainment created it as a possibility to be used by the movie's foreign distributors, none of which have announced a release date.

The black comedy stars Gibson as a man who forms a very close friendship with a beaver hand puppet. "Hello," reads a handwritten note Gibson is holding in the poster. "This person is under the care of a prescription puppet. Please treat him as you normally would, but address yourself to the puppet."

The poster was distributed at The American Film Market trade conference currently taking place in Santa Monica.

As we've told you, The Beaver apparently recouped its $20 million budget in foreign sales that took place before Gibson's private life imploded.

Foster told us last month that the movie was done, "so now we're waiting."

Robert Downey Jr. teases Zach Galifianakis after Mel Gibson was dropped from Hangover 2

Robert Downey Jr. won't let his "Due Date" co-star, Zach Galifianakis, live down his role in the decision to drop Mel Gibson from "The Hangover 2." Page Six first reported two weeks ago that troubled Gibson was tapped to play a tattoo artist in the sequel, but was dumped after other cast members complained. Introducing the Cinema Society's "Due Date" screening Monday night, Downey teased, "Do you want to make any other big mistakes? Cost more people their jobs?" A speechless Galifianakis glared at him and walked off the stage after snatching Downey's popcorn. At the after-party at Lavo, the Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr. stepped out with Aussie model Nicole Trunfio, rumored to be his new love since his split with Agyness Deyn. Also at the DKNY Jeans-sponsored party: Darren Aronofsky, Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Courtney Love, Russell Simmons, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Maria Sharapova and Jessica White.

Mel Gibson Scheduled to Give Deposition Today

It's time for Mel Gibson to put up or shut up.

After months of negative headlines over those controversial leaked tapes and reports of alleged domestic violence, the disgraced star is scheduled to turn up at a mediation center in Los Angeles to be deposed in his ongoing custody battle with estranged girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

The deposition, set to get under way at 9 a.m. PT, is likely to last all day. Oksana's lawyer, Daniel Horowitz, previously told E! News that Gibson's legal team was expected to file motions to have it postponed, but as of press time the deposition is still on.

According to Horowitz, the Russian musician has also been relying heavily on the expertise of Martin Garbus, a First Amendment attorney from New York who's currently searching for an L.A.-area apartment so he can give this case his utmost attention.

Garbus has mapped out a strategy to help Grigorieva win full custody of the couple's daughter, Lucia, who just turned 1 Oct. 30.

Horowitz hinted that Team Oksana may very well play the infamous recordings for Gibson and discuss his alleged mental health issues in an attempt to paint him as too unstable to care for their child.

"He's admitted he's manic-depressive before," the legal eagle tells E! News.

As for Grigorieva, he adds that "she's not really nervous."

"Oksana had dinner with Marty Garbus last night and they talked about other aspects of the case," Horowitz said. "She was relaxed and smiling."

Grigorieva was deposed on Friday and "did great," Horowitz noted. "She was calm and just told the truth."

And in a bit of strange timing (or good planning if you're the Biography Channel), the lawyer also said he watched Mad Mel: The Rise and Fall of a Hollywood Icon, which aired over the weekend.

Mel won't see daughter on b-day

Mel Gibson will miss his daughter Lucia's first birthday on Saturday - a request for the baby to be allowed to stay with her father overnight has been turned down by a judge.

The Lethal Weapon star has asked a court to extend his visitation rights this weekend because a nanny responsible for returning Lucia to her mother, Oksana Grigorieva, on Friday has fallen ill.

If officials had agreed to the request, the actor would have spent some time with his daughter on her first birthday - but the plea was turned down because Gibson has more than one aide he can call on, according to

Grigorieva, who split from Gibson earlier this year, alleged in legal papers that she believes the actor already has too much access to their baby.

Tyson: 'Gibson needs therapy'

Former boxing champion Mike Tyson is urging Mel Gibson to seek professional help as he battles personal problems, insisting the actor needs "someone to talk to".

Gibson has been embroiled in a public spat with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva this year over allegations he knocked out her teeth in a domestic dispute. Tapes of their bitter arguments, which later emerged online, intensified the fall out.

Tyson admits he can empathise with the actor/director because of his own chequered past, which saw him sensationally accused of beating his ex-wife Robin Givens, while he later sank into drug abuse.

And the sportsman is adamant Gibson needs therapy to help him through the dark times.

He tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "We all have that guy - a Mel Gibson - in us. We just don't want people to be exposed to it. Maybe he needs to go get help. We all need help, and need someone to talk to. I'm not against him, but I'm not for him."

Tyson, who appeared in hit 2009 comedy The Hangover, is reportedly set to join the cast of the upcoming sequel which will now no longer feature a cameo appearance from Gibson after members of the cast and crew objected to his presence on set.

But the boxer admits he wouldn't have complained about working with the Lethal Weapon star.

He adds, "I'm not going to ever in my life point my finger at anyone. I don't live in a glass house. None of us do. I work with anybody, as long as they're respectful."

Mel Gibson Was Never 'Fired,' Says Hangover 2 Director

Todd Phillips wants to set the record straight once and for all: Mel Gibson's proposed cameo in The Hangover 2 didn't work out – but the actor was never "fired."

"No one was ever fired," the film's director said at the press day for his new movie Due Date. "It's a term that is so obscene to me."

Phillips says the move to replace Gibson with Liam Neeson was business as usual.

"Someone was doing me a favor to come in for a two-minute cameo, and we changed it," Phillips says. "It wasn't like we fired somebody. [Gibson] was just doing a favor from the beginning."

But the back-and-forth certainly caused a stir. Shortly after news of Gibson's cameo as a Bangkok tattoo artist emerged, Phillips announced the appearance was cancelled. Then there was speculation that Hangover star Zach Galifianakis was leading the call for Gibson to be cut from the movie after the comedian gave an interview to a comedy podcast suggesting there were problems on the Hangover 2 set.

Earlier this week, Phillips directed focus away from Galifianakis, saying "a lot of people didn't" like the idea of Gibson's cameo.

Hangover 2 Director: Mel Gibson Would Have Disrupted Film's 'Family'

Mel Gibson's proposed cameo in The Hangover 2 wasn't meant to be, according to director Todd Phillips. But his abrupt departure from the project isn't any one person's fault, either.

"The Hangover 2 is a family ... and as much as I loved the idea, a lot of people didn't," Phillips told Entertainment Tonight of his cast and crew. "I didn't want anything to come in between that family."

Shortly after news of Gibson's cameo as a Bangkok tattoo artist emerged, Phillips announced the appearance was canceled – and Liam Neeson quickly replaced Gibson in the role.

There was also speculation that star Zach Galifianakis was leading the call for Gibson's role cancelation after the comedian gave an interview to a comedy podcast suggesting there were problems on the Hangover 2 set.

Phillips, however, was careful to add that he still respects Gibson's talent.

"He's one of our finest actors and, quite honestly, one of our finest directors," Phillips says.

'Hangover' ax burns Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson is furious at producers of "The Hangover Part II" for booting him from the flick, sources say. Gibson's minor role as a Bangkok tattoo artist was seen as a comeback for his tattered career, but producers were quick to cut him loose when cast members objected to working with him. A source close to Gibson told us, "He doesn't understand why Mike Tyson, a drug user who turned his life around, was given a chance while Mel was kicked to the curb. Everybody deserves a second chance." Alan Nierob, who represents Gibson and Liam Neeson, issued a statement hinting at resentment over the firing. Nierob said Neeson will replace Gibson in the part, "pending clearance of cast and crew background check," he quipped. Gibson is embroiled in a legal battle with ex- girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who alleges he assaulted and threatened her.

Gibson axed from 'Hangover 2'

Mel Gibson will no longer be playing a cameo role in “The Hangover 2” after news of the casting triggered an internal backlash at the studio and on the film.

Director Todd Phillips and Warner Bros. were ready to feature Gibson as a tattoo artist. Now the filmmakers have withdrawn the offer.

Phillips, Warners and partner Legendary Pictures announced the development Thursday afternoon.

“I thought Mel would have been great in the movie and I had the full backing of (the studio),” said Phillips in a statement. “But I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew.”

A representative for Gibson was not immediately available for comment.

When the casting announcement was made earlier this week, a source familiar with the production told the Hollywood Reporter that the role was to be “pivotal” to the plot, which features one of the characters going under the needle during a night of debauchery.

“The Hangover 2” reunites Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha who starred in the hit 2009 original as friends trying to piece together a rowdy Vegas bachelor party. This time the location for their latest mishap is set for Bangkok.

Was Oksana Grigorieva Extorted? Or Extorting? Judge Allows Full Hard Drive Access

It's for the Sheriff's Department and courts to decide who's at fault. Which they could do a lot quicker if attorneys for Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva didn't fight to the death on every aspect of the investigation.

As it happens, attorneys for Gibson's verbally berated and allegedly abused baby mama were in court this afternoon to determine just how much access they'll be allowed to have to Grigorieva's records.

Grigorieva came in on the side of not much.

But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon denied a motion to limit a search of her computer hard drive, despite her lawyer's argument that authorities shouldn't be privy to personal items like family photos and letters to Grigorieva's father.

Grigorieva was seeking "the return of private, personal and privileged items that are unrelated to this investigation," and "the establishment of a search protocol that will exclude private, personal and privileged items but will allow the discovery of all items that relate to the (false) extortion claims."

The Sheriff's Department successfully argued that investigators need to do an exhaustive search of her computer, just on the off-chance that any potentially incriminating evidence has been hidden or misleadingly labeled.

Oksana, for her part, argues that such a thorough probe is not necessary and, in fact, would only potentially expose her private life to more analysis, public embarrassment, and most likely be used against her by Team Mel when the case inevitably goes to trial.

Indeed, papers filed indicate that the Sheriff's Department may intend on prosecuting Grigorieva herself for extortion.

"I am not an extortionist," she told reporters after the hearing. "I never asked for any money."

Gibson has accused Grigorieva is of trying to bilk $15 million from him in exchange for keeping those damning phone conversations quiet—a separate matter from the domestic violence case she brought against Mel. No charges have been filed in either case so far.

"Like in the BALCO case, it is illegal to have a general search, no private pictures of Grigorieva breast feeding or pictures of a child and her mother, they should be able to get things related to the case only," her lawyers, Daniel Horowitz, told E! News. "A third party can look through it and pass along only the things relevant to the search."

As her lawyer addressed reporters after the hearing, Grigorieva said that her "entire life is on the computer," including "a lot" of stuff that Gibson "would be embarrassed about," including "private videos."

Oh boy.

Gordon said simply that it wasn't his place to supervise the ongoing criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Grigorieva's camp is also crying extortion when it comes to a former bodyguard of hers, who claims that he's working on a tell-all book in which he alleges that they slept together.

"It's a complete fabrication," Horowitz says. "He made up lies to get into her world, she believed him, she realized who he was, she cut him off, and now look at what he's doing. What he said was a complete fabrication...He is full of lies and slander to extort her."

Jodie Foster Calls Mel Gibson 'Most Loved Man in Film Business'

Mel Gibson's good friend Jodie Foster has an interesting take on the troubled actor (who will have a cameo role in The Hangover 2) – saying that, despite his troubles, Gibson remains "the most loved man in the film business."

As for his upcoming comedy cameo, "He really liked the humor in that first [Hangover] movie, so I'm glad he'll be in it!" Foster, 47, tells Extra.

Meanwhile, sources have told that Gibson, 54, won't play himself in the movie but will play "an outlandish character" like Tom Cruise did in Tropic Thunder.

Foster tells Extra that Gibson, who's been involved in a bitter public feud with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, is an "incredible and loyal friend" who will hopefully emerge soon from his "rough time."

"He is incredibly loved by everyone that's ever come into contact with him or works with him," Foster says. "He is truly the most loved man in the film business, so, hopefully that stands for something."

Is Mel Gibson Getting a Cameo in The Hangover 2?

This may be just what Mel Gibson needs. With his personal life in turmoil recently, spending some time with the guys from The Hangover might do him some good.

According to the New York Post Gibson, 54, is set to do a cameo in The Hangover 2. A source also confirms to PEOPLE the actor will appear in the movie.

The film will feature the same crew from the original smash hit – Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis and Justin Bartha and, notably, Ken Jeong as the wacky gangster – and will bring the pals to Thailand where the find danger lurking in Bangkok. Mike Tyson's cameo in the first installment tickled audiences and showed a comedic side to the controversial boxer.

Oksana Grigorieva Video: 'I've Never Leaked Those Tapes'

They were the tapes heard 'round the world. But Oksana Grigorieva, Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend, vehemently denies that she is the one who made them public.

"I've never leaked those tapes," she says of the audio that surfaced in July in which the actor can be heard raging against Grigorieva in a series of explosive phone calls. She says she does not know how the tapes surfaced.

Grigorieva, 40, also denies that she ever attempted to extort any money from Gibson, 54.

An L.A. Sheriff's investigation is underway as to whether Grigorieva attempted to extort millions from Gibson in exchange for keeping the tapes private. Meanwhile, the L.A. district attorney is determining whether to charge Gibson with domestic violence. Gibson's attorneys declined to comment about Grigorieva’s interview in the new issue of PEOPLE, but his side has repeatedly disputed her allegations.

Grigorieva maintains that her primary focus is the couple's 1-year-old daughter Lucia, who lives with her mom but sees her dad nearly every other day, including overnight visits once a week. "I'm only fighting for my daughter," says Grigorieva. "He needs to understand that ... and stop destroying me and my name."

Why is she speaking out so publicly? "I'd like for people to know the real Mel Gibson," she says. "Even though he's rich and famous, he's a bully ... And I want other women that are in my situation to stand up to the bullies, even though it's difficult and scary."

For much more about Oksana Grigorieva's relationship with Mel Gibson, look for the Oct. 18 of PEOPLE, on newsstands now .

Oksana Grigorieva Claims Mel Gibson Wielded Gun After Hitting Her

As the drama surrounding Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva continued, the Russian-born musician is going into greater detail about the domestic violence she says she suffered at Gibson's hands.

Grigorieva, 40, alleges that a livid Gibson, 54, flew off the handle at her on Jan. 6 in the presence of their 1-year-old daughter Lucia and her 13-year-old son Sasha (from a previous relationship with actor Timothy Dalton).

Gibson's attorneys declined to comment for this story, but they have repeatedly disputed her allegations. The L.A. District Attorney is determining whether to charge Gibson with for domestic violence, while an L.A. sheriff's investigation is underway as to whether Grigorieva tried to extort millions from the actor in exchange for keeping explosive audiotapes between the two private.

But in an interview with PEOPLE, Grigorieva – who was romantically involved with Gibson for two years – says the star became enraged on Jan. 6 for no specific reason and repeatedly struck her while she held Lucia and Sasha cowered under the bed.

"When the domestic violence event happened ... we were completely terrified and devastated," Grigorieva tells PEOPLE. "Mel kept spitting on my face until it was covered in saliva ...he kept screaming like a crazy man. It's a scary sight."

"He says get the eff out and then he pulls a gun out," she says. "He could have killed us all."

For much more about Oksana Grigorieva's relationship with Mel Gibson, look for the Oct. 18 of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

Oksana Grigorieva: Mel Gibson Needs Help

As she reveals more details about her combustible two-year relationship with Mel Gibson, Oksana Grigorieva says she thinks the actor needs serious help.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, Grigorieva, 40, alleges that Gibson, 54, was physically and verbally abusive to her. The Los Angeles district attorney is determining whether to charge Gibson with domestic violence.

Gibson's attorneys declined to comment about Grigorieva's interview, but his side has repeatedly disputed her allegations.

Grigorieva alleges that the actor attacked her on Jan. 6 in a fit of rage. "It's like something comes over him," she says. During that alleged incident, she recalls, "his pupils dilated, and he's screaming so loudly. Ugly face – like not even his face. It's evil. Just evil."

The rage, she alleges, "could be set off by anything."

Today, Grigorieva says she believes Gibson – who sees their nearly 1-year-old daughter Lucia nearly every other day, including overnight visits once a week – must seek help: "I want him to be treated, evaluated ... he just needs to take responsibility."

Oksana's Oprah Appearance Nixed, But Will Judge Be Ticked Off Anyway?

Even the mighty Oprah Winfrey doesn't get the exclusive every time.

Mel Gibson's ex, Oksana Grigorieva, was getting primed to sit down with the queen of daytime but had to pull the plug after the judge overseeing her custody proceedings told her to clam up already.

More or less.

A source tells E! News that, in chambers yesterday, L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon told attorneys for both Grigorieva and Gibson that their ungoing case is under seal (as is the usual with family court matters) and a gag order is in full effect.

"Neither party in the case should be speaking," our source says.

Grigorieva's legal team, headed up by attorney Daniel Horowitz, then advised her to cancel the Oprah interview—especially considering she already gave an exclusive to People that could be on newsstands as early as next week.

And the judge probably won't be too happy about it.

"The lawyers had to put a stop to [Oprah] because it is a violation of the judge's seal," says our source. "But the People magazine interview already took place, so they couldn't stop that."

Yesterday's closed hearing also resulted in a restraining order barring Grigorieva's bodyguard and reported advisor, who happens to be a convicted felon, from being around

Gibson wins restraining order

Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has been ordered to keep her bodyguard away from the former couple's baby girl after the actor's lawyers won a restraining order against the convicted felon.

The Braveheart star raised concerns about Kristian Otto Herzog being around little Lucia after learning he had just been released from jail for firearms offences in March and is currently on probation.

He instructed his legal team to file a court request banning Herzog from going anywhere near the tot and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon granted the order during a hearing on Monday.

According to, the security man also had another prior conviction for gun charges.

The restraining order is the latest in Gibson and Grigorieva's ongoing custody battle over baby Lucia following their split earlier this year.

Team Oksana Rips Mel and His "Cowards"

Have you heard the one about Oksana Grigorieva accusing ex Timothy Dalton of abuse, not unlike what she's currently claiming against Mel Gibson?

Well, her lawyer has, and he's calling bunk.

E! News sat down with attorney Daniel Horowitz, who discussed the "cowards" on Team Mel, Oksana's newly jacked-up child-support payments and an appearance on a certain daytime talk show…

Asked about a TMZ report claiming Grigorieva lodged similar abuse allegations against Dalton, with whom she has a teenage son, Horowitz refutes the claim.

"The lie is from the people who made that accusation. Here's my face. Where's the face of the person who made that accusation? It doesn't exist. Ghosts can say anything. Ghosts can leak anything. But they are cowards.

"All I can say is I'm used to beating up cowards. I just beat up a coward on air. Show your face."

As far as the child support payment increase for Oksana and Mel's daughter, Lucia, Horowitz understands that $20,000 a month may seem outrageous to us normal folk, but for Hollywood, it's the norm.

"The judge said by Hollywood standards, this is the standard and correct number and I don't want to hear any arguments that somehow she should get less than any other child."

Lastly, will Oprah Winfrey be in Grigorieva's future?

"Who is Oprah? No comment on anything about that."

Hmm, a little bird told us the the Oksana-Oprah summit was a done deal. We'll have to wait and see.

Judge raises Mel's payments

A judge in Los Angeles has ordered Mel Gibson to increase his child support payments to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva as the former couple's custody battle rages on.

The pair, who became parents to daughter Lucia last year, ended their relationship in April and the break-up has turned ugly in recent months as they attempt to negotiate the terms of their split.

Grigorieva accused Gibson of beating her during an alleged altercation in January and tape recordings of their bitter arguments hit the web.

The Russian singer went to court in August to demand an increase in Gibson's child support payments for Lucia, with her lawyers arguing the $5,000-a-month installments are not enough to cover her expenses.

Now Judge Scott Gordon, who is overseeing the case, has agreed - issuing an order to Gibson on Thursday to increase the payments to $20,000-a-month, according to

Whoopi Goldberg backs Mel Gibson

Whoopi Goldberg stands behind her "bonehead" friend Mel Gibson. "I can't defend someone who got angry like that," Goldberg said at the Pure launch at the Renaissance Hotel about the explosive tapes of Gibson screaming at wife Oksana Grigorieva. "But we all get angry. I've cussed people out. I hope no one finds those tapes," Goldberg said. She also questioned the validity of Grigorieva's domestic violence case against him, which has been postponed until an alleged extortion plot against Gibson is investigated. "I just wonder what happened with her court case," Goldberg said. "Now that's a story."

Mel's ex signed agreement about cash

Mel Gibson's former partner Oksana Grigorieva signed an agreement not to chase the actor/director for money if they split - just a month before the pair's alleged violent bust-up in January.

The couple ended their relationship in April and the break-up turned nasty when the Russian singer accused her former partner of beating her during a violent argument at the beginning of the year. Taped arguments between the pair subsequently surfaced online and the lurid content hit headlines across the world.

It was recently reported that Gibson agreed to hand over $1 million US for the return of "all evidence" which would be "destroyed in a manner agreed upon by both parties."

The "evidence" was purportedly the now infamous taped rants, as well as other emails, texts and photographs.

The May document, which was obtained by, also set out a "50-50" custody share of the former couple's daughter, Lucia, and detailed a financial plan for the youngster's future, as well as payments for Grigorieva. The Russian singer later pulled out of the agreement.

But another document found by the website reportedly shows that Grigorieva had already signed papers stating she had no right to claim any of the Lethal Weapon star's vast fortune, which was described as "in excess of $150 million," in December 2009, just weeks before their alleged fight.

According to, the papers stated, "Neither party has promised the other to assist in funding any support for each other or the other party's children from other relationships."

At the time, Gibson agreed his partner could remain in his California home, but that he could evict her with 12 months written notice.

Mel's ex offered $1M for tapes?

Mel Gibson reportedly signed a contract with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva offering her a massive $1 million to turn over his now infamous taped rants.

The couple split in April and the break-up turned nasty when the Russian singer accused her former partner of beating her during a violent argument in January. Taped arguments between the pair subsequently surfaced online and the lurid content hit headlines across the world.

Grigorieva's lawyers have denied she was behind the leak and Gibson's legal team lodged an official complaint with police, accusing her of trying to bribe the star for a big cash payout in exchange for the audio footage.

Now a document obtained by, purportedly signed by Gibson and Grigorieva in May, appears to show the Lethal Weapon star offered the singer $1 million to turn over "all evidence" and "represent and warrant that all evidence has been turned over and all evidence will be destroyed in a manner agreed upon by both parties."

The website reports the "evidence" in question is defined in a related document as "recordings, audio tapes, emails, text messages, videotapes and photographs... of Gibson."

The document also cites a "50-50" custody share of the former couple's daughter, Lucia, and details a financial plan for the youngster's future, as well as payments for Grigorieva.

Both parties reportedly agreed to the terms of the settlement, but Grigorieva is said to have later backed out when she was presented with a more detailed document.

Mel Gibson facing foreclosures

Embattled actor Mel Gibson is facing foreclosure on three of his properties in Malibu, California after he was accused of failing to settle a $12,000 bill with building contractors.

The Braveheart star has been named alongside his estranged wife Robyn in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on 17 September by executives at Ramage Construction.

The company bosses allege they were hired to build homes near the church on Gibson's Malibu estate but they never received the balance upon completion and they are now demanding the former couple pays up - or place the properties in foreclosure.

And Gibson's church is facing a similar fate - its owners at A.P. Reilly Foundation are also being sued by Ramage Construction over an outstanding $200,000 invoice stemming from the construction of the place of worship, reports

Mel Gibson's ex-lover launches PR battle

Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva was portrayed on Wednesday as a "terrorized" woman who never attempted to extort money from the actor, with whom she has an 11-month old daughter.

In an appearance on NBC's "Today," show, Grigorieva's attorneys spoke publicly for the first time on the scandal that has engulfed Gibson over audiotapes of phone calls in which he rants at, and appears to threaten, his former lover.

Los Angeles police are investigating Gibson on suspicion of domestic abuse, and Grigorieva for possible extortion. Neither have been charged.

Gibson and the Russian-born model and singer split up earlier this year after having a baby following the end of the "Braveheart" star's 28-year marriage. Gibson has remained silent in the face of weeks of damaging publicity over the tapes.

"The media seems to focus on whether she extorted Mel Gibson", lawyer Daniel Horowitz said on Wednesday of Grigorieva. He called her a "domestic violence victim. She was beaten, she was terrorized."

Horowitz denied reports that Grigorieva asked for money in exchange for not releasing the infamous audio tapes, or photos of herself with a chipped tooth that she said resulted when the Oscar-winner allegedly punched her in the face.

But Horowitz said that "anybody who is beaten or threatened has the right to document it."

"Otherwise it is going to be Mel Gibson, one of the most popular loved superstars in the world against a lone woman," he said.

Horowitz said Grigorieva did not profit from the leaked tapes and claimed that she had tried to hold back any publicity that would hurt Gibson.

Actress Jodie Foster, who co-starred with Gibson in the 1994 film "Maverick" and worked with him on the upcoming movie "The Beaver," came to the actor's defense this week.

Foster told More magazine in an interview released on Tuesday that Gibson was the "easiest, nicest person I've ever worked with."

"When you love a friend, you don't abandon them when they are struggling," Foster told the magazine. "...he is and has been a true and loyal friend. I hope I can help him get through this dark moment."

Jodie Foster Still on Team Mel, Despite His "Dark Moment"

So…guess this means Jodie Foster isn't hoping to win any popularity contests anytime soon. Or feminism contests. Or gay rights contests. Or those promoting civil rights of any kind. And lets not forget anti-domestic violence.

In other words: she's sticking up for Mel Gibson. Again.

Hey, now that her problems are all taken care of, it's time to move onto someone else's.

A longtime pal of Mel's, Foster was one of the few celebs to go public with her support of the thesp in the wake of his infamous Jew-hating, sugartitted rant several years ago, and in a new interview has once again—this time in the wake of completing a suddenly indefinitely postponed film with Gibson—risen to his defense.

In an interview with More magazine, conducted several months prior to Oksanagate, Foster called Gibson the "easiest, nicest person I've ever worked with…The second I met him, I said, 'I will love this man for the rest of my life.'"

Lest you think that an unfair barometer of Foster's feelings toward Gibson, the magazine contacted the actress after tape upon tape (upon tape) of vile, misogynistic and generally hateful vitriol was released from his leaked voicemails.

Credit to Foster, she didn't change her tune.

"When you love a friend, you don't abandon them when they are struggling," she told the magazine.

"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."

It's bound to be a rough job. But someone's got to do it. Apparently.

Mel to Oksana: 'I'm a f**king failure'

Mel Gibson's troubled relationship with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva is back under the spotlight following the leak of an email exchange which purportedly took place between the pair shortly after their bust-up in January.

The couple split in April and subsequently became embroiled in an ugly public spat after the Russian singer accused the Hollywood star of knocking out her teeth in a violent argument.

Tape recordings of Gibson allegedly hurling abuse at his former partner, the mother of his daughter Lucia, also hit the internet and further intensified the scandal.

Now a series of emails which are said to have been sent between the pair shortly after the alleged fight have been obtained by

One message, reportedly sent by Gibson, simply reads, "How's your tooth?" and it is followed by another email which reads, "Could you please call me... I want to tell you how unspeakably sorry I am."

Another email allegedly sent by Gibson in March, tells of his personal woes and his attempts to rebuild the romance.

It reads, "I am beginning to actually see, how screwed up I have been... I love you. I want to be here for you and for Lucy... I was terrified of where we were going and my outbursts and the potential for damage..."

A later email adds, "I really am losing my grip. I desperately need a solution. I'm sorry it has to affect you. I can't stand anything any more. I'm full of shit and need to shovel some out... I try to be ok but it overpowers me... The pain is too great and everywhere I turn is making it heavier... I'm a fucking failure."

A response, said to be from Grigorieva , reads, "All I want is for u (sic) to be happy. To have no guilt, to smile again. With me or without me, that ever (sic) works for you. U r (sic) an incredible person. One of the kind (sic). U (sic) deserve happiness, u (sic) deserve love. Please don't torcher (sic) yourself like that, please! U (sic) didn't do anything to be so hard on yourself."

Gibson witnesses claim threats

Two potential witnesses in the Mel Gibson/Oksana Grigorieva criminal investigation have told authorities at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department that their lives were threatened after they refused to fabricate evidence on behalf of Oksana Grigorieva, the actor's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his youngest child.

Grigorieva has leveled charges of domestic abuse against Gibson, claiming that the actor assaulted her on more than one occasion.

Last month, two potential witnesses in the case, Violet Kowal, a Polish porn star who claims to have slept with Gibson, and her bodyguard, Nikko Riley, told police that after they refused to help Grigorieva in her case against Gibson, her bodyguard threatened their lives by attempting to run down Riley and making verbal threats to have them killed by cops in his pocket.

Kristian Otto Herzog, Grigorieva's bodyguard, pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating an officer in 2009 and served 255 days in jail. According to sources close to the investigation, after being threatened by Herzog, Riley and Kowal told their lawyer, Gloria Allred, about the threats. Sources close to the investigation claim that after Allred failed to report the threats to the police and suggested that Kowal hold a joint news conference with Grigorieva, Kowal fired the attorney. Allred had no comment.

The sources say that during the third week of August, Riley and Kowal contacted Gibson's lawyers about the threats and were told to immediately contact the police.

In a statement to police obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Riley alleged that he and Kowal met with Herzog and another man named Shoull at the Beverly Hills Hotel and that Herzog attempted to "intimidate myself and Violet with talks about unsolved murders in Hollywood and that he would love for me and Violet to join his and Oksana's camps."

Riley told police that Herzog offered the two potential witnesses all sorts of inducements to join the Grigorieva camp. "(H)e started to promise us with expense accounts, a paid condo, and paid gigs in Hollywood due to his connections in Hollywood," Riley said in a statement to police.

Riley told authorities that when he and Kowal declined to support Grigorieva against Gibson, Herzog began making threats against their lives. "At this point, Kris stated talking about his shotguns in his car outside, meanwhile Shoull sat across from us with a threatening look on his face, so the meeting ended and they offered to walk us to our vehicle when we left," Riley said in a statement to police.

A call to Grigorieva's family lawyer was not returned and Herzog did not return an e-mail request. An attorney representing Herzog, Martin Garbus, says, "The allegations are untrue."

According to sources close to the investigation, Herzog, who has a website, the, allegedly told Riley and Kowal that he worked for a number of celebrities including Grigorieva. Riley claims that the bodyguard said Grigorieva was willing to secretly share some of the money she got from her dispute with Gibson if Riley and Kowal would say what Herzog told them to say.

In his statement to police, Riley told police that at the Beverly Hills Hotel meeting, "After 30 minutes of telling us what Oksana can do for us financially and professionally, he (Herzog) then started to ask us questions about Violet's involvement with Mr. Gibson. I told him that we can't share any info with him at that time and that's when Kris starting getting agitated with me and started again with the subtle threats about me and Violet's safety."

About an hour after the meeting, Riley told police that he received a call from Herzog in which the bodyguard "started asking me to give him copies of any evidence that Violet has about Mr. Gibson." Riley refused, according to his police statement, and "this time Kris got really angry and pushy and then proceeded with the threat that if I said anything about our meeting or our conversation he will have his dirty sheriff deputies come and take me out."

"This was a direct threat from Kris and it made me very angry but I said to myself I need proof of this guy from Oksana's camp coming in contact with us," Riley said in his statement to police. On Aug. 13, Herzog allegedly called Riley again, according to the statement Riley gave police, and Riley began taping the conversation. On Aug. 16, Riley said in his police statement that Herzog drove his car down Riley's street and attempted to strike Riley with his car.

According to sources close to the case, Riley attempted to get help from Allred, Kowal's attorney. But Riley claims that Allred kept trying to get him and Kowal to hold a press conference. "She didn't care about anything we had to say other than going after Mr. Gibson," a source close to the investigation claims Riley told authorities.

Photog turns tables on Gibson

Embattled Mel Gibson had an odd encounter with the paparazzi in Los Angeles on Monday, as he attempted to film a snapper in the back of a car on his camera phone.

A smiling Gibson stepped out of his Mercedes after spotting a paparazzo on his tail, and walked back up the street to confront the photographer filming all the way.

But he wasn't expecting the barrage of pertinent questions, which was hurled at him as the two men filmed each other.

In the footage, which debuted on new U.S. show Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday, the actor/director asked the snapper to wind his window down so he could get a good shot of him on his phone, and asked, "What's the matter, got nothing better to do?"

The photographer obliged and decided to use the opportunity to quiz Gibson about his summer legal woes with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who accused the Braveheart star of lashing out at her in a fight.

The snapper asked, "I just wondered if you really hit Oksana," and then added, "Do you think you'll ever make a movie in Hollywood again?"

The paparazzo continued, calling out Gibson for remarks he has allegedly made against Jews, blacks, Latinos and homosexuals, adding, "Do you ever think you'll ever get anybody of any race or any creed or sexual orientation ever to work for you for free from all the different colleges you asked for free interns from?"

The smile never slipped from cool Gibson's face as he fixed his camera phone on the snapper, and the actor responded by stating, "You got a lot of dialogue, don't you."

The snapper asked, "Do you have anything to say for yourself?", prompting Gibson to retort, "Not to you, I just wanted to film you... Thanks for following us around."

And when the snapper revealed he was a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild, the Aussie actor cracked, "Wanna job? I guess you need one."

Before walking away, the movie star added one final salvo, asking, "What's it like sniffing other people's laundry?"

But the snapper got the last word in, shouting after Gibson, "Hey, do you think I can have my money back for all the tickets I had to pay for those movies? I'm filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of the whole world."

Mel Gibson Arresting Officer Sues Sheriff's Department for Religious Discrimination

In James Mee's eyes, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is just as fun as a barrel of Mel Gibsons.

The sheriff's deputy who was the arresting officer when Gibson was busted for DUI in 2006 and simultaneously branded a loony anti-Semite in the court of public opinion has sued his employer for retaliation, claiming he was punished for writing up a report that painted an unfavorable opinion of Gibson.

Mee was ultimately cleared after being accused of leaking the report, but talk about launching a thousand ships!

Read the lawsuit

According to Mee's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in L.A. Superior Court, Gibson was pals with L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca at the time of his arrest and had been a spokesman for the department's Star Program.

So after Mee painted a highly inflammatory portrait of Gibson in his arrest report, in which he laid out the various things the actor said during the course of his arrest, Mee was "unjustly denied" a promotion and ended up being the target of "religious discrimination and retaliation for plaintiff's religion and his report of anti-Semitic remarks by [Gibson]," the lawsuit states.

Mee, who is Jewish, was on the receiving end of Gibson's reported "Jews are the cause of all the wars in the world" comment during his bust.

HIs lawsuit reiterates that he was ordered to leave Gibson's anti-Semitic rant out of his report (four pages containing the damning info were later published by TMZ), and then further alleges that Sheriff's Sgt. Tracy Palmer erased a videotape that showed Gibson acting franctically screaming and pacing while in custody.

Mee claims that, because he is Jewish, he was the first officer singled out as a possible source of the TMZ leak, even though other employees had equal access to those four pages. He ended up with a negative job performance report on his permanent record, he says.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says it does not comment on pending litigation.

Mee alleges violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act by Discrimination on Account of Religion; retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act; and violation of the CFEHA by harassment and creation of a hostile work environment.

Gibson still has movie appeal: poll

Mel Gibson may be suffering one of the worst media scandals of his career, but a new poll shows it is having a relatively small impact on the movie star’s box office appeal.

In a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll released Monday. more than three quarters of Americans said they would not be affected by audiotapes of phone calls, widely reported to be Gibson ranting at his estranged ex-girlfriend, when deciding whether to see one of the Oscar winner’s films.

Asked if they were less likely to buy a ticket for a Gibson movie after hearing the tapes posted on the Internet, 76 percent of Americans — including 80 percent of men and 72 percent of women — picked , “No, no effect,” in the poll by magazine Vanity Fair and television news program 60 Minutes.

Gibson, whose movies include “Braveheart” and “The Passion of the Christ,” has in the past been embroiled in other scandals including making anti-Semitic comments to a California police officer in 2006.

In the now infamous tapes of calls between he and former girlfriend and Russian-born model Oksana Grigorieva, a voice said to be Gibson’s rants and curses during an argument dealing with their baby daughter.

The tapes, which were posted in July at, made headlines worldwide and since then, film industry pundits have wondered what the long-term fallout would be on Gibson’s movie career and box office appeal.

He has two movies that have wrapped production, “The Beaver” and “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” His most recent “Edge of Darkness,” which landed in theaters this past January, failed to ignite much of a spark at box offices.

In a separate poll question, Republican Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential candidate whose rift with the former fiancee of her teenage daughter, Bristol, also has attracted recent U.S. tabloid coverage, was deemed an ineffective future president by 59 percent of Americans.

Six in ten Americans — including 75 percent of Democrats, 40 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents — said Palin would not make an effective President, while only 26 percent overall believed she would have the ability to fulfill the role, according to the Vanity Fair/60 Minutes poll.

And contrary to the vampire mania that has spread in recent years among films, books and TV shows such as the popular “Twilight” and “True Blood,” the poll said more Americans believe in ghosts than vampires.

Asked to choose which was most believable among vampires, ghosts, U.F.O.’s, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster, 33 percent overall picked ghosts, followed closely by U.F.O.’s at 30 percent. Vampires scored a mere seven percent.

The poll, which is posted at, is a monthly measure of U.S. attitudes on topics including culture, lifestyle, current events, and politics. The CBS News interviewing facility conducted a random sample of 847 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone.

Joan Rivers: "My Dress Turned Mel Gibson Into a Jew-Hater!"


Joan Rivers thinks she could be the reason behind Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic rants. And to make matters worse, it may have something to do with something she wore...

Rivers will never forget her worst red carpet fashion disaster. "There's a picture of me talking to Mel Gibson years ago," the comedy legend says. "I'm wearing a dress. It was navy with pink ruffles on the top. It just didn't work. But I was talking to Mel Gibson, so I guess I deserved to be looking like an asshole."

Rivers laughs when I suggest, "Maybe that's why he doesn't like Jews."

"I think we've hit on something brilliant here," she exclaims. "It's because of the dress! The navy and pink ruffle dress turned Mel Gibson into a Jew-hater!"

But enough about Mr. Gibson.

Let's get to Rivers' return to E! Not only is she hosting Monday's Fashion Police Emmy special, but she'll be doing the same every Friday on the network's upcoming new weekly F.P. series with panelists Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and celeb stylist George Kotsiopoulos.

"Fashion should be fun," Rivers asserts. "It's about having a good time and almost being a transvestite. They do it the right way. I think whatever you wear, you should put one more piece on. You should be over-the-top. So what if it's not perfect. One in five outfits you should miss. That means you're having a good time."

Rivers says she's looking forward to seeing what True Blood newlyweds Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer will be wearing. However, that doesn't mean she's jumped on the vampire bandwagon. "At my age, it's the third go-around for me with vampires," notes the 77-year-old Rivers. "I was there when Anne Rice came out with Interview With the Vampire and I was also there with the original ones in Transylvania."

Mel Gibson Not Done With the Sheriff Yet

Mel Gibson probably knows these guys so well at this point that they're on his Christmas card list.

Or maybe not.

In either case, the erstwhile Lethal Weapon will soon be having another sitdown with investigators from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

The theme of the latest get-together will be Gibson's allegations that he was targeted in an extortion attempt by ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

"We want to," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore tells E! News when asked if the department planned another round of interrogations. "Right now we just want to re-interview the alleged victim."

The 54-year-old Oscar winner has asked authorities to investigate his claims the 40-year-old Russian musician tried to blackmail him by threatening to go public with recorded phone calls of his ugly tirades unless he paid her around $10 million in hush money.

Grigorieva has adamantly denied the accusation. Of course, said tapes wound up being leaked online over the summer, capturing Mr. Braveheart in all his bigoted, hate-filled glory.

Whitmore could not say when Gibson's new interview will happen or when detectives will be ready to present to the L.A. County District Attorney's Office, which will then decide whether to bring charges.

Separately on Wednesday, the department sent Gibson's domestic violence case to the D.A. stemming from an alleged attack on Grigorieva back on Jan. 6 as she held the ex-couple's 9-month-old daughter, Lucia.

Prosecutors are now weighing whether to file charges but no word on when they're decision will be announced.

Mel Gibson Domestic Violence Case Given to Prosecutors

Detectives completed a weeks-long investigation into domestic violence allegations against Mel Gibson and handed the case to the District Attorney to decide on charges, a source tells PEOPLE.

A decision by the Los Angeles prosecutors could take several months.

Gibson, 54, was recorded threatening then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, 40, telling her she "deserved it" when she accused him of punching her twice in the face while she held their now 10-month-old daughter Lucia.

Grigorieva also claims he struck the baby. Photos allegedly showing Grigorieva's bruised face and damaged teeth leaked on the web.

Gibson sources say the actor merely tried to stop Grigorieva from shaking their child "like a ragdoll" and that he never harmed Lucia.

Investigators continue to look into allegations Grigorieva tried to extort Gibson with the taped phone conversations.

Mel Gibson's ex appears for custody hearing in LA

Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva appeared for a closed court hearing Wednesday involving custody issues with their young daughter.

Flanked by deputies, Grigorieva did not speak to reporters when she arrived outside the courthouse. She was accompanied by one of her attorneys during breaks in the session.

Gibson did not appear at the hearing, which was closed to the public by law.

A summary posted outside the courtroom indicated attorneys would argue a motion on whether to seize the passport of the 9-month-old girl.

Gibson and Grigorieva reached a confidential custody agreement months ago, but repeated hearings have been held since then concerning the ongoing case.

Attorneys on both sides have declined to comment.

The proceedings have been closely monitored by courthouse officials and deputies. A paparazzo and a reporter for the celebrity website were escorted from the building after shooting photos in the hallway Wednesday, a violation of courthouse rules.

RadarOnline posted two images of Grigorieva, including one showing her walking in a hallway with her attorney. The images were later removed from the website.

Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said a judge will decide later whether to issue civil contempt citations to the reporter and photographer.

An e-mail message seeking comment sent to RadarOnline founder and Executive Vice President David Perel was not immediately returned.

The hearing came as sheriff's detectives were winding down their investigation into allegations that Gibson, 54, harmed Grigorieva during an argument in January. The agency was also looking into claims by the actor-director that Grigorieva attempted to extort him.

Detectives have attended one hearing in the case and were given copies of audio recordings filed with the court.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore has said the results of the investigation could be given to prosecutors by the end of the week.

Report: Gibson sitter dies before trial

A babysitter who was expected to be a key eyewitness to Mel Gibson's alleged rages in his custody battle with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has died, according to U.S. TV reports.

Reports suggest the unnamed Hispanic child minder, who lost her battle with cancer at the weekend witnessed the actor/director's alleged attacks on the Russian singer.

The babysitter even featured in Gibson's phone rants that were taped by Grigorieva and leaked to the media earlier this summer.

He told Grigorieva he would fire the woman if she agreed to babysit the couple's daughter Lucia at her mother's house and reminded the Russian, "I'm her employer, not you."

Gibson crashes car into hillside

Mel Gibson's troubled summer has just got worst - the movie star lost control of his car on a Malibu, California road on Sunday and crashed it into the hillside.

The actor/director, who is at the centre of a bitter custody battle with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, had to call a tow truck to Malibu Canyon Road to recover his battered Maserati after the crash.

Gibson was not hurt and a friend picked him up, according to

According to the California Highway Patrol report of the accident, Gibson "stopped his car at the scene and was contacted by officers from the West Valley CHP Area".

CHP Public Information Officer Leland Tang tells, "Gibson told officers in the field he did not know how the car drifted out of the lane and into the hillside."

Alcohol was not a factor and Gibson insisted he was not speaking on a cellphone at the time of the crash.

Tang said police officers asked Gibson if he had fallen asleep at the wheel, adding, "He did not give a firm yes or no."

Celebrity publicist sought in Mel Gibson case

Investigators in the Mel Gibson domestic-violence probe want to question a celebrity publicist who briefly represented Oksana Grigorieva.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that authorities are interested in learning from Howard Bragman where Grigorieva got the funds to pay him and whether those funds might have come from the sale of the secret audio recordings she made of telephone conversations with Gibson.

They also want to know if Grigorieva told Bragman anything about Gibson's alleged abuse of her or their baby.

Bragman declined comment on the matter as did Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Gibson's spokesperson also had no comment. ( reported on July 30 that Bragman dropped Grigorieva before he had officially signed on.)

Bragman is known for managing the coming-out of such gay stars as Chely Wright, Meredith Baxter and Chaz Bono.

The sheriff's department has confirmed that it is investigating Grigorieva's abuse allegations and whether she used the audio recordings to extort money from Gibson. Days after a judge ordered the recordings sealed, they turned up on

The authorities are looking into whether Grigorieva's sister sold the audio recordings to RadarOnline. If there is evidence that Grigorieva was involved in the sale of the audio recordings or any other sealed evidence in the dispute, she could be found to be in violation of a court order.

Mel Gibson's Alleged Ex-Flame Contacted by Authorities Investigating Star

Authorities want to know what Violet Kowal knows.

The Polish-born model, who claims to have had an affair with Mel Gibson that ended in January, was contacted about two weeks ago by Los Angeles County law-enforcement officials in connection with an ongoing investigation concerning Gibson, a source exclusively tells E! News.

"She hasn't done a formal interview yet, but they have contacted her," the source says.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that it is investigating both Oksana Grigorieva's domestic violence allegation against Gibson and his claim that she tried to extort roughly $10 million from him in exchange for not releasing the recordings she made of him ranting over the phone.

No arrests have been made or charges filed in either matter.

The domestic violence probe is expected to be completed and turned over to the District Attorney's Office within the next two weeks, Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Monday.

E!'s source did not say which investigation might involve Kowal, whose rep did not return a request for comment.

In a recent interview with E! News, she says that, during the course of their approximately 6-month relationship, Gibson never talked about Grigorieva, nor did she meet her.

Gibson, meanwhile, denied having an affair with the adult-website operator when the National Enquirer linked the two together in May.

Mel Gibson Domestic Violence Probe Wrapping Up

This isn't exactly a release date Mel Gibson is looking forward to.

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore tells E! News that detectives are two weeks away from completing their investigation into allegations the Lethal Weapon star assaulted ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, and their 9-month-old baby, Lucia.

"We're looking at turning it over to the district attorney in the next two weeks," Whitmore said. "We have to finish up the investigation and tie up a few loose ends."

Let the countdown begin.

Despite reports that investigators have finished interviewing witnesses however, Whitmore added that the process is still ongoing.

"We're going to receive some documentation and we're going to interview anybody that we need to," the spokesman noted. "Then we're going to give the packet to the D.A."

Police are reportedly considering charging Gibson with domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment. They are also looking into extortion allegations his camp has leveled against the 40-year-old Russian musician.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the 54-year-old actor and Grigorieva continue to meet in Family Court and duke it out over child support, custody and visitation rights.

Gibson's dad calls Pope gay?

Mel Gibson’s father has hit headlines after reportedly blasting the Catholic Church and declaring Pope Benedict XVI a "homosexual" on a U.S. radio show over the weekend. has obtained an alleged recording of Hutton Gibson on the Political Cesspool Radio Program, during which he's asked if the Catholic Church has been "politicized" to the point where it cannot address controversial issues such as homosexuality.

The 91 year-old responds: "It's not willing to do so because half of the people there in the Vatican are queer."

When asked if he thinks Pope Benedict is gay, Hutton replies: "I certainly do... why else would he put up with this?... He's a slippery character."

It's not the first time the Gibson family has been tangled in religious controversy.

Hollywood actor Mel Gibson came under attack in 2006 after he fired-off anti-Semitic comments to a Jewish traffic cop, who arrested him on a charge of drink driving in California.

Gibson subsequently issued a public apology for his drunken remarks.

Gibson, Sr.'s interview also comes as his son faces fresh controversy as he battles his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva for custody of their baby daughter, Lucia.

The war of words between the pair has seen Grigorieva accuse the shamed star of assault, while audio footage of telephone calls in which the actor can allegedly be heard hurling offensive racial language and expletive-laden threats at his ex-partner have leaked online.

INSIDE STORY: Why Oksana Started Recording Mel Gibson's Rants

It was first full day of Lent, and the perfect day for Mel Gibson to gather the people closest to him, including his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, in a tree planting ceremony to honor his then-2-month-old daughter Lucia at one of his Malibu properties.

"It was supposed to be a celebration," says a source close to Grigorieva.

Instead, the events of Feb. 18 would result in Grigorieva recording the actor-director-producer's increasingly disturbing telephone calls to her, recordings that now threaten to permanently unravel his once lofty place in the Hollywood firmament.

So what happened?

"Mel became convinced she was flirting with the gardener, which was completely absurd," says the source. "But he became enraged about it to the degree that he felt he was a danger to Oksana and the baby."

A Mother's Advice

Gibson stormed off his own property in a fury. Grigorieva gathered up the baby and returned to the house in Sherman Oaks, Calif., that Gibson owns and called her mother in Moscow, who had advice for her eldest daughter, according to the source.

"It was her mother who told her she should start recording the calls just in case something happened to her and Lucia," says the source, who explains that Gibson continued to call Grigorieva's iPhone throughout that day. "That's how the recordings started."

The incident took place more than a month after Grigorieva alleges that Gibson punched her in the mouth and temple on Jan. 6, knocking out one of her veneers and leaving a bruise around her eye. According to the source, Gibson was extremely apologetic after allegedly striking Grigorieva, and she was still emotionally attached to the actor.

A Gibson source previously denied punching Grigorieva, saying he was just trying to prevent her from shaking their baby.

"He actually got down on his knees and begged her for forgiveness, and she decided to go back with him," says the source. "She was still in love with him."

She went to the dentist to get her teeth fixed and covered her eye bruise with makeup, says the source. She continued to appear with the actor, even flying with him to his European press commitments for the film Edge of Darkness.

"At that time, all that was on her mind was trying to protect him," says the source. "She didn't want anyone to know what he had done."

Gibson's ex-girlfriend urges him `tell the truth'

Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend says she's the victim of a "smear campaign" and never tried to extort money from the Oscar-winning star.

In a video interview posted Friday on, Oksana Grigorieva says she's been "victimized all over again" by speaking out about her troubles with Gibson. She accuses him of "trivializing domestic violence" and urges him to "tell the truth."

The Russian singer and mother of Gibson's youngest child says the now-infamous tapes allegedly of the filmmaker threatening Grigorieva were all recorded on one night, and that she recorded the calls because she feared for her life.

Gibson met with sheriff's detectives last week to discuss his claims of extortion against his ex. The sheriff's department is also investigating claims by Grigorieva that Gibson abused her during a January confrontation.

Mel Gibson's Other Woman Talks Sex, His "Scary" Temper and HGH Injections

In case you hadn't noticed, Mel Gibson hasn't exactly been coming off like Prince Charming these days.

And according to Violet Kowal, who says she had an intimate relationship with the actor, between July 2009 and last January, he didn't save his angry outbursts for Oksana Grigorieva.

"He seemed like he was on edge," Kowal says in an exclusive interview with E! News, airing Thursday at 7 p.m. "He can snap. The nice guy can suddenly be a guy who is angry and aggresive."

While "nice guy" hasn't been used in the same sentence as "Mel Gibson" in a while, Kowal insists that, when she first met the Oscar winner through a friend in 2007, he was "charming" and "appeared like a loving and caring father."

Gibson was separated from his wife of 28 years, Robyn, at the time, but she didn't file for divorce until April 2009. News of Grigorieva's pregnancy broke that May, two months before Kowal's alleged relationship with the actor began.

When Kowal gave her story to the National Enqurier, which referred to her as an "XXX-rated film producer," in May following his breakup with Grigorieva, Gibson's rep called it an "absurd fabrication."

As for her past in porn, Kowal says that the closest she has come to working in adult entertainment is running a website that sells lingerie and "adult novelties."

"He called me up [in July 2009]," Kowal tells E! News. "We chitchatted on the phone and he invited me to his home in Malibu. I was kind of nervous; he was very friendly. We spent a lot of time talking.

"I felt really good around him," she added. "He never said a word about Oksana or the baby," or his now ex-wife.

The two of them used to talk a lot about health and fitness, Kowal says.

"His pantry looks ilke a GNC store," she describes, adding that she once witnessed him taking out a tool that "looked like a pen" and telling her, "That's human growth hormone."

Then "he lifted his shirt and he injected himself."

Overall, Kowal says, she and Gibson got together seven times to talk and have sex, saying they "had a really good time."

"He wasn't aggressive, he was gentle," she continues. "I never spent the night at his place," but "we always met at his home. One time we met at his office in Santa Monica. We had sex in his office."

And in his office, she tells us, Gibson had various posters from his past movies, on which he'd drawn mustaches on his fellow actors' faces.

Asked if he ever gave her presents, Kowal says she "got money from him. The first time I got it for my birthday. Later he gave me money so I could treat myself.

But when the media got wind of their romance, Kowal says, a different side of Gibson showed itself.

"He got very angry," she says. "He called me up. He was very scary. He was screaming. He said he would make me suffer. He didn't want the relationship to come out. He blamed me for the situation. He called me up, he screamed at me and threatened me on the phone. He was furious. He was losing it."

Asked if she's afraid of Gibson, Kowal says, "Yes."

After he supposedly blew up at her over the phone [allegedly on Jan. 6, the same day of his recorded fight with Grigorieva], she says, "I went into hiding for a month. I went out of town, I was afraid he was going to come after me."

The worst thing she ever heard him say, she says, was "Bitch, don't f--k me over. I will make you suffer."

"I think he has an anger problem," Kowal concludes. "When he gets angry, he gets really angry."

Why Mel Gibson's lawyers haven't dropped him

It's been nearly three weeks since Mel Gibson's leaked telephone rant cost him his agents at William Morris Endeavor. But at least for now, his showbiz lawyers are standing by their man.

Tom Hansen, Gibson's longtime Hollywood attorney and the founding partner of Hansen Jacobson, one of the town's most prestigious talent boutiques, has so far stuck with Gibson in the wake of the enfolding scandal.

Some might be surprised by that, given how toxic the embattled actor/filmmaker is these days. Hansen's firm isn't exactly hurting for clients; they represent the top tier of actors, filmmakers and TV producers, including A-list African-American clients like Denzel Washington and Beyonce, both of whom probably aren't thrilled to share legal representation with someone who screamed the N-word during a recorded tirade.

But the fact that Hansen is steadfastly, albeit quietly (he declined to comment) sticking with Gibson says something interesting about different roles played by attorneys and agents in Hollywood, as well as the value judgments inherent in representing difficult and potentially explosive talents.

Unlike agents and managers, who often pound the pavement to find clients the right jobs, lawyers often become involved only if a potential deal is on the table. No deals, no lawyer needed, so a client who doesn't work is typically a client without a lawyer.

Given the maelstrom surrounding Gibson, he likely won't need his deal attorneys for a while (criminal and family lawyers, on the other hand, are certainly working overtime). This will allow Hansen to stay loyal to a longtime client without actually doing much for the controversial figure -- unless he stages a comeback.

Additionally, many lawyers canvassed believe that attorneys are different from agents and shouldn't make personal value judgments about which clients to represent. Everyone needs a lawyer, they say, even in challenging times (or especially in challenging times). If attorneys started dropping clients based on bad behavior, the slope would very quickly become slippery.

That's a convincing argument. After all, Hansen stuck with client Robert Downey Jr., who once had terrible personal problems and went to jail on drug-related charges before returning to work and becoming one of Hansen's most high-flying earners. Sure, drug problems are different from racism and seemingly anti-women behavior. But Jake Bloom and his law firm still close deals for Charlie Sheen, whose off-camera troubles have done little to slow his career. Lindsay Lohan, on the other hand, was dropped by Jason Sloane, another A-list talent lawyer, as her life spun out of control (although Creative Artists Agency confirms that it still represents her).

Hansen and Gibson go back many years. Gibson's agent, the late Ed Limato, was close friends with Hansen, who orchestrated Limato's move from International Creative Management to then-Endeavor a few years back. Both made a lot of money representing Gibson in good times. So it makes sense that they repaid that loyalty by sticking with Gibson during the last round of anti-Semitic comments, and now that Limato is gone, Hansen continues to stay loyal.

Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson's Beaver Flick Gets Rated, but Still No Release Date

Leonardo DiCaprio may be pulling out of Mel Gibson's next directing gig, but Jodie Foster isn't shying away from the embattled Hollywood star.

Sources tell me she fully expects a theatrical release of The Beaver, the dramedy she directed about a man (Gibson) who develops a friendship with a hand puppet. Foster also costars in the flick.

While Foster is still working on the final cut of the film, she can't be too far from finishing because…

Earlier today, the Motion Picture Association of America handed The Beaver a PG-13 rating for "mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference."

However, Summit (the studio behind the movie) has yet to decide on a release date. "It's probably not going to be something like two years from now, but they're not sure if it will be this year or next year," a source said, adding, "Jodie is committed to this movie."

Foster has kept mum about the movie and how her longtime pal's turbulent private life will affect it. As we first reported, the movie has apparently already recouped its $20 million budget through foreign sales.

Reps for Foster and Summit did not comment.

Mel Gets a Monitor for Daughter's Playdate

Nothing like a little quality time with your kid—and that Family Services-sanctioned observer person standing by the tree.

The troubled Hollywood star had a playdate with 9-month-old daughter Lucia over the weekend. And just to make sure nothing could happen that could be used against him by estranged baby mama Oksana Grigorieva in their vicious custody battle, Gibson voluntarily invited an independent observer approved by the L.A. Department of Children and Family Services to monitor their interactions together, according to People.

So where do you think the Passion of the Christ director spent time with his little angel?

If you guessed Gibson's private Catholic church in Malibu, you'd be right.

We figure his Lucia time proved much more fun than his other playdate on Sunday: with detectives investigating his extortion allegations against his 40-year-old Russian ex-girlfriend.

The observer, who reportedly has a background in family law and was OK'd by DCFS, watched Gibson play with his child on the grounds of the chapel, which he built in 2003 and has been his retreat from various scandals (his anti-Semitic diatribe following his DUI bust, his divorce, his latest heavy-rotation rants) in recent years.

Grigorieva, meanwhile, has just lost her latest spokesman, crisis manager Steven Jaffe, so there was no immediate comment from her camp on what she thinks of the Mel-hired monitor. (For his part, Jaffe said the workload "was dominating all my time" so he decided to step down.)

But based on the erstwhile Lethal Weapon's latest rants released by RadarOnline today—in which Gibson bombards Grigorieva with expletive-laden 3.a.m. phone calls—we can't imagine she'd be happy having him anywhere near Lucia, despite a family court granting him unsupervised visitation rights.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is not only probing Gibson's extortion claims but is also investigating her accusations of domestic violence and child endangerment against the hate-spewing star.

God only knows Gibson's wise to cover his ass.

Mel Gibson Blasts Oksana - Again - in Reputed New Rants

In the latest in a run of recordings allegedly capturing a ranting Mel Gibson, there's one big difference: This time, he knew he was being recorded, given he allegedly left these messages on voicemail.

In a series of eight late-night voicemails released Wednesday by RadarOnline, Gibson is allegedly heard name-calling and swearing at his ex-lover Oksana Grigorieva, apparently after a tree-planting ceremony that day had turned sour.

A source close to Oksana tells PEOPLE that Gibson had become enraged after accusing her of flirting with a gardener at one of his Malibu properties, where the couple had met to bury their daughter Lucia's placenta on Feb. 18.

"You were a sour-faced bitch today," Gibson says in one voicemail he allegedly left on Oksana's home phone. "Do you think it was tricky to get that [expletive] tree in the hole, the placenta and organize that [expletive]? Do you know how much [expletive] time and money went into that? Did you thank me? Did you even have a [expletive] smile on your face? [expletive], no … You don't give a [expletive], do you? You really are a shallow bitch. Everything about you stinks, and I am seeing it real loud and clear."

According to RadarOnline, Oksana received about 30 phone calls from Gibson that night after she'd left the ceremony – and the relationship – that day.

Also on the tape, Gibson allegedly slams Grigorieva's beloved musical talent.

"You are just [expletive] ordinary," he says on the voicemail allegedly left on Oksana's home phone. "That goes for the talent too – it's ordinary. It's not extraordinary. It's pretty [expletive] common. I'd like to see you play a concert sometime. You make mistakes all over with live performances. You can't do it. So touring is out of the question for you, because you will [expletive] it up … So give it up."

Osbournes under fire for Mel T-shirts

Kelly Osbourne is defending her decision to wear a T-shirt poking fun at Mel Gibson's tape scandal, insisting she isn't siding with the under-fire actor.

The reality TV star was photographed wearing a top with a picture of the Braveheart star and the words "You should just smile and b*** me!" a few days after her brother Jack was also seen in the same clothing.

The message references a number of tape rants which purportedly feature Gibson shouting abusive messages to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Osbourne has faced criticism over the shirts, but she insists the stars were just having fun with the "stupid" quote.

In her weekly column in Britain's Closer magazine, she writes, "My brother Jack made these shirts and the quote on the front is taken from an abusive rant Mel Gibson allegedly left on his ex-girlfriend's voice mail. Some people have said it looks like we're condoning Mel, but of course we're not.

"The quote is just such a stupid thing for anyone to say, so Jack thought it'd make a good t-shirt!"

Mel Gibson Skips Third Base, Goes Straight to Fifth Amendment During Date With Sheriff

Dressing like a Storm Trooper? Counting down the hours until Don Draper's return? Living a life that doesn't revolve around pop culture? However you decided to spend your Sunday, rest assured you had a much better time than Mel Gibson.

You see, the laid-back, pleasure-to-be-around, happy-go-lucky actor spent the day meeting with deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department about his incredibly over-the-radar disputes with Oksana Grigorieva.

But it wasn't so much what he said that was interesting. It was what he didn't say.

While department spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed to E! News that detectives met with Gibson (and you better believe his lawyer) on Sunday, thanks to an assist from his constitutional rights, the Oscar winner did not answer any questions pertaining to the allegations—seemingly buffeted by a newly leaked picture—that he got physical with Grigorieva.

"It was not for the domestic violence investigation, it was just for the extortion," Whitmore said.

The Aussie terror played the "E" card sometime after his leaked phone calls reached a seemingly reputation-damaging point of no return, claiming that the recordings were released only after he refused Grigorieva's alleged demands for money.

Grigorieva has adamantly denied the claim, as well as claims from Gibson's camp that her sister Natalie was behind the leaks.

Speaking of which…

There appears to be no end in sight for the exercise in demeaning behavior and personal violation that is the leaked Mel phone calls, as another snippet was released this week by—all together now—

In the newest disturbingly TMI piece of audio, Gibson invokes the name of former Bond star Timothy Dalton. Grigorieva's ex-husband, the father of her 12-year-old son and a supportive ally through this ordeal, Dalton clearly inspires a fit of jealousy in Gibson:

"Did you get my last message about me being a bad father, and Tim being a great dad now?" he asked. "You didn't hear that one? Well, you should go and f--k him, you know, you fickle c--t, because I don't care.

"The game's over. OK. The game's over. Let the new games begin so you can get it on with anybody else and your son can watch it. What is it? No. 45 he's going to have to look at? F--king good…I'm so f--king sorry I had a child with you."

We're thinking the feeling's mutual.

Photo of Bruised Oksana Grigorieva Hits the Web

A photo of Oksana Grigorieva with a black eye after an alleged fight with Mel Gibson has surfaced on the Internet.

The close-up shot, which shows the Russian singer, 40, with deep bruises around her left eye, was reportedly taken after she and Gibson, 54, had gotten into a heated argument in January, according to RadarOnline, which posted the photo.

Police launched a domestic violence investigation after Grigorieva accused her ex of punching her in the face "more than once" on Jan. 6, 2010. In her restraining order filed June 25, she alleged the incident also caused a broken tooth.

Sources close to Gibson have denied the allegation, saying he was trying to stop his ex from shaking their 9-month-old daughter Lucia "like a ragdoll."

Meanwhile, Gibson met with detectives Sunday to discuss his extortion claims against Grigorieva, Los Angeles Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirms to PEOPLE.

Gibson, who alleges his ex threatened to leak recordings of him to the press if he didn't give her money, reportedly presented authorities with e-mails and texts supporting his claims, TMZ reports.

He, however, did not discuss Grigorieva's domestic abuse allegations. "We'd like to speak to him about that, but he has a Fifth Amendment right not to speak with us," Whitmore tells PEOPLE.

Mel Gibson Rages Against Oksana's Ex in Latest Tape

In another angry phone call – the seventh in a series of recorded rants – Mel Gibson allegedly tells ex girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva he regrets having a baby with her and also flies into jealous rage over her ex, former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.

"Did you get my last message about me being a bad father and Tim being a great dad?" the actor-filmmaker, 54, allegedly asks Grigorieva, 40, on the tape released Monday by RadarOnline.

"You didn't hear that one? Well, you should go [expletive] him … because I don't care," he says.

The Russian musician has been leaning on Dalton, 64, with whom she has a 12-year-old son, for support during her bitter custody battle with Gibson.

On the brief tape, which appears to be a voicemail message, an outraged Gibson also yells that "the game's over" before telling the mother of their 9-month-old daughter Lucia, "I'm so [expletive] sorry I had a child with you."

Mel Gibson and Oksana Likely Headed for Co-Parenting Classes

It may be an all-out custody war with dueling criminal accusations, but Mel Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva still have to agree on diapers and doctors for their 9-month-old daughter Lucia.

The judge in their custody case will make sure of it.

"They'll be ordered to co-parenting classes if they haven't already," says Los Angeles-based family lawyer Scott Weston, who's not involved with the case. "Judge Scott Gordon will do everything he can to get their situation under control, turn down the heat, and get both sides focused on the best interest of the baby."

Judge Gordon is no stranger to high-profile cases, having overseen Britney Spears's divorce from Kevin Federline in 2006.

Gibson, 54, and Grigorieva, 40, will likely be ordered to attend anywhere from six to 12 group sessions separately, mainly to learn effective communication skills, which is a routine order in this type of case.

The ongoing criminal investigation of the ex-couple will proceed independently of their custody case, even if one of the parents could possibly face jail time.

"Whether they like it or not, Mel and Oksana have to get along for the rest of their lives because of their child," Weston says. "They have no choice."

Oksana rages against Gibson

Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend has broken her silence about her ongoing legal battle with the Braveheart star to defiantly threaten the actor/director with a court showdown.

Gibson and singer Oksana Grigorieva split earlier this year and have been waging a bitter feud over the custody of their baby daughter Lucia ever since.

In recent weeks, the legal spat turned really nasty when audio of Gibson hurling insults at his ex as she accused him of attacking her and knocking out a tooth was leaked to the media.

The movie star countered by claiming his ex had tried to extort him over the taped phone audio.

Police in Los Angeles are currently investigating both Grigorieva's domestic violence claims and Gibson's extortion allegations.

Neither has spoken to the media about the ongoing battle - until now.

Grigorieva lost her cool when she was asked for an update during a paparazzi encounter in Los Angeles on Friday.

She raged, "Mel is lying. He's lying. There's no extortion... I'm fighting for my child. He's just a liar, and it will come up in the court, just wait."

The singer also used the paparazzi encounter to dismiss new reports her sister leaked the infamous phone tapes to the media: "She doesn't have them. She erased them a long time ago."

Meanwhile, Grigorieva's representative tells U.S. news show Entertainment Tonight, "Oksana emphatically denies that anyone on her side, specifically her sister, leaked or marketed (the tapes)."

Oksana: "Mel's a Liar!"

Oksana Grigorieva didn't hold anything back today about Mel Gibson, blaming her baby daddy for trashing her name and dragging sister Natalie into this never-ending scandal.

"Mel is a liar!" she said matter-of-factly. "He's lying. There's no extortion and there's no texts, and no emails, OK? And I'm fighting for my child and he's just a liar, and it will come up in the court, just wait."

Asked about the claims made yesterday by the Hollywood Reporter that her sibling is under investigation for allegedly leaking the volatile conversations to RadarOnline, Grigorieva was blunt.

"She doesn't have them, she erased them a long time ago," she insisted while paying a stop to her attorney Marci Levine's office.

Meanwhile, E! News has learned that Gibson took preventive measures to try to keep his remarks from ever going public.

While Grigorieva has been looking to bulk up her legal representation, E! has exclusively learned that Gibson himself has also been shopping around for more legal eagles to add to his high-powered team that already includes attorneys Blair Berk and Robert Kaufman—one that might give his current media predicament a much-needed feminist touch.

Gibson has been meeting with Susan Estrich, a renowned attorney with the civil litigation firm Quinn Emanuel and author of such books as Real Rape, Who Needs Feminism, Sex and Power? and The Case for Hilary Clinton.

Gibson managed to sneak in for several consultations with Estrich. Nine days before the salacious tapes came out, attorneys were asked to find a way to stop his remarks from ever hitting the Internet. The lawyer and her team were were also given the task of figuring out a legal solution to eliminate the quotes from the Web altogether.

Obviously, the attempt was unsuccessful. Radar began excerpting the tapes on July 9.

Meanwhile, today's scheduled hearing between the two sides was canceled, and there's been no word yet as to when it will take place.

Sister of Mel Gibson's ex under suspicion

There may finally be an answer to the question of how the audio recordings of Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva ended up posted on

Several sources confirm that Oksana Grigorieva's younger sister, Natalie, is suspected of having leaked the audio tapes to the online website and is currently being looked at by authorities.

"I suspect that if the authorities look at the sister, they'll find a wire transfer or a check to her from the website," alleges a source close to the case. "She and Oksana are very close."

Another informed source also claims that Grigorieva's sister was involved in first shopping the audio tapes to various media outlets before finally making the sale to Radar.

"All the tabloids said no to the deal because they were asked to purchase the audio tapes hearing them," says another source.

If Oksana's sister is found to have brokered the deal at the behest of her sister, it's possible that the Russian singer could be found in contempt of court.

Grigorieva could also be facing possible extortion charges, based on a text and emails that she sent Gibson. In the text message, Grigorieva wrote Gibson that the reason she recorded him was because "you broke your agreement with me."

Grigorieva on Thursday claimed she balked at signing the long form settlement custody agreement because it gave Gibson unsupervised visits with their child.

"The statement is completely false. This never happened," counters a source close to the case, adding, "This is the third explanation that she's offered for why she backed out of the agreement."

In a custody hearing before the court, Grigorieva's lawyer argued that she repudiated the agreement because she felt "coerced" and because she was "misadvised" by the retired judges overseeing the mediation.

Representatives for Grigorieva and Gibson could not be reached for comment.

Mel Gibson phone recording illegal, with exceptions

If you had this nagging feeling that there must be some law against recording conversations, you are right.

The audio tape recording of what appears to be Mel Gibson is already the focal point for the attorneys and law enforcement involved in the high-profile domestic-violence investigation and child-custody dispute between the filmmaker and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. If it is Gibson in the recording, is it admissible in court?

According to reports, Grigorieva secretly recorded the conversation, which was banned from release by the judge overseeing the child-custody lawsuit but somehow leaked to Radar Online. In California, it is illegal to intentionally record a confidential communication without the consent of all parties to the communication.

Secretly recording a confidential communication -- defined by the California Penal Code as any communication carried on in circumstances reasonably indicating that one or more of the parties desires it to be confined to the parties to the communication -- is punishable by up to a $2,500 fine or imprisonment of up to a year, or both.

Gibson, as the party who was allegedly secretly recorded, may also have a civil right of action against Grigorieva for statutory damages of $5,000 or actual damages, plus payment of his attorneys' fees and costs.

Of course, the possible consequences of secretly recording a confidential communication do not stop there. The recording also may not be used as evidence in any court or administrative proceeding, which, at first blush, can be a great shield for Gibson in both the child-custody dispute and domestic violence investigation.

But there are exceptions. A party to a conversation may record the conversation if the communication is related to the commission of a crime against a person. In the tape, the man's voice is menacing, enraged, and filled with sexual slurs. He even threatens to hit the woman on the head with a baseball bat. Moreover, to the extent a domestic violence restraining order is in place, the "victim" may record a communication to prove that the restraining order was violated.

Reports have indicated that Gibson's attorneys have already filed a contempt motion with the court for what they believe is a violation by Grigorieva of the court's order to not leak the tape. Grigorieva denies leaking the tape. If the judge believes her, Gibson's attorneys may consider going after the party disclosing the tape to the public, because the California Penal Code also makes it a crime to disclose a telephone communication without the consent of the party to whom the communication was directed.

Secret Mel Gibson text message may prove extortion

After the disturbing Mel Gibson audio tapes became public earlier this month, Oksana Grigorieva sent a text to the actor explaining why she'd surreptitiously recorded their conversations, the Hollywood Reporter has learned.

According to a source familiar with the case, Grigorieva writes in the text that the reason she recorded him was because "you broke your agreement with me."

The source says additional emails will likely be used by Gibson's attorneys to prove that Grigorieva attempted to use the audio tapes to extort money from Gibson. The source adds that Grigorieva was also upset about the breakup and was looking to reconcile.

The Los Angeles County sheriff's department on Wednesday confirmed it is investigating Grigorieva.

Based on sealed court documents reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, it also appears that Grigorieva's family law attorney, Manley Freid, hasn't been helping her cause.

At a June 22 court hearing, the judge sharply criticized Freid for obtaining a temporary restraining order the day before for his client, specifically noting Grigorieva's failure to tell the court about a previous $15 million settlement agreement between herself and Gibson.

"(Her lawyer) did something truly remarkable," notes a source close to the case. "He did not disclose to the court that there was a settlement agreement between Oksana and Mel."

"Manley Freid's strategy accomplished nothing," says a source close to the case. "It's all out there now. They pressed the nuclear button and Gibson is still basically standing. There's zero upside for Grigorieva in terms of money, custody and visitation."

In other words, her whole strategy may have backfired.

Steve Jaffe, a spokesman for Grigorieva, had no comment. Gibson's rep had no comment; his attorney could not be reached.

The actual transcript from the June 22 court proceedings, reviewed in its entirety by The Hollywood Reporter and excerpted below, reveals that the judge admonished Freid for his failure to inform him about the custody agreement reached between Grigorieva and Gibson.

Judge Gordon: (addressing Manley Freid) at the June 22 court hearing:

"My question for you is this. Why wasn't I told about this agreement in connection with the request for a temporary restraining order? Mr. Kolodny (Gibson's Counsel) is exactly correct. Had I known the parties had an agreement, I may not have issued the order the way I did; and I find it very troubling that someone comes in, without notice to the other side, represents facts to me, including the fact this woman is so afraid of Mr. Gibson that she needs immediate protection, even though by -- based on her declaration, it's clear that nothing happened for a few months.

"The things that happened were so horrible and it was quite understandable to me that she finally came to the conclusion that she needed a restraining order, even though the bad stuff happened in February.

"But no one then told me there had been this intervening agreement about the child, and I'm really quite troubled by that. "

Freid then unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the court that the settlement document was irrelevant because Grigorieva entered into the agreement because of false representations and without the advice of a family law attorney:

"She entered into that document because of false misrepresentations to her; that she was misadvised...."

Judge Gordon responded that not only was he troubled by Freid's failure to inform him of the previous settlement agreement, but he found the lawyer's arguments "disingenuous at best" and "very disturbing."

The judge then proceeded to deny Freid's motions and to order the tape recordings of Gibson sealed.

Jonah Hill: Proud Supporter of Mel Gibson (But Not That Proud)

One Hollywood star not afraid to support Mel Gibson? Jonah Hill. Sort of.

To the surprise of no one, Gibson didn't show up to Comic-Con, even though he's got a movie to promote. And convention-goers no doubt expected a reprieve from hearing about those crazy recordings while at the annual 5-day nerdathon.

But they thought wrong.

Gibson's name, in fact, was invoked at the top of Day 1 at Comic-Con's panel for the upcoming animated film Mega Mind. The movie features Gibson's voice, and while the actor wasn't there to tell the audience how great it is, his co-stars Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey and Charlize Theron were. That's when Hill dared to bring up his embattled colleague.

When the stars were asked by an audience member to name their Hollywood nemeses — Fey said she'd wrestle Betty White on pay-per-view — Hill replied: "Mel Gibson's girlfriend [Oksana Grigorieva]," according to a report in the New York Times.

"I just want to come out and officially support Mel," Hill continued before a slightly stunned crowd. Apparently unhappy with the tepid reaction, Hill stood up, flipped the audience the bird and left the stage.

Then he returned. "I just read what Mel actually said. I'm going to have to take back a few of those things back," Hill said. "I only support a quarter of the things he was talking about on those tapes."

Oksana Looking to Lawyer Up Against Mel

Oksana Grigorieva is digging in for a fight.

While their lawyers powwowed behind closed doors in a hush-hush meeting with a judge, Mel Gibson's estranged baby mama/phone buddy paid a visit to two different attorneys Thursday, E! News has learned.

Her drop-ins come a day after authorities announced she was the subject of an extortion investigating. Gibson is also being probed for domestic violence charges for allegedly attacking Grigorieva.

In other words, this thing is going to get nastier.

Grigorieva first met with attorney James Spertus, a former federal prosecutor and experienced trial lawyer who is an expert in civil and criminal litigation.

According his website, he is a noted expert in computer crimes and intellectual property specialist.

Oksana's rep also confirmed the 40-year-old Russian singer also met with attorneys from the firm of Rheuban and Gresen, but declined to say what for.

Sources told TMZ that Grigorieva is gearing up to file a possible civil complaint against Gibson for all the hell he's put her through—from the not-so-veiled death threats and domestic abuse she's suffered at the ands of the actor-director that have emerged in tape recorded rants to his camp's accusations that she tried to blackmail him for money.

She has repeatedly denied trying to extort any money from him. Her spokesman reiterated as much in a statement, saying "there's no credible evidence" for such allegations.

Meanwhile, a hearing took place this morning in a Los Angeles court that was attended by attorneys for both Gibson and Grigorieva. The court said the meeting was private, but it appears to have been about the restraining order obtained against Gibson by Grigorieva stemming from that now infamous January confrontation in which the 54-year-old allegedly punched her in the mouth while she was holding their infant daughter, Lucia.

No word yet on what transpired in the judge's quarters.

Where Gibson tapes circulate online, jokes follow

Since the celebrity website gradually released recordings purportedly of Mel Gibson, the tapes have been used for comedy fodder across the Internet, inspiring remixes, mash-ups and an endless stream of tweets.

The recordings reveal grim, ugly arguments between a man who sounds distinctly like Gibson and a woman identified by the site as his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, Oksana Grigorieva. The anger and ethnic slurs make the tapes difficult to listen to.

Parody, though, has come easier.

"It's the gift that keeps on giving," says Justin Stangel, who, with his brother Eric, is co-head writer and executive producer of "Late Show With David Letterman."

"His tapes are so crazy, there's new areas to deal with everyday. It's fantastic. They really should have saved it for sweeps," Stangel said, referring to the period when ad time is priced for TV programming.

Late night shows have put the subject in heavy rotation, none perhaps as much at CBS' "Late Show."

Letterman has joked that the biggest problem of Apple's iPhone 4 is that it "only accepts calls from Mel Gibson." He has claimed the number one excuse for Gibson is that he "wanted to show the Jews I'm an equal-opportunity offender." And on Tuesday, the show suggested a more positive version of the recordings, where vulgarities were substituted with pleasantries and compliments.

"We always try to focus on: This is A-list celebrity Mel Gibson losing his mind," says Justin Stangel. "It's such a big story that you have to make jokes about it, but you're not going to make jokes about some of the grim things that may or may not have been going on."

Added Eric Stangel: "The tapes themselves are so bizarre that you don't have to do much more than play the tapes and listen to the guy out of breath."

On NBC's "Tonight Show," Tracy Morgan said the often misogynist rants that demeaned women were "nothing but hip-hop. He stole that concept from Lil' Wayne."

Gibson has routinely been one of the most popular subjects on Twitter over the past 10 days. Reaction has gone from shock to outrage and finally to belittling.

Comedian Dane Cook has said he's going as Gibson for Halloween this year. Michael Ian Black ("The State," "Stella") had a one-word suggestion for the actor: "Podcasts." Bill Maher mused that watching "What Women Want," the 2000 film Gibson starred in, "just feels different now."

One of the most common subjects to lump in with Gibson has been the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"BP has successfully placed a containment cap on Mel Gibson although there have been reports of some n-word seepage," tweeted comedian Kevin Nealon.

Joy Behar, co-host of "The View," added: "BP says the well is contained and no more oil is spewing out. Now, if only that same technology could be used on Mel Gibson's mouth."

Several mock Gibson Twitter feeds have been started. The obviously fake "Real Mel Gibson" has some 14,000 followers.

Others have taken the tapes into their own hands.

One popular video online combines another famous celebrity rant, Christian Bale's 2009 tirade on the set of "Terminator Salvation." The video, created by Nick Bosworth of the YouTube channel MovieGodsLive, mashes together the two viral rants. More than 800,000 have watched it on YouTube.

Other fusions include mixing the Gibson audio with the "Grand Theft Auto" video game character Niko Bellic. Gibson has also, by way of the Internet, yelled at Drew Barrymore's character on the phone in "Scream." And the radio show "Opie & Anthony" added Gibson into the classic horror film "The Shining."

There have been numerous dance remixes, too, including one that has been watched by some 175,000 on YouTube. Meanwhile, Los Angeles police ar investigating Gibson on a possible domestic violence case and investigators are attempting to authenticate the recordings. Sheriff's detectives in Los Angeles are also checking extortion allegations against Grigorieva.

But when it comes to leaked audio of a celebrity doing something terrible, the Web seldom waits.

Mel's ex denies extortion claims

A representative for Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has furiously denied allegations the singer attempted to extort $10 million from her famous lover to keep recordings of his telephone rants private.

The former couple, who split earlier this year, has become embroiled in a bitter battle over recent weeks as they attempt to thrash out custody arrangements for their young daughter, Lucia.

The public falling out has seen Grigorieva accuse the Braveheart star of hitting her during heated arguments, and she released audio footage of telephone calls in which the actor can allegedly be heard hurling abuse and vile threats at his partner.

Gibson's lawyers have denied the attack allegations and lodged an official complaint with police, accusing Grigorieva of trying to bribe the star for a big cash payout in exchange for the audio footage.

But Grigorieva's rep, Stephen Jaffe, is adamant his client is innocent of the claims.

He tells, "To specifically address the allegations, my client, Ms. Grigorieva, has repeatedly stated that there is no credible evidence whatsoever of extortion by her, and she stands steadfastly by that statement."

Schwarzenegger compares Mel Gibson to oil leak

The Terminator is taking a few shots at the Road Warrior.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wise-cracked about Mel Gibson on Wednesday, comparing him to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak.

Schwarzenegger told a group of utility commissioners in Sacramento that while BP appears to have contained its well, "no one has figured out how to contain Mel Gibson."

A celebrity website has posted audio recordings of what it says are Gibson's profanity-laced tirades against his ex-girlfriend.

Schwarzenegger also told participants to turn off their cell phones "because we are expecting a call from him."

Gibson spokesman Alan Nierob says he is happy to hear that Schwarzenegger is maintaining a sense of humor, adding, "He's obviously paving the way for a return to showbiz."

Mel Gibson Extortion Case Hanging on a Text?

When will these famous types learn that no good comes from texting?!

With L.A. County Sherrif's officials agreeing to look into Mel Gibson's accusation that Oksana Grigorieva demanded $10 million from him in exchange for keeping those nasty tapes under wraps, there's now a report that Grigorieva may have left textual evidence of her alleged intentions.

Apparently, if such a plan existed, it failed. But who's telling the truth here?

The Hollywood Reporter has it from a well-placed insider that authorities have a text from Grigorieva to Gibson in which she tells him that she recorded their conversations because "you broke your agreement with me."

There are also emails that Gibson's camp will use to make its case, the source said.

Grigorieva, meanwhile, continues to stick to her guns and deny any wrongdoing. (Maybe she can explain her bad taste in men to Oprah someday.)

"To specifically address the allegations, my client, Ms. Grigorieva, has repeatedly stated that there is no credible evidence whatsoever of extortion by her, and she stands steadfastly by that statement," her rep, Stephen Jaffe, said in a statement to E! News.

It's unclear what happened to the $15 million settlement Gibson and Grigorieva arrived at, a detail that her attorney, Manley Freid, did not reveal to the judge when she went to court last month to obtain a restraining order against him.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reports that investigators met with Gibson's attorneys Tuesday in connection with Grigorieva's domestic-abuse allegations against the actor.

N.Y.C. Bar Serves Up Mel 'Bipolar' Gibson Cocktail

Mood swings got you down? Back away from the phone and have a drink.

The Oak Bar in New York's Plaza Hotel is proposing a toast to Mel Gibson and his alleged telephone tirades and debuting a "bipolar" cocktail in his honor. (The actor once said he'd been diagnosed with manic depression.)

In true Gibson fashion, the concoction calls for a 1 oz. swig of gin. It also features a shot of vodka – and not just any brew. The Oak Room's executive chef Eric Hara went all out on the mental theme with Van Gogh Vodka, in honor of the artist who suffered from the disorder.

"Gibson … Bipolar … All these words flying around in the media just jumped out at me. So I made a Gibson, which is a classic cocktail, into something thoroughly twisted," Hara tells of his liquid creation, adding, "It's a guy drink, by the way. There's nothing sweet about a Gibson."

Want to make it yourself? Here's the recipe:

The Mel Gibson, a Bipolar Cocktail

• 1 oz Van Gogh Vodka
• 1 oz. Bols V.O. Genever Gin
• ¾ oz. vermouth
• 3 oz. club soda
• Splash of cocktail onion juice
Best served on the rocks – like Gibson's career.

Cops probing Mel extortion claims

Oksana Grigorieva is facing her own police investigation into allegations she attempted to extort $10 million from her ex-boyfriend Mel Gibson to keep recordings of his vile telephone rants private.

Secret audio tapes allegedly featuring an enraged Gibson hurling expletives and abuse at the Russian singer emerged days after Grigorieva accused her ex of hitting her during heated arguments before they split earlier this year.

Los Angeles police have since launched a domestic violence investigation into her claims as the former couple fight over custody of their baby girl, Lucia.

The Braveheart star's legal representatives have denied the attack allegations and have since countered that Grigorieva tried to bribe Gibson for a big cash payout in exchange for the audio footage.

Gibson's attorney, Blair Berk, formally filed the complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday and the lawyer is believed to have evidence to prove the extortion claims.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore tells, "Extortion allegations have been brought to our attention and we are certainly going to be looking at that."

Kelly & Jack Osbourne Join Mel Gibson Haters Club

Mel Gibson cannot be silenced. And thanks to the Osbourne family, he's now found a new way to express himself.

Last week, Jack Osbourne was spotted leaving a club in Hollywood wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the embattled actor's old mug shot and one of the many insults he supposedly hurled at Oksana Grigorieva in those leaked phone conversations.

Then yesterday, Kelly was seen in Beverly Hills wearing the exact same top. So what gives? Is it a way for the siblings to express a mutual disgust toward the Oscar winner? A warped sense of humor? Or is Kelly just glad there's a different target for Hollywood watchers to focus on?

Stone stands behind Mel Gibson

Filmmaker Oliver Stone is convinced Mel Gibson will bounce back from his recent personal scandals - insisting directors will still want the actor to star in their movies.

Gibson's reputation has been badly damaged following the release of several tape recordings which purportedly feature him hurling abuse and vile threats at ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during phone calls.

But despite the backlash the actor has faced since the accusations became public, Stone is adamant Hollywood directors will still be keen to cast Gibson in their films.

He says, "Everyone is supposed to have an opinion (about Gibson), but most directors don't work that way. Projects are developed slowly, and over the course of weeks, months, there will be projects, and I am sure many of them will want to have Mel Gibson in them."

The fall out following Gibson's split from Grigorieva has turned nasty in recent weeks - the singer has faced allegations she has tried to extort $10 million from her former lover to keep the tapes private, while her rep, Stephen Jaffe, has accused Gibson's camp of launching a smear campaign against her.

Gibson and Grigorieva share a daughter together and are both battling for custody.

Ex-Girlfriend: You Hit Our Baby While She Was In My Hands

In a sixth audio recording released by, a woman believed to be Mel Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva said Mel Gibson hit their infant daughter Lucia.

"You hit me, and you hit [Lucia] while she was in my hands! Mel, you're losing your mind. You need medication," Grigorieva says.

A man presumed to be Gibson replies in a rage, calling her various expletives and adding: "And I want my child, and no one will believe you!"

Five other recordings containing threats and racial slurs have been released. Two weeks ago, Gibson was dropped by his longtime agency, William Morris Endeavor, after an audio clip believed to be Gibson criticizing Grigorieva's choice of dress first leaked.

Gibson, who's under investigation for alleged domestic violence against Grigorieva, says she threatened to leak the recordings if he didn't pay her. The actor also says she made false claims to the authorities about his alleged abuse.

Grigorieva alleged that Gibson punched her in the face multiple times on Jan. 6, breaking a tooth and causing a concussion. She filed a restraining order against him last week. The two are embroiled in a bitter custody suit for their 8-month-old daughter.

Gibson threatened to kill ex, kids?

Mel Gibson allegedly threatened to kill Oksana Grigorieva, her son and his own baby daughter — as well as himself — during a brutal episode of domestic violence on Jan. 6, according to statements obtained by gossip website

The site reported Tuesday that it has exclusive details of the investigation, which began after Oksana allegedly fled from the house with the children, barefoot and wearing only her pajamas.

According to the site, Oksana told police Mel punched her twice in the head and choked her with his forearm, all while she was holding their baby daughter, Lucia, in her arms.

While her 12-year-old son, Sascha, was in the bedroom, Mel apparently continued to choke her with his free hand covering her mouth.

Once she struggled free of his grip, Oksana said he pulled a gun and threatened to kill all three of them, then himself.

She reportedly managed to leave the house and call authorities.

"Oksana has told authorities it was horrific and she thought she was going to die," an unnamed source reportedly told radaronline.

The site also posted a photo of Oksana, claiming it was taken right after the brawl, with her front teeth clearly chipped.

In what is becoming standard background noise of gossip sites everywhere, also released more secret tapes, this time with Oksana accusing Mel of hitting Lucia.

"You hit me, and you hit her while she was in my hands. Mel, you're losing your mind. You need medication," Oksana can be heard telling him.

"You need a f---ing kick up the a-- for being a b--ch, c--t, gold digging whore! With a p---y son! And I want my child, and no one will believe you! So f--- you!" Mel responds angrily on the recording.

Malibu's Least Wanted?

Hey, even the Amityville Horror house eventually found a new owner.

Despite there being "no truth" to the rumor that Mel Gibson was planning to relocate to his native Australia, it turns out the former box-office megastar is looking to unload Lavender Hill Farm, the 2.75-acre Malibu property where he supposedly unleashed his audio-recorded rage on Oksana Grigorieva, to the tune of $14.5 million.

But, contrary to how this sounds, Gibson is not cutting and running from the 'Bu.

The very posh-sounding property has been on the market for 137 days, long before he managed to top his 2006 DUI performance with those nasty rants at his baby mama.

Lavender Hill Farm is in the secluded, celeb-friendly Serra Retreat neighborhood. It boasts a newly remodeled 5,403-square-foot main house with six bedrooms and six bathrooms, three guest houses, two offices, a detached gym, fruit orchards, a pool and a lighted tennis court.

You'd think that would be enough space for someone to cool off before he flips his lid, but perhaps not.

And if you believe what Gibson says when he's at his loud, irrational worst, he's in dire need of a cash infusion in anticipation of a major payday for ex-wife Robyn and child support for his daughter with Grigorieva—not including whatever he's forced to shell out as he and Grigorieva try to settle their differences in court.

But maybe real estate lightning will strike twice for the beleaguered Gibson, who sold his Greenwich, Conn., estate for the bargain price of $24 million last month.

Bargain, in the sense that he listed the 75-acre property, which includes a 16,000-square-foot Tudor-style mansion, for $39.5 million in 2007. (But Gibson bought the spread in 1994 for $9.3 million, so don't cry for him just yet.)

Whether or not would-be estate buyers are going to shy away from Gibson's Malibu manse because of who he is and what he's done (and we're not talking Braveheart), this isn't exactly a seller's market and we're thinking it's going to cost someone less than $14.5 million to have his own fights within those hallowed walls.

Gibson's rep slams move report

Mel Gibson's representative has dismissed reports the actor is planning to move back to Australia following his recent controversies with his ex-girlfriend.

The Braveheart star's reputation has been badly damaged following the release of several tape recordings which purportedly feature Gibson hurling abuse and vile threats at Oksana Grigorieva during phone calls.

Britain's The Mail On Sunday reported Gibson, who grew up in Australia after moving there with his family at the age of 12, has been planning to leave the U.S. and relocate back Down Under with his estranged wife, Robyn, who has defended the star since the release of the recordings.

But Gibson's spokesperson, Alan Nierob, has slammed the suggestion, telling NBC, "There's no truth to the Mail story."

The fall out following Gibson's split from Grigorieva has turned nasty in recent weeks, the singer has faced allegations she has tried to extort $10 million from her former lover to keep the tapes private, while her rep, Stephen Jaffe, has accused Gibson's camp of launching a smear campaign against her.

The pair shares a daughter together.

Could Mel Gibson Go to Jail?

As the all-out custody war between Mel Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva roils on, sheriffs continue their criminal probe of the actor for domestic violence allegations. Five experts discuss what's at stake.

Could Gibson be facing jail time?

"I doubt it," says former L.A. prosecutor Jeffery Rubenstein. "At most, Mel will probably be charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. Oksana's alleged injuries don't seem to rise to a felony level and because Mel has no serious prior convictions, that'll also lessen his chances of a felony. His alleged threats, while horrifying and completely over-the-top, aren't necessarily a crime; there has to be evidence of a real intent to carry them out. If convicted, he'll probably get probation and counseling."

Gibson has accused Oksana of extortion. What are the chances she'll be convicted?

"It sounds like a far-fetched accusation and more of a basic defensive reaction by his legal team," says L.A. criminal defense attorney Trent Copeland. "Extortion will be very difficult to prove. It's completely routine to use incriminating evidence as leverage against another in a legal proceeding. But if she's found guilty of this, it'd be a felony, and punishment would be upwards of one year in jail."

Will the leaked tapes purportedly of Mel and Oksana be admissible in court?

"In general, it's illegal to tape someone without their knowledge but it's sometimes allowed in domestic violence situations," says L.A. criminal defense attorney Steve Sitkoff. "But the law in that regard isn't clear cut; there's lots of gray area. If the tapes are deemed illegal, they won't exist to a jury. The motive of the taping appears suspect; Oksana is extremely calm and appears to be provoking him. And if Mel was under the influence while making his threats, that would make it even harder to prove criminal intent."

Are the tapes authentic? Could there have been parts edited out?

"I wouldn't be surprised at all if the tapes were altered in some way, but that doesn't mean they aren't authentic," says Dallas-based forensic tape analyst Herbert Joe. "It's all up to the judge to determine the [overall] trustworthiness of the tapes on the whole."

Grigorieva reportedly asked the court to strip Gibson of all custody rights last Thursday, but she was denied. Why?

"It's clear the judge didn't feel Mel was any imminent threat to the baby," says L.A. family lawyer Scott Weston. "As terrifying as the tapes sound, it doesn't necessarily mean he's a danger to his daughter – and that's the judge's main concern. The judge is certainly going to want to determine if he committed any domestic violence, and if so, the judge can extend restraining orders against him and order him to counseling. This is going to be a long slog of a case with many hearings ahead; there won't be a quick resolution."

Gibson's team accused of smear campaign

A spokesman for Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend has lashed out at the actor's legal team - accusing his lawyers of creating false rumours about the Russian singer in order to "vilify" her during the pair's custody battle.

The Braveheart star's reputation has been badly damaged following the release of several tape recordings which purportedly feature Gibson hurling abuse and vile threats at Oksana Grigorieva during phone calls.

The furore around the tapes intensified after Grigorieva - the mother of Gibson's young daughter Lucia - claimed the actor/director had knocked out her teeth during a bust-up, and reportedly used the dental evidence as part of her custody case against Gibson in a hearing last week.

A picture showing the singer with her two front teeth broken was released to the media on Friday.

Grigorieva subsequently came under fire after it was alleged she tried to extort $10 million from her former lover to keep the tapes private. She was further scrutinised after an expert claimed Grigorieva's injuries were self-inflicted.

Now her spokesman, Stephen Jaffe, has accused Gibson's camp of launching a smear campaign and points out that Gibson's legal team has yet to deny the voice on the recording's belongs to the star.

He tells, "While Mr. Gibson's camp has floated a variety of false claims in the press to try to distract the public from the true facts at hand, it is telling that his camp has not once denied that it is Mr. Gibson's voice on the published recordings.

"It is common in such cases for those who perpetrate domestic violence to vilify the victim of that domestic violence. One would hope that those who are close to Mr. Gibson would take a more constructive approach."

Mel Gibson's Family Stands by Him During Oksana Drama

Even as Mel Gibson is embroiled in a nasty legal battle with his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and faces fall-out from a series of rage-filled leaked audiotapes, the embattled actor can count on at least one thing: his family.

"He has a good support system in his friends and family," a pal tells PEOPLE, adding that his kids are "absolutely" standing by their father.

Gibson regularly speaks to his soon-to-be-ex wife, Robyn, with whom he has seven children from their nearly 30-year marriage. "They are continuing to raise their kids together," a source says of the former couple, who split in April 2009.

It was Robyn who came to Gibson's defense, filing an affidavit last Thursday swearing he was never abusive during his ongoing custody battle with Grigorieva, who is accusing the actor of hitting her.

According to the source, "Mel didn't ask Robyn for the affidavit,? where she says that he never engaged in any physical abuse towards her. ?Robyn just felt that enough is enough and stepped in to show that she? still values her marriage to Mel and that she is sick of the media ?portraying Mel as a heartless and abusive monster."

"Robyn feels that Mel? was and is an amazing dad," the source says, "and she is still very protective of him."

A Gibson family source says the actor's family has long seen Oksana as calculating. “She pushed him over the edge," the source says. "While they do think he needs help for his anger issues, Mel's family is supportive of him."

Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva: Why Their Custody Battle Went Nuclear

Two months ago, Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva both sat down in a downtown Los Angeles law office and signed a private contract guaranteeing that her taped conversations of him, made in February, would never see the light of day.

That out-of-court settlement, which also detailed child support payments for their baby Lucia, "was superb and mutually beneficial," says a source close to the case.

The source says the agreement was in the best interests of both Grigorieva and Gibson, whom she taped allegedly threatening her and admitting to having hit her. The authenticity of the tapes is currently being examined by L.A. sheriff's detectives.

Within weeks, all hell broke loose: Both sides were slapped with restraining orders, a judge forced Grigorieva to surrender the audiotapes, and Gibson's alleged vitriol went viral.

So what happened?

Emotionally Vulnerable

"This is a case of a woman scorned," says the source. "When Oksana first met Mel, he promised her the world. Obviously things didn't work out. She ultimately felt screwed over because he wanted out of the relationship."

"Oksana is in essence a good person," the source continues, "yet someone emotionally vulnerable and profoundly naive. She let herself get swept up in this horrendous mess by listening to the wrong advice."

According to the source, Grigorieva, 40, regretted signing the May contract and sought new attorneys who advised her that they could get a better deal.

Gibson, 54, the source says, did nothing to violate the settlement.

"Because Oksana's emotionally vulnerable, she was easily manipulated," the source says. "By going on the offensive, she opened Pandora's Box by disregarding the settlement and taking the case to court, which made the case public. Compounding that, her team didn't disclose the existence of the settlement agreement, which angered the judge. It was a total disaster."

Asked why Grigorieva didn't call the cops on Gibson after he allegedly hit her in January, the source explains: "Oksana didn't want to disrupt things with Mel. She wanted to make sure Lucia was well taken care of. It was best to resolve the situation as a private family matter."

As for how this mess will all resolve: "This is a high-stakes poker game with potential crimes committed on both sides that could go either way at this point," says the source. "The gloves are completely off."

Scandals spell trouble for Gibson's tarnished star

Hollywood observers believe Mel Gibson's temper may have landed him in more than just hot water amid a furor over alleged rants against his ex-girlfriend. This time it may cost his career.

The latest scandal stems from profane and rage-filled comments posted on the celebrity gossip website which were culled from audio tapes, allegedly of Gibson threatening and cursing his ex-girlfriend, Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva.

The tapes have only further tarnished the reputation of devout Catholic Gibson, already known for his scathing comments against blacks and Jews.

While the tapes have yet to be authenticated, neither Gibson nor his lawyers have issued any denial since they first surfaced a week ago.

And with horrendous details of his private life in full view -- the culmination of an ugly breakup between Grigorieva, 40, and Gibson, 54, following a January beating in which he allegedly knocked out some of her teeth -- agents and fellow actors were quick to turn their backs on the star.

Among the first was the William Morris Endeavor agency headed by powerful agent Ari Emanuel, who has made no secret in the past of his disdain for the "Mad Max" star after an alcohol-fueled anti-Semitic outburst became public in 2006.

"Stars have come back from scandals before, but the number of times Mel Gibson has been in the news for aggressive and abusive behavior, along with racist and sexist remarks, makes him a poor bet for being one of those who manage to rebuild their careers," University of Southern California professor Leo Braudy told AFP.

"Now that he has been dropped by his agent, and denounced by a number of fellow stars, it seems like a real uphill battle, which would make even investors who have some faith in his talent very wary."

Movie agents and actors, who requested anonymity in order to speak more freely about the case, predicted a rough road ahead for Gibson, who received two Oscars for his acting and directing of "Braveheart." The 1995 drama was nominated for 10 Oscars and scored five.

"His career has taken a real downturn... No one of quality is going to want be associated with him," said popular culture critic Elayne Rapping.

"He's really ruined his reputation beyond repair. I've never seen anyone behaving in the way he is."

But she noted that Gibson's work does remain popular with some fans and he could continue directing and acting so long as he has his own production company.

The fallen star could thus dig into the fortune he has amassed from such blockbusters as "The Passion of the Christ," his 2004 film with a 30-million-dollar budget that took 600 million dollars in worldwide revenue.

A former agent with one of the most prestigious Hollywood talent agencies compared working with Gibson today to collaborating with O.J Simpson, the American football legend who was famously cleared of murdering his ex-wife and her friend at a 1995 trial.

"Irrespective if the public accepts or doesn't accept it, the people who actually give him the jobs or help him get jobs no longer support him," the agent said, requesting not to be named.

"The actual Hollywood community doesn't want to work with him any more. He's lost the support of his agent, he's lost the support of many financiers who could put into a movie."

A legal fight is also brewing between Gibson and Grigorieva, a Russian-born model and pianist, over the custody of their baby girl Lucia. The "Lethal Weapon" star is due in court on Tuesday in the domestic violence case.

But some point to Gibson's proven ability to rise and fall, again and again.

"Of course he needs agents," acknowledged veteran publicist Fredell Pogodin, who considers Gibson a "maverick" who is "not politically correct at all.

But she also added: "Does he have enough money though to, if he needed to, to go and fund and start his own films? Yes. And if those films are successful, will Hollywood then see him and want to work with him again? I'm sure."

Team Oksana Calls Team Mel's Extortion Claim "Ridiculous"

There's salacious and then there's just despicable. The Mel Gibson-Oksana Grigorieva saga has just crossed the line.

To complement this week's steady stream of leaked audiotapes, outdid itself in the shameless one-upping game this morning, posting a photo of what is purported to be a busted-up Grigorieva.

That was a cue for Team Mel to step forward with damning accusations of its own via TMZ, claiming its has proof that Gibson's estranged baby mama attempted to extort upwards of $10 million from his apparently broke self. The Gibson gang reportedly plans to turn over "physical evidence" backing up its claim to authorities apparently in hopes of turning the tables and getting Grigorieva charged with extortion.

Which, a source close to the Russian-born singer tells E! News, is "ridiculous."

"It has never been about the money for her," the source said. "It has always been about protecting her child."

Grigorieva has adamantly denied leaking anything about her case to RadarOnline. But she has turned over evidence to the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, which is investigating domestic violence allegations against Gibson.

As for the photo which appeared on the gossip site this morning, Gibson-slanted sources told TMZ that the images shown do not appear to be consistent with injuries that would be sustained during the kind of violent altercation alleged by Grigorieva.

No bruising, internal or external tissue damage, aside from the cracked veneers, are immediately apparent on the image (though the fact that two-thirds of it is blocked by the ever-subtle Radar watermark may have a little something to do with it).

Meanwhile, attorneys for the duo turned up in court yesterday in the first face-off to determine which party should be granted custody of their 8-month-old daughter Lucia. Part of Gibson's initial defense was a declaration from his wife of 28 years Robyn, who stated that he never got physical with her or any of their seven children for the entire time they were together.

Grigorieva's camp, meanwhile, has also alleged that baby Lucia got caught in the allegedly violent crossfire and that she, too, suffered bruising. There were reportedly pictures taken of her, too, and those disturbing images will no doubt appear on the leaker's website of choice in the near future.

Later today, Grigorieva's son with ex-husband Timothy Dalton, 12-year-old Alexander, will reportedly meet with officials from the Department of Children and Family Services to give further insight into the inner workings of his mother's relationship.

There was no immediate comment from DCFS. Meanwhile, a Sheriff's spokesman said the department was not going to comment on "minor developments" in the case.

The custody hearings will resume next week.

Dentist says Gibson's ex beaten

Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva's dentist has finally broken his silence about his client's alleged fight with ex-boyfriend Mel Gibson which left her with damaged teeth.

Grigorieva has told Los Angeles authorities that the movie star knocked out her teeth during a row earlier this year and she visited her dentist, Dr. Ross Shelden, the following day to cover up the damage.

She swore him to confidentiality before revealing all about her fight with Gibson.

Shelden has since handed over to investigators photographs he took of Grigorieva's mouth on the day of her visit.

The dentist tells U.S. news show Entertainment Tonight, "Oksana's been my patient for 12 years. It was an emergency situation... One of Oksana's veneers was knocked off and another veneer was chipped."

And Shelden insists his patient is not the gold digger some believe her to be.

He adds, "She's a genuinely nice person. Oksana really loved Mel. She is a great mother... She brought the baby in the day she came to see me."

Grigorieva and Gibson, who split earlier this year, are embroiled in a bitter custody battle over their baby daughter Lucia.

The Russian also claims her actor ex once pointed a gun at her.

Grigorieva's claims of abuse at the hands of Gibson have been supported by vile and expletive-laden taped phone conversations which purportedly took place between the pair, which have now been leaked online.

All Quiet on the Mel Gibson Front After Court

Is no news good news for Mel Gibson?

Attorneys for the notorious star and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva had no comment Thursday upon leaving Los Angeles Superior Court after a lengthy custody hearing regarding the estranged duo's young daughter, Lucia.

Not that Gibson should feel pressured to ever say anything ever again. And that was before yet another audio-taped rant was released today.

TMZ is reporting that the judge did not strip Gibson's visitation privileges in the wake of a domestic violence investigation into whether he slapped Oksana around and 8-month-old Lucia got caught in the crossfire.

Per the agreement he and Grigorieva entered into earlier this year, he's allowed daytime visits and one overnight a week with Lucia.

Maybe the sworn statement signed by Gibson's ex-wife, Robyn, in which she declared that the Oscar winner never laid a hand on her or their seven kids, helped his cause.

RadarOnline, the link between Gibson's tirades and the rest of the world so far, has it that L.A.'s Department of Children and Family Services is going to interview Gibson next week. That said, DCFS usually gets involved whenever accusations of domestic violence are made, even if a child has not been named as a victim.

Grigorieva, who went to court with the intent of keeping Gibson away from her and their kid, can't be happy—but no one's talking.

Except Mel that is, albeit on recordings ostensibly made by Grigorieva earlier this year as their relationship crumbled around them.

Today's addition to the Gibson canon featured him calling the aspiring singer a "gold digger" and telling her he doesn't have "any f--king money."

Listen to Mel's latest.

"I'd like to show you what mean really is," Gibson raves. "Bitch, c--t, whore, gold digger! All true! You f--king proved it to me! If you're ever interested in proving otherwise, let me know. If you don't care, I know you know what you are, too.

"Look at yourself. And look what you've done. Look what you've f--king done! Look at your son. He's a f--king mess. You f--king excuse for a other. You're a f--king bitch!"

No, Mel, look what you've done.

Grigorieva has a 12-year-old son, Alexander, with ex-husband Timothy Dalton. Radar says authorities want to speak with him to get a better sense of what's going on behind closed doors, as well.

Ex-Wife Supports Mel Gibson in Battle with Oksana

Mel Gibson's estranged wife is defending him against allegations he hit former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva while she held their 9-month-old baby.

"Mel never engaged in any physical abuse of any kind toward me before, during or after our marriage," Robyn Gibson said in a declaration to a Los Angeles judge overseeing the custody battle between Gibson and Grigorieva. "Mel was a wonderful and loving father."

Moore, who had seven children with Gibson during their nearly 30-year marriage, split from him in April 2009. Their divorce proceedings are ongoing.

"Robyn felt she needed to speak out to protect her children and family," says a source close to her. "Robyn's tried to stay out of this, but she wanted to make sure there was no speculation of what happened within her family."

The fallout from the custody fight continued as lawyers for both sides faced off Thursday in an L.A. courtroom.

Attending the hearing were three L.A. sheriff's officers: One sergeant and one detective from the Special Victims Unit which "investigates child abuse and sexual assault," they explained to reporters outside the courtroom. They declined to specify why they were there.

Another detective was from the Commercial Crimes division. Also present in court was a representative from the L.A. Department of Children and Family Services.

L.A. sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed to PEOPLE that detectives want to sit with Gibson regarding the domestic violence allegations: "We want to interview him just like everyone else involved in this investigation," Whitmore said, adding that detectives were given copies of the leaked telephone conversations on Thursday. "The tapes will be analyzed by our detectives. But they are not the central focus of the investigation, they're just part and parcel of it." Asked if there's concern the tapes were doctored, Whitmore replied, "Our detectives will find out what's going on."

Attorneys for Grigorieva, 40, reportedly requested a judge to strip Gibson of all custody rights over Lucia. She claims the actor struck her "more than once" during a fight on Jan. 6 at Gibson's Malibu home, breaking a tooth, knocking out a veneer and causing a concussion.

Grigorieva, who has a restraining order against Gibson, has reportedly received threatening phone calls in the last 48 hours and fears for the safety of her child. A Gibson source says, "It’s just another premeditated attempt by Oksana to alter the facts."

Five Things You Need to Know About Oksana Grigorieva

Here's what you know about Oksana Grigorieva: her attorneys are currently in court doing their best to stop the full-scale apocalypto that would occur should Mel Gibson obtain custody of their eight-month-old daughter. She's a singer. She has a well-documented like of technology. She's no doubt feeling pretty empathetic toward Chicago's WGN news team.

Now here's what you don't know—but really, really should…

She's Used to Cleaning Up Mel's Messes. Literally. Sure, shortly after the duo got together, it was all record deals and invitations to score his films and offers to direct her music videos. And, sure, there was that tetchy overlap between Oksana and Mel's wife of 28 years, but do you know how the acrimonious exes met? You do now: Grigorieva was working as a hostess for the Romanav Restaurant & Lounge in Studio City. That's right, of all the Russian eateries, in all the towns, in all the world, he had to walk into hers. And boy are they both regretting it.

She's Bond. Ex-Mrs. James Bond. After moving to London to study at the Royal College of Music, the classically-trained musician met Bond star Timothy Dalton while working as an interpreter to Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov. The duo married in 1997 and have one son, Alexander, of whom they share joint custody. Just 27 at the time, she already had one marriage under her belt, having tied the knot with British artist Nicholas Rowland in 1992, a union which paved the way for her relocation to the U.K. and her later meeting with Dalton.

Her Big Breaks Came From Josh Groban…and Prince Charles?! Eh, kind of. Earlier in her career, she was talent spotted by Patrick Anson, a royal photographer, the fifth Earl of Lichfield and the cousin of HRH Chuck (how's that for a résumé?). Soon after their meeting, her photos made their way into various fashion magazines and her modeling career was born. Oksana later made a name for herself as a songwriter in 2006, when "Un Dia Llegara," a tune she penned for Josh Groban, appeared on his album Awake and became a hit.

She's Smart. A classically trained pianist and the daughter of two music professors, Oksana reportedly patented a way to instruct musical notation to children. Much better than patenting new ways to scapegoat a race for starting all the wars in the world, don't ya think?

She Forgave and Forgot…Much to Her Detriment. When she and Mel first got together, she was asked about his infamous anti-Semitic rant and came to his defense. "How can I be judged for falling in love?" she told Reuters. "We live in the same city. I don't control who I meet. I meet many people in art and music and film, but love is inexplicable…He's not that person at all in my opinion. He apologized. I think he respects everybody." Except those that give birth to his children.

LA Detectives receive Gibson audio recordings

A Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman says detectives investigating Mel Gibson have received audio recordings from a court hearing the actor's child custody matter.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says detectives received the recordings Thursday morning after a court hearing. Several sheriff's detectives were spotted outside a closed hearing where Gibson's criminal attorney and attorneys for his ex-girlfriend appeared.

All of the attorneys declined comment. The sheriff's department is investigating whether the Academy Award-winner abused his ex-girlfriend, Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, in January.

Whitmore says the detectives received CDs, but did not know how many recordings were on them. He says detectives will now work to authenticate the recordings for a possible criminal case.

Custody Battle Royale: Teams Mel, Oksana in Court Now!

He's certainly proven himself to be an unfit partner. But how's Mel Gibson as a father?

That, more or less, is what a judge will seek to determine as attorneys for both Gibson and his verbally-, emotionally- and allegedly physically-abused ex Oksana Grigorieva turn up in court this morning to determine which side is better suited to take custody of their 8-month-old daughter, Lucia.

This is gonna be some battle, and both sides have stacked their respective benches…

...not that it seemed to matter much for one side.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed to E! News that those infamous audio tapes have already been accepted by the court and will no doubt feature heavily throughout the hearings.

"The detective for the domestic violence investigation just left court with the audio tapes," he said during the lunch recess. "The court released the tapes and they will be booked into evidence. They will be analyzed and reviewed not only by detectives, but by forensic detectives as well."

Score one—score a big one—for Team Oksana.

The hearing, which was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, is being presided over by Judge Scott Gordon, who also settled Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's custody battle.

Officials from the L.A. Sheriff's Department and the Department of Children and Family Services were all present for the hearing, which was closed off to media, ostensibly to offer their expert testimony. Neither Grigorieva nor Gibson was expected to attend the proceedings.

Among those waiting to take the stand were Det. Jack Tarasiuk from the Sheriff's computer crimes unit, who was expected to be called on to discuss the ever-leaking tapes, and Sgt. Dan Scott, with the department's special victims unit, who is an expert in child abuse. Both men, however, were quickly excused from the hearing without testifying. Neither commented on why he was present nor why he had been asked to leave.

Maybe because they weren't sure themselves.

"I can confirm that I'm representing Ms. Grigorieva," new spokesman Steve Jaffe told E! News. "At this point, at least until later today, that's all I can say because it remains to be seen what the hearing will be about today.

"There will be no statements today, as I understand it from the attorneys. The hearings next week will occur on July 20, 22 and 23. There's a chance of some kind of statement then. If this changes, I will try to let you know but nothing is planned."

As for their counsels, Grigorieva is being repped by Marci Levine, while Gibson has gone with defender-to-the-stars Blair Berk.

Earlier today, Team Mel argued that the oh-so-damning tapes were edited by Oksana & Co. and therefore should be inadmissible in court. The Sheriff's Department is currently reviewing the tapes as part of its investigation into domestic violence charges against Mel and will have to authenticate the clips and prove they have not been tampered with before sending them to the District Attorney's office.,P>Team Oksana, meanwhile, is sticking to their story that the tapes have not been messed with and show Mel in his true, outrageously unflattering glory. And just in case she didn't have enough on Gibson, per TMZ, she's also been receiving a series of harassing phone calls over the past 48 hours and is pointing the finger at her temper-flaring ex, saying that while he is not making the calls, he is almost certainly behind them.

Meanwhile, as if the tapes weren't damning enough against the 54-year-old Gibson, according to RadarOnline, part of Grigorieva's sealed declaration to the court in the custody battle include photos of little Lucia with bruising on her chin. The site contends that the injuries were caused by Gibson and sustained while he was in a violent altercation with the 40-year-old Grigorieva. On one of the earlier tapes, she said that Gibson punched her in the face and knocked her two front teeth out while she was holding the baby and said that her ex "tried to kill us." That incident allegedly occurred on Jan. 6.

As of the hearing's recess, the domestic violence portion of today's hearing has ended. The two child abuse investigators remain at court and will ostensibly be called this afternoon.

"The lead detective is there that is doing the domestic violence investigation and then we have a couple of detectives that work out of our special victim's bureau which has to do with investigating child abuse," Whitmore said.

As for why they may be called, Whitmore has yet to confirm whether it has to do with Grigorieva's allegations that he hit their daughter. Though that's basically the only possibility.

"I can't tell you yet, but that's what they do, they investigate child abuse allegations."

Glover mum about Gibson tape

Danny Glover has refused to back his under-fire Lethal Weapon co-star Mel Gibson after the actor was accused of using the 'N' word during a furious rant at his ex-girlfriend.

Gibson has been hit with a series of scandals this month after four separate tape recordings were released in which a man - said to be the actor - can allegedly be heard making various threats during bust-ups with Oksana Grigorieva.

Several Hollywood stars, including Robert De Niro and Whoopi Goldberg, have reached out to Gibson over the scandal - but his partner in the classic 'buddy cop' movies is remaining tight-lipped.

A representative for Glover, who starred alongside Gibson in all four Lethal Weapon films, tells the Los Angeles Times, "At this time, Mr. Glover does not have a comment, and there is no statement regarding Mr. Gibson... The decision is that he will not (comment)."

Mel Gibson keeps filming after tirades made public

Mel Gibson probably felt like hiding after news broke of his ugly, foulmouthed tirades against his ex-girlfriend, knowing the tapes would soon be made public. But instead, he went back to work on "The Beaver," playing a nut case who communicates through a hand-puppet.

The $20 million comedy, directed by Gibson's friend Jodie Foster, was shot last fall but didn't test well, sources say. So he did reshoots in New York last week. "Mel was in complete shock," said an insider. "Everyone was walking on eggshells around him. It was the weirdest set ever."

Mel Gibson Allegedly Slams Oksana as a 'Gold Digger' in Tape No. 5

Her selfishness and her career came before their relationship, Mel Gibson allegedly tells Oksana Grigorieva, in the latest in a series of recorded rants between the Oscar winner and his former girlfriend – and released Thursday by RadarOnline.

Apparently referring to a money squeeze, the actor-filmmaker, 54, allegedly shouts, "I have to sell paintings." (Some have estimated that Gibson's divorce from his wife of nearly 30 years, Robyn, could cost him as much as $500 million.)

He also mentions the sale of his Los Angeles Lakers box seats, putting a grand total on his relationship with the 40-year-old Russian musician, with whom he has an 9-month-old child, at $5 million.

"I will never forgive you for what you did you me, you [expletive] bitch," Gibson allegedly says during the call. "You gave me nothing but [expletive] grief and negative publicity, you [expletive]."

"You're very jealous and you're very mean," she purportedly replies. "You're the worst father I ever met. Goodbye."

In the course of the nearly four minute recording, Gibson also says, “Yeah, you know what mean is now, don't you? So don't call me mean when I'm nice to you. Because I'd like to show you what mean really is. Bitch, [expletive], whore, gold digger! All true! You [expletive] proved it to me! If you're ever interested in proving otherwise, let me know. If you don't care, I know you know what you are too."

He allegedly goes on: “Look at yourself. And look what you've done. Look what you've [expletive] done! … You [expletive] excuse for a mother. You're a [expletive] bitch!"

Mel Gibson's Therapist: The Most Epic of Fails

Another day, another leaked recording of what appears to be a crazed, panting, raving Mel Gibson.

In this installment, we discover that the only thing Mel likes better than demanding oral sex is threatening to burn a house down. Oh, and that he's been undergoing therapy for some time.

So…Tom Cruise was right after all? Just when we thought this Gibson mess couldn't get any worse...

The stark ineffectiveness of Mel's therapy sessions aside (remind us not to ask for that referral), today's recording, released once again by RadarOnline, also highlighted the actor's penchant for other leisure activities. In particular, forcible ones. Not that that's such a surprise.


"That's my f--king mistake, I should have woke you up and said f--king blow me bitch," he tells ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a phone argument about sleeping and relaxing in Jacuzzis (don't look too hard for the logic).

"You went to sleep and didn't blow me. I deserve to be blown first before the f--king Jacuzzi! I'll burn the goddamn house down, but blow me first. How dare you! How f--king dare you!"

Gibson then moved swiftly on to the topic of how well he's treated his baby mama . Seriously.

"How dare you act like a such a bitch when I'm being so f--king nice?" he asked in the three-and-a-half minute recording. "You said I was mean. I did nothing but be nice to you. I've done nothing but be nice to you."

If this is him nice, we'd certainly hate to see him angry.

It was then that Mel revealed he'd been seeing a therapist, though it's unclear for how long. While we don't know when the recordings were made, all were taped after Jan. 6, when Mel allegedly punched out Oksana's two front teeth, thus causing her to fear for her life and sparking the domestic violence investigation into the actor.

"You wanted the number of my therapist?" he shouted/asked her. "Don't you ever speak to him. Find your own goddamn therapist. Cause you got problems more than me and you know how to f--king push my buttons. I can't get like this anymore. You're dishonest and you're a liar and stay the f--k away from me.

"I just want my daughter and a maid…They clean up after themselves, they make your goddamn bed, which you did not. You don't have to worry about emotional blackmail or any of the other bullshit that you put me through. I just need a nice woman to look after my beautiful daughter and I don't have to f--k her or anything.

"You're a pain in my ass. Stop being that."

We're thinking the feeling's mutual. Though better to be a pain in the ass than to have pain in the face. Like, say, when a career-sabotaging egomaniacal actor with longstanding anger and bigot issues knocks your teeth out. For example.

Whoopi fires back over Gibson flak

Whoopi Goldberg has gone on the attack after she was criticized for defending Mel Gibson as a racist, chastising her detractors for expressing their complaints in angry calls to her office secretary.

The Ghost star sparked controversy on her U.S. talk show The View on Monday when she insisted Gibson was no racist, despite allegedly using the offensive 'N' word in an expletive-laden, recorded argument with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Representatives for Gibson have yet to confirm the authenticity of the tape, but Goldberg stepped up to defend the Braveheart actor's crude language, insisting he was simply being a "bonehead".

Goldberg was adamant she did not support his actions but said, "I don't like what he did here, but I know Mel, and I know he's not a racist. He may be a bonehead. I can't say he's a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids. Make no mistake (he's not a racist)."

The African-American actress has come under fire from critics for her comments but, on Wednesday's episode of The View, Goldberg hit back at the negative response, insisting she was just describing her own experiences with Gibson.

She said, "There has been a lot of hassle in the media recently... because I had the audacity to say that I had some personal time with Mel that goes over years and years, and said that I did not think of him as a racist. People lost their minds, said, 'You were defending him.'

"I do believe had you actually watched the show, you would have heard me specifically say I don't condone this. I don't think it's right, I don't think this is smart, but here is the piece of information I have, my experience, this (Gibson) is not a racist. Now, being a black woman, you would think I'd be able to feel if I was around a racist."

Some incensed viewers even called into Goldberg's office and expressed their anger by shouting down the phone at her assistant - and the star has taken particular offence to the "coward"-like behaviour.

Launching into a furious rant on U.S. TV, she raged, "I understand you don't care (about her views), that's OK. But then people called my office, went off on the young lady that works there. You think I'm doing something wrong and you do the same thing to this lady that you don't even know, that Mel Gibson supposedly did (to Grigorieva)? Who are you? You can kiss my behind!

"The last thing, don't be a coward. I can sit up here... and say this is what I believe and you don't have to like it. But I do it and you see me face-to-face. But then you call my office, you cowardly piece of dog mess!"

Mel Gibson Allegedly Threatens to Burn Down House in Tape No. 4

A breathless, ballistic Mel Gibson allegedly threatens to burn down the house – but first demands to have sex with his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva – in a fourth recording that has hit the Web.

Like the three tapes that have preceded it, the three-minute conversation, streaming on RadarOnline, finds the actor-filmmaker, 54, outraged and explicit, screaming at Grigorieva, 40. "How dare you act like such a bitch when I'm being so f---ing nice," he reportedly says.

The two appear to be arguing about having sex, and Gibson, seemingly upset that Grigorieva fell asleep, screams, "I'll burn the g-----n house down," before graphically demanding oral sex.

He also discloses that he's seeing a therapist, but tells his girlfriend, "You wanted the number of my therapist? Don't you ever speak to him. … You've got problems more than me."

Grigorieva speaks up, responding, "You need medication."

Earlier this year, Gibson sought therapy to deal with his relationship with the Russian musician, with whom he has a 9-month-old daughter, Lucia.

Mel Gibson takes aim at Hispanics in fresh rant

Mel Gibson's terrible week just got worse as in a fresh recording posted online, the Oscar-winning "Braveheart" director allegedly uses racial language to disparage a Hispanic cleaning lady.

The recording, apparently made in a screaming phone argument with his Russian-born ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, follows the release of earlier rants in which Gibson makes racial slurs against black people, calls Grigorieva a "whore" and a "bitch in heat," and apparently acknowledges beating her.

In one tape "Lethal Weapon" star Gibson even reportedly threatened to kill Grigorieva and also stated: "You need a bat to the side of the head."

The recordings were leaked to the celebrity site, with no indication of where they came from. While they have not been authenticated, Gibson has not issued any denial since they began surfacing on Friday.

The tapes conclude the ugly breakup between Grigorieva, 40, and Gibson, 54, following a January 6 beating she allegedly took from him. Gibson is accused of knocking out some of Grigorieva's teeth in the fracas.

Gibson and Grigorieva fathered a girl, Lucia, in October, months after the "Mad Max" star divorced Robyn, his wife of nearly 30 years and mother of his first seven children.

In the Tuesday recording, Gibson and Grigorieva argue over a woman that cleans their home. Gibson insists the woman can only work for him, but Grigorieva says she needs her more because she is caring for their child.

"I will fire (the cleaning lady) if she's at your house. I will make it known and fire her. I'll report her to the ******* people that take ******* money from the wetbacks, OK?" Gibson says.

The term "wetback" is a slur referring to immigrants who swim across the Rio Grande river, which forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States, and enter the United States illegally.

It was unclear if Gibson was threatening to call immigration authorities to denounce the cleaner, or call people that blackmail illegal immigrants.

In the rant Gibson also gave indications that he is facing money problems. "I?m paying my tax money instead of the credit card (bill). Don?t you get it?!" he screams.

On Monday's edition of the TV show "The View," African-American comedian Whoopi Goldberg defended Gibson.

"I don't like what he did here but I know Mel, and I know that he's not a racist," she said. "You can say he?s being a bone head, but I can?t sit and say that he?s a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids."

According to the celebrity website, Grigorieva made the recordings after the January fight.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman said Monday that police would also be investigating the tapes of Gibson's alleged tirades, once they are voluntarily turned over.

Police in Malibu said Thursday they were investigating a domestic violence case at the couple's home, but gave few details.

Gibson's lawyers claim that Grigorieva, a singer who has a child from a prior relationship, is trying to extort more money in their separation settlement. Grigorieva denies the charges.

Unmarried, the couple announced their friendly separation in April, but according to local media Grigorieva decided to take Lucia's custody battle to court in light of Gibson's abusive behavior.

One consequence of the rants was that Gibson's agency, William Morris Endeavor, dumped the actor on Friday.

Gibson, who was born in New York and raised as a child in Australia, returned to acting after an eight-year absence, starring in January's action thriller "Edge of Darkness."

Ranting, sexist Mel Gibson not "What Women Want"

In 1985, Mel Gibson was declared People magazine's first ever "Sexiest Man Alive". Ten years ago, women flocked to see him in "What Women Want" playing a chauvinistic executive who finds he can read the female mind.

But in the last week, tape recordings apparently with the Oscar-winning actor ranting and cursing his ex-girlfriend in angry tirades that included racial and sexist slurs have shocked and alienated his female fans, media watchers say.

Yet unlike public condemnation from movie industry big-wigs over Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic outburst in 2006, there has been little official comment about his misogynist tirade -- a reflection, some say, of lack of female clout in Hollywood.

"It is shocking to hear from this man, who has such charm and seeming intelligence in his film roles, but has emerged as a dastardly anti-hero," said editor Bonnie Fuller. "Guess what? Mel doesn't know 'what women want'."

Celebrity website on Tuesday made public a third expletive-laced phone call said to be between Gibson, 54, and Oksana Grigorieva, 40, the mother of his eight month-old daughter. The pair are locked in a bitter court battle.

Gibson's representatives have declined to comment on the tapes, nor have they denied the widespread reports that it is the "Braveheart" actor talking. Los Angeles sheriffs have launched a domestic violence probe into allegations that Gibson punched Grigorieva in the face in January, breaking her tooth.

In the tapes, the enraged voice said to be Gibson calls Grigorieva a "whore," a "mentally deprived idiot" and a "pig in heat," among many of comments that are laced with expletives. He also takes racist jabs at Latinos and African-Americans.

Yet the media coverage and any public outrage have focused more on the damage to Gibson's career, and his racist slurs, than his sexist invective.

While some industry watchers have said his career will survive given his financial ability to fund his own projects -- as he did with his "The Passion of the Christ" -- there seems little doubt that many of the women who once admired Gibson will now leave him behind.

"I've had a lot of people who are professionals in the industry say to me that when you alienate women, they never come back," said Kim Masters, editor-at-large of trade publication The Hollywood Reporter.

Joy Behar, one of the hosts of female TV chat show "The View" said on Tuesday that Gibson was not welcome there because he was an anti-Semite and a racist. Fellow "View" host, actress Whoopi Goldberg, defended Gibson against charges of racism.

"Mel Gibson has become a persona non grata throughout Hollywood. But not because of how he treats women," said Melissa Silverstein, who runs the Women & Hollywood blog.

"People should be talking about the anti-women stuff as much as they talk about the racist stuff," she said.

Silverstein noted that while Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal and talent agent Ari Emanuel denounced Gibson for his anti-Semitic rant in 2006, there have been no public statements this time around from major Hollywood players.

"It is indicative of where women are in Hollywood," Silverstein said. "It's about power, and the boys have it."

Cops reportedly to quiz Oksana's son

Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva has reportedly given police officials permission to quiz her 12 year old son about her volatile relationship with ex-lover Mel Gibson.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigators want to interview young Alexander Dalton, whose father is former James Bond star Timothy Dalton, according to

Officials feel sure the kid may have seen alleged bust-ups between Gibson and his mother - and they believe he was present when the actor allegedly knocked out Grigorieva's tooth during a fight in January, although Alexander didn't actually witness the altercation.

Alexander is considered "a very important percipient witness" according to the website, and he will be able to help determine the extent of Gibson's reported angry tirades, which have come to a head following the release of an expletive-laden taped phone call between the actor/director and the singer, which is full of hateful language and foul accusations.

Meanwhile, another very important witness has come forward - Grigorieva's dentist, Dr. Ross Shelden, has reportedly handed over photos of his client's mouth the day after her furious row with Gibson.

Grigorieva reportedly told the dentist that Gibson had knocked her teeth out but he didn't report the incident to authorities, which he is required to do by law, because he promised to honour his patient's confidentiality.

Police officials plan to interview Dr. Shelden as part of their investigations, according to

Is There Any Way That Isn't Mel Gibson?

Could Mel Gibson pull an it-wasn't-me defense?

Since Friday, horrified listeners have heard three recorded phone calls in which a man who sounds like the actor uses racial slurs, tells the mother of Gibson's child she deserved a recent battering, and threatens to bury her in a rose garden.

All of which might seem career-ending for the Oscar-winning director of Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ — unless, somehow, it isn't Gibson's voice on the calls.

For that to be true, Gibson would have to be the victim of an extremely complicated and unusual setup — as well as an extraordinarily skillful one.

Gibson, who's under investigation for alleged domestic violence against Oksana Grigorieva, says she threatened to leak damaging recordings if he didn't pay her. Gibson says she also made false abuse claims. A rep for the actor declined to comment to on whether Gibson is the one in the recordings.

While movies are full of tapes spliced and edited together to make innocent people look bad, such recordings rarely succeed in real life because they are so easy to discredit, says James A. Griffin, an audio authentication expert who has testified in several trials and consulted for CSI: Miami.

His cursory opinion of one of the tapes, based on a recording on, is that the exchange is real.

"This is a conversation that actually did take place," he told "It is not a cut-and-paste job."

The question, then, is whether the person who sounds like Gibson really is Gibson. The racist remarks are similar to those the actor made against Jews after his 2006 drunken driving arrest, but those remarks could make the actor more vulnerable to a false impersonation.

"There's a lot of sound-alike voices," says Tom Owen, an audio expert who has examined recordings of the Kent State shooting and Osama bin Laden. "I'm sure Hollywood's got lots of people that can sound like Mel Gibson if they want to."

The problem is that Gibson's voice can't be authenticated from the recordings circulating online. Owen and Griffin agree that experts would need to listen to an original copy to investigate, and the calls the public has heard do not seem to be originals, they said. (At one point in the latest tape, for example, a name is deleted.)

Griffin said that given the similarities between Gibson's voice and the one on the tapes, the only way for the actor to prove he wasn't the one speaking would be to submit to a comparison.

It would be quite a vocal workout for the actor, given the ranting, roaring nature of the calls.

"The voice is deformed. The actual vocal cavity is not processing properly when you're yelling or screaming or intoxicated," Owen said. "The voice is not the normal Mel Gibson that you hear in the movies."

On that point, everyone can agree.

Oksana Fights Back in Angry Mel Tape No. 3

Another day, another irate telephone rant allegedly from Mel Gibson has emerged, this one lasting more than six minutes.

Again, the language is explicit and the tone is hostile. But this time, his girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, apparently becomes a more vocal presence, speaking up and talking back to Gibson, who rails against her in what appears to be an argument about a Latina houseworker, to whom he refers with a racial slur.

Like recordings one and two, this tape was also released by RadarOnline.

"You own me with my liver and my kidneys and my soul," Grigorieva, 40, tells Gibson, 54, who appears to be angry to be paying for the services of a domestic employee. "You control me, like marionette … I walk on eggshells with you."

Gibson hurls insults at Grigorieva, telling her, "You're a f---ing mentally deprived idiot. You're a f---ing using whore … I own you."

Called a "user," Grigorieva replies, "What did I use you for? I've given you everything I have … I'm not a whore or thief … Are you insane? Of course you are."

Earlier this year, PEOPLE reports, Gibson sought therapy to deal with his relationship with the Russian musician, with whom he has an 8-month-old daughter, Lucia. The two split in March.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is looking into domestic-abuse accusations against Gibson.

Mel Gibson Sought Therapy over Relationship, Says Friend

The troubled state of his relationship with girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva was not lost on Mel Gibson. "He realized how unhealthy the relationship was and recognized that they were in a bad place and he was getting his buttons pushed," a friend tells PEOPLE.

So, earlier this year, the actor sought therapy.

Gibson, the pal says, "wanted to figure out how to extricate himself from this unhealthy relationship peacefully and calmly. Which is what he did."

Indeed, the couple's split around March appeared smooth on the surface, and in May the two signed a custody settlement for their 8-month-old daughter, Lucia.

Gibson's lawyer Stephen Kolodny previously described the deal as "very generous support payments, joint custody and eventually 50/50 custody of Lucia," while the Russian singer claimed that payments have since dried up.

But over the last few weeks, things have imploded in a very public way, with Gibson, 54, and Grigorieva, 40, locked in a bitter custody dispute and the superstar facing domestic abuse allegations and the fallout from leaked audiotapes in which Gibson berates and threatens Grigorieva during profane rants.

A source close to the case claims the tapes were recorded in February on the heels of a heated exchange in January.

Both sides agree they argued in January but differ on what exactly transpired. Grigorieva claims Gibson punched her in the face "more than once," breaking a tooth and knocking out a veneer. Another Gibson source says the actor only "tried to stop [Oskana] from shaking their baby like a ragdoll" during the altercation.

And how Gibson is holding up amidst both the public and private drama? The actor is still in therapy and, says the friend: "He's coping as well as can be expected."

For more on the Mel Gibson story, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

For Mel Gibson, scandal puts him in a harsh light again

Nearly four years to the day that he was arrested in Malibu for DUI and accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, Mel Gibson, 54, again finds himself in the thunderdome of public opinion. But this time, he may not be able to fight his way out.

Tape recordings purported to be Gibson unleashing a barrage of insults, racial slurs, threats and admitting to domestic assault have hit the Internet, which raises the question: Can the Oscar-winning star bounce back from yet another public relations disaster?

Celebrity gossip site released two audio conversations that singer Oksana Grigorieva, 40, Gibson's ex-girlfriend and mother to his 8-month-old daughter, Lucia, says she taped after Gibson allegedly struck her, knocked out two of her teeth and threatened to kill her Jan. 6. Reached Monday by phone, Grigorieva's lawyer, Marci Levine, had no comment.

In one of the tapes, released Monday, a man can be heard panting heavily while yelling to a woman that he'll put her "in a (expletive) rose garden" and that she needs "a bat in the side of the head." In the other, released Friday, he criticizes her wardrobe and chides her for getting breast implants, comparing her to a pregnant female dog and suggesting that if she were raped it would be her fault.

Gibson and Grigorieva have been embroiled in a child custody battle since their breakup in April.

Fallout from the recordings has been swift and serious.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has launched a domestic violence investigation as a result of the January incident. Grigorieva filed a formal complaint July 5.

"We're in the beginning stages" of the investigation, says sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore, who confirms that the tapes will be reviewed and analyzed for the district attorney. "We have no time frame as to how long (the review) will last. Maybe a month, maybe longer."

Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, had no comment about the recordings but confirmed that William Morris Endeavor Entertainment would no longer represent the actor.

Stars and scandal

Crisis management experts and media consultants have mixed opinions on the potential ramifications of the recordings.

To be sure, Hollywood has a history of tolerating dreadful behavior, accused or proven — for example, cases involving Roman Polanski and Charlie Sheen — but only as long as the star behaving badly remains bankable.

"If (Gibson) were a big star right now, there might be more of an attempt to make excuses" for him, says Kim Masters, editor at large for The Hollywood Reporter.

"Does he have money? Yes. Does he have the talent? Yes. Does he have any stature in the mainstream Hollywood community? No, he is a pariah."

Says New York entertainment publicist Amy Brownstein: "I just don't think he's got a career at this point. If he wants to produce a movie, there are people that will take his money," but "he's not going to do a studio movie, unless it's released somewhere else. I could see women protesting in front of a production facility."

Moreover, "there's no woman who would star in a movie with him unless it's an up-and-coming actress who would rather make her first movie than adhere to her scruples."

Gibson's alleged telephone rants have reverberated beyond Hollywood. "I'm hopeful that the airing of these terrible tapes will ignite new conversation about domestic violence in this country, because what we're looking at is not a personal or private issue but a public health issue," says Erin Matson of the National Organization for Women.

Within the industry, the scandal has turned more than a few insiders off — or at least kept them silent.

"Hollywood is being very tight-lipped about it," says Entertainment Tonight and The Insiderexecutive producer Linda Bell Blue. "You don't hear anyone coming to Mel's defense.

"One of Mel's biggest co-stars of all time was Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series. Hearing the racist rant, you wonder what Danny Glover is sitting at home thinking. In the silence of Hollywood is just the disappointment."

Legal questions

In this case, Gibson may have done more than just disappoint Hollywood; he may have also broken the law.

"If the tapes are legitimate, if they were obtained legally and if she's not guilty of extortion, I would say he's going to county jail," says Santa Monica criminal defense attorney Steve Cron. Gibson could face felony or misdemeanor charges of making criminal threats, should a prosecutor determine that the facts of the case warrant prosecution, Cron says.

"The threats are pretty outrageous. And he doesn't sound like he's joking around," Cron says. "He sounds completely out of control and if she were there, he'd do it right on the spot. I can see someone saying this is felony behavior."

But because Gibson's only prior arrest is his 2006 DUI, which resulted in probation, Cron says, it isn't likely that he could be sentenced to state prison.

"He would maybe get a year in county jail, one or two programs, maybe community service and probation on top of that to make sure he follows court orders," Cron says. "If I were his attorney, I would say get into an alcohol rehab program and an anger management program immediately, so that in talking with the district attorney, I could say he's acknowledged he's had these issues, even before he's been charged. That would go a long way toward convincing them he's got a shot at becoming a reasonable, law-abiding even tempered citizen."

He'll also have to convince Hollywood that he's a bankable, reasonable star.

"I'm not sure this is fixable," Blue says. "It would take an incredible comeback to overcome this. I think it would have to take a very humbling and sincere public apology to gain his audience back. And if the audience comes back, Hollywood comes back."

"Audiences, I think, are quite forgiving, but it's dependent on his (future) behavior," says Lois Smith, a retired publicist for many an A-lister. (She worked with Gibson once, on Hamlet in 1990: "very nice, very charming.")

Brownstein says Gibson "needs to go away for a really long time. ... I'm talking, like, a year and a half."

"It's more than an anger management class" that's required, she says. "It's real help."

In the past, "we saw hints of the impulsive raging," says Santa Barbara, Calif.-based psychologist Jennifer Freed. The recordings , however, reveal that "this is really a character defect" of Gibson's.

As for expressing remorse, "what else could you say to make it go away?" Lois Smith says. "He should have thought of that before he opened his mouth the first time. He just isn't thinking."

Brownstein says an immediate apology is moot. "He should not jump to, 'Oh, I'm going to be exonerated if I just open my mouth,' because it's not going to be considered real," she says. "Because he has a history of this (behavior), no one is going to believe him."

What's ahead

Audiences may not have a chance to give Gibson another shot any time soon, considering that the fate of his latest project is now uncertain. Friend and Maverick co-star Jodie Foster directed him in The Beaver, which was originally aiming for a late 2010 debut, with ambitions toward award nominations. In it, Gibson plays a disturbed man who treats the stuffed beaver puppet on his hand as if it were a real person.

Summit Entertainment, which has the distribution rights, has not scheduled a release date, says spokesman Paul Pflug, and the studio is declining to commenton the scandal.If things do turn around for Gibson, it could be a reminder for other celebrities, Institute for Crisis Management President Larry Smith says.

"If he lays low for a little a while and wants to continue his career, he'll probably be OK," he says. "But it certainly just should remind everybody in the public eye that they have to remember that they live in the public eye."

In an age when sexually explicit text messages can turn up on the Web — and undo Tiger Woods, at least for a few months — Masters finds it "amazingly naive" that Gibson didn't consider the ramifications of his telephone ranting. "It suggests to me, 'Is this a healthy choice? Is this a healthy mind?' "

Hollywood image and media consultant Michael Sands says this " is not a career-ender for Mel Gibson. Hollywood has selective amnesia when it comes to their brand names or franchises being involved in alleged criminal behavior or family law issues."

There "will always be a few names in the Hollywood entertainment business that will come to the aid of Mel's tarnished image and rehabilitate him. Just give it time." He adds that he wouldn't be surprised if this incident "breathes new life into his acting career. Hollywood likes to make a buck."

Larry Smith agrees. He says Gibson losing agency representation is "so far the most significant (development) ...

"Things have changed a lot. If this had happened even 10 years ago, my advice would have been to bend over and kiss his fanny goodbye," Smith says. "Today, the public attention span is so short ... I'm not sure whether the public cares or not anymore."

In the meantime, Lois Smith says Gibson's strategy is the correct one: Lay low. "He's already said too much. He just needs everything to cool off."

How Will Mel Gibson's Latest Rants Affect Jodie Foster's Beaver?

Jodie Foster may be regretting giving her ol' pal Mel Gibson a job.

Foster is currently putting the finishing touches on The Beaver, a dramedy she not only directed, but costars in with the embattled actor. Gibson plays a man who develops a friendship with a hand puppet.

With Gibson's reputation taking a hit, it's not looking good for the $20 million flick...

An insider tells me that Summit Entertainment, the studio releasing Beaver, is at a standstill. "They don't know what they're going to do," the source said. "It's sort of a wait-and-see until Mel makes his next move."

Foster has yet to comment on Gibson's recent troubles or how it will affect the film. "Jodie is not available at this time," her rep said. "She is in post on the movie."

Our source said that research conducted by Summit before the Mad Max star imploded showed movie-goers were ready to forgive and forget his problems of the past and see the film. Despite reports that the film had a release date, Foster's rep said it "was not yet dated before all of the current news."

A rep for Summit did not comment.

Even if Beaver bombs, Summit has apparently already recouped Foster's $20 million budget through foreign sales, according to our source.

No word yet if anyone has asked for their money back.

Goldberg: Gibson 'not a racist'

Whoopi Goldberg has defended Mel Gibson against allegations he's a racist after he was allegedly heard using offensive language in an expletive-laden, recorded argument with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Audio of the fight, which leaked on on Friday, featured a voice believed to be Gibson's berating a woman, said to be the Russian singer, about the way she dresses.

The male can be heard saying, "You're an embarrassment to me. You look like a f**king pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n**gers, it will be your fault."

Representatives for Gibson have yet to confirm the authenticity of the tape, but Goldberg has defended the Braveheart actor's crude language, insisting he's simply being a "bonehead".

The African-American Ghost star claims Gibson would not have maintained a friendship with her and her children if he was really a racist.

Speaking on her U.S. talk show The View on Monday, she says, "I don't like what he did here, but I know Mel, and I know he's not a racist. He may be a bonehead.

"I have had a long friendship with Mel. You can say he's being a bonehead, but I can't say he's a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids. Make no mistake (he's not a racist)."

But Goldberg is quick to clarify she does not approve of Gibson's alleged behaviour and his language - if the tape is authentic.

She adds, "I'm not defending Mel, I'm simply saying that... I don't see him as that (a racist) because that's not my experience with him."

Gibson is currently being investigated by Los Angeles authorities over allegations he was violent towards Grigorieva, the mother of his baby daughter Lucia, during their romance. The couple split earlier this year and is currently embroiled in a bitter custody battle.

New Mel tape mentions allegedly hitting girlfriend

A celebrity website has posted audio of a recording it says is Mel Gibson allegedly acknowledging that the actor hit the mother of his 8-month daughter.

The tape, posted Monday by, is purportedly an eight-minute phone argument between Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva. A voice sounding distinctively like the Academy Award-winner is heard telling Grigorieva that she "deserved" to be hit after she chastised him for allegedly punching her in the face and breaking two of her teeth.

Alan Nierob, a spokesman for Gibson, declined comment on the tape.

The former couple have been locked in a bitter custody dispute in Los Angeles. The 40-year-old singer has accused Gibson of domestic violence, and sheriff's officials have launched an investigation.

De Niro reaches out to Gibson

Robert De Niro has reached out to Mel Gibson - insisting he hopes the Braveheart star "gets through" his "unfortunate" personal problems.

The actor is being investigated by Los Angeles police amid allegations he was violent towards ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a reported incident in January.

It came after Gibson was accused of using offensive racial language in an expletive-laden, recorded argument with his ex. The former couple is also battling it out over visitation rights to their baby daughter, Lucia, following their split.

The 54 year old has also reportedly been dropped by executives at his talent agency, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment - but De Niro is hoping Gibson can resolve the issues in his personal life.

He tells reporters in Australia, "I hope he gets through all this. It's unfortunate for him. You know?"

Mel Gibson ouster more about money than morals

When William Morris Endeavor dropped Mel Gibson as a client last week, sources at the agency cited the star's misconduct as the reason.

Its revulsion may be genuine, but the decision also was based on the bottom line, a calculation that Gibson no longer has real monetary value to the agency.

"There's nothing to do for Mel Gibson at the moment," a William Morris source said. "No one will touch him with a 10-foot pole. He'll make his own movies, but you don't commission those anyway."

Hollywood has routinely overlooked reprehensible, even illegal behavior when there's money to be made. And observers -- including a studio chief and an insider at William Morris -- said the industry might even have gotten past Gibson's alleged assault on his former girlfriend. (Consider Charlie Sheen.)

But the repeated allegations of bigoted comments have left his relationship with the public in tatters, and that's a deal-breaker. With tapes surfacing in which Gibson apparently used unforgivable language when referring to African-Americans and Latinos, he has antagonized two groups that are disproportionately represented in movie audiences.

And fans who were willing to forgive Gibson's previous transgressions as drunken utterances might find it hard to make excuses for him this time around. Despite his sexist and anti-Semitic outburst after his 2006 arrest, few industry executives publicly denounced him. (The exceptions included Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal and agent Ari Emanuel, then at Endeavor. And Emanuel wound up accepting Gibson as a client after Endeavor merged with William Morris last year.)

Now the tough job is finding anyone to speak on Gibson's behalf. "I wouldn't make a movie with him if he were the last actor on the planet," the studio chief said. "There were five minutes when we were saying, 'Maybe we should give this guy a break,' and that's gone. No one will touch him."

A veteran producer believes Gibson will still make his own films -- and this observer said he can succeed if he stays behind the camera. "I've thought for a while that he was over as an actor no matter what because of his age," he said. "But if he were to make 'The Passion of the Christ' today, it wouldn't do a dime less business."

But it's hard to assess Gibson's potential as a filmmaker because the star appears to be spiraling downward -- and not just professionally. In January, when Warners released "Edge of Darkness," his behavior during media appearances was erratic. Around that time, a veteran publicist remarked that Gibson did not appear healthy.

Gibson's spokesman, Alan Nierob, responded that Gibson was "healthy for a guy who's an alcoholic who's smoked for 40 years," adding that his client was "trying to be healthier."

With the current state of affairs, Summit -- which is dealing with the next project featuring Gibson in a starring role -- must be glad it's still counting its "Twilight" money. The challenges of opening the $20 million-plus "The Beaver," now in postproduction, are obvious.

Directed by and co-starring Jodie Foster, the movie is a dark comedy about a troubled man who feels compelled to communicate through a beaver hand puppet. The script generated positive buzz, but the film -- which does not have a release date -- sounds like a tough sell even without a troubled star. Summit execs said they are happy with "The Beaver," and one noted that Gibson turned in "an amazing performance." Summit split the film's cost with other investors.

The fate of other Gibson-related projects remains unclear. His company recently finished filming "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," an action drama, in Mexico. Gibson also has a project that would pair him with Leonardo DiCaprio. Producer Graham King did not respond to inquiries about that film's status.

Website says Gibson rant audio not the last word

The two-minute clip of Mel Gibson using a racial slur and calling his ex-girlfriend a "whore" during an argument are unlikely to be the last ugly words the public hears from the actor., the celebrity website that posted the recording Friday, says there's more where that came from.

For 10 days, the site has posted written transcripts of secret recordings it said Gibson's former girlfriend, Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, had made. The snippet released Friday is the first audio of the confrontations that have been aired.

The clip includes segments in which a voice that sounds distinctly like the Academy Award winner is heard telling Grigorieva that she is dressing too provocatively and that it would be her fault if she were raped. He uses the N-word at one point, and the recording is laced with his profanity.

Shortly after the posting, entertainment news outlets reported that Gibson had been dropped by talent agency William Morris Endeavor, although that decision appeared to have been made days ago. The agency did not return phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

David Perel, RadarOnline's founder and executive vice president, told The Associated Press that the site had heard "a substantial portion" of 30 minutes of recordings Grigorieva had made. Perel said more audio clips will likely be released in coming days.

The site reported the 40-year-old made the recordings because she was afraid Gibson might harm her.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating allegations that Gibson was involved in a domestic violence incident with Grigorieva, with whom he has an 8-month-old daughter. That inquiry is expected to take several weeks before it reaches prosecutors, who will decide whether to press charges.

Gibson's camp, for its part, remained silent Friday about the recording. Spokesman Alan Nierob did not issue a comment on the audio's contents.

Grigorieva's attorney, Marci Levine, also did not return a phone message seeking comment.

It is the second high-profile incident in which Gibson has been accused of using slurs and degrading women. He apologized after his drunken driving arrest in 2006 after it was revealed by another celebrity website, TMZ, that he had made anti-Semitic and sexist comments.

In the recordings released Friday, the actor is heard criticizing Grigorieva, 40, for the way she dresses. He accuses her of lying to him about having breast implants.

"They just look stupid," Gibson tells her at one point in the recording. "Keep them if you want to. They look like a Vegas bitch, a Vegas whore."

"You look like a (expletive) bitch in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of (N-word), it will be your fault," Gibson is heard telling Grigorieva. "You provoked it. You are provocatively dressed."

It is unclear when the recording was made or in what context. It opens with Gibson discussing breast feeding of their now 8-month-old daughter. Toward the end, Gibson indicates he is done with the relationship.

"I don't trust you," the actor is heard saying. "I don't love you. I don't want you."

The former couple have been locked in a bitter custody dispute in Los Angeles. Records in the court case, which may include the audio recordings, remain sealed.

Perel said RadarOnline has verified it is Gibson on the recording.

The website, owned by American Media Inc., which also owns the National Enquirer, did not say how it obtained the tapes. Perel told the AP the site did not pay for the recordings and that they did not come from Grigorieva.

He said the site felt it was an important story to publish, despite the disturbing content. He said in some of the recordings, Gibson and Grigorieva's infant daughter can be heard screaming in the background.

The screaming is not present in the audio released Friday.

"We felt it was so newsworthy and so explosive we simply had to report what we heard," Perel said.

"It is shocking, not only for content — which is horrific — but for tone," he said. "It is one of the most vile things we have ever heard."

Mel Gibson Reportedly Dropped By Agency After Angry Recording Leaks

An apparent recording of Mel Gibson berating his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child surfaced on Friday, soon after he claimed she tried to extort him over the recording.

Shortly after the profanity-filled recording hit the web, Gibson was dropped by his agency of more than 30 years, William Morris Endeavor, according to The Hollywood Reporter.The abusive and racist language on the tape recalled Gibson's DUI arrest in 2006, when police said he made anti-Semitic remarks including telling the arresting officer "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Gibson, who is currently under investigation for alleged domestic violence against Grigorieva, says she threatened to leak the recordings to the news media if he didn't pay her. Gibson also claims she also made false claims to the authorities about his alleged abuse.

The ongoing public battle between the two has grown only more heated since a restraining order was filed on June 25 by Grigorieva, 40, which alleged that Gibson punched her in the face multiple times on Jan. 6, breaking a tooth and causing a concussion. An investigation was launched Monday when the incident was brought to the attention of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"There have been allegations brought forth by his former girlfriend," sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore told Thursday. "We interviewed the alleged victim on Monday, which officially launched our investigation."

The couple is embroiled in a bitter custody suit for their eight-month-old daughter, Lucia.

D.A. on Mel Gibson: "We Have No Case"

Mel Gibson isn't in any legal trouble—yet.

Contrary to media reports, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has not yet received the findings from the L.A. Sheriff Department's investigation into domestic abuse allegations against the Lethal Weapon star.

"We have no case. They have not handed it over to us," prosecutor's spokeswoman Jane Robison tells E! News. "Once they complete their investigation it would be routine if they handed it over to us but we have no comment because nothing has been turned over yet."

So what's the timetable?

It will likely take until the end of the month before the D.A. reviews the case and even longer before deciding whether to file any charges.

Sheriff's investigators launched the probe earlier this week stemming from a Jan. 6 incident between Gibson, 54, and his estranged baby mama Oksana Grigorieva. The two got into a heated argument that may have turned physical and that, according to RadarOnline, was recorded.

Law enforcement sources say detectives are looking for evidence to charge Gibson with felony domestic violence, assault and—because Grigorieva was holding their 9-month-old daughter, Lucia, during the argument—child endangerment.

Neither Gibson nor Grigorieva has commented on the investigation.

While detectives have already interviewed the 40-year-old Russian singer about the incident, Gibson has yet to be queried.

TMZ reports that his lawyers are preparing to meet with investigators to tell his side of the story and accuse Grigorieva of trying to extort money by offering to sell him tapes she secretly recorded of their often ugly spats in the wake of their April split. Team Mel will reportedly ask for a criminal investigation into those allegations.

Talk about Payback.

Mel Gibson Accuses Ex-Girlfriend of Extortion

Despite a sheriff's investigation into claims that Mel Gibson assaulted ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, the actor is confident he'll be cleared of any wrongdoing, says a source close to the case.

In fact, he's alleging that it's Grigorieva who broke the law.

According to the source, Gibson will be presenting evidence to detectives that Grigorieva tried to extort money from him and, if he didn't pay, she'd leak recordings of Gibson to the press. He also asserts that she made false claims to the police about his alleged abuse.

Calls to Grigorieva's attorney weren't immediately returned.

Asked about a report Friday that Gibson also allegedly threatened the Russian singer with a gun, L.A. Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said he could neither "confirm or deny" the allegation. The investigation is ongoing and police say it could take up to a month before prosecutors will be presented a case.

Gibson, 54, and Grigorieva, 40, have been locked in a bitter custody dispute over their 8-month-old daughter, Lucia. Grigorieva alleged in a restraining order filed June 25 that the actor punched her in the face "more than once" on Jan. 6 at his Malibu home, breaking a tooth, knocking out a veneer and causing a concussion.

Sources close to Gibson claim he merely was trying to stop Grigorieva from shaking Lucia "like a ragdoll" and that her accusations are financially motivated.

Grigorieva has reportedly caught Gibson on tape spewing racist comments and hurling other expletives, but a rep for Gibson previously claimed no knowledge of the recordings. "I have no comment on, and furthermore no knowledge of, the credibility or authenticity of any alleged audio tapes," the actor's rep said.

Mel Gibson is focus of domestic violence inquiry

Mel Gibson is being investigated in a possible domestic violence incident involving his ex-girlfriend earlier this year, sheriff's officials said Thursday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department listed the actor-director as a potential suspect in the alleged attack on Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva at an undisclosed location in Malibu.

The two have been involved in a nasty custody dispute over their infant daughter — the subject of a confidential court case.

The incident is being investigated by the same sheriff's substation that handled Gibson's 2006 arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. The station in Agoura also covers Malibu, where Gibson lives.

The release states the incident occurred Jan. 6 and the investigation is in a preliminary stage. A department spokesman was not immediately available to speak about the case.

A phone message left for Alan Neirob, Gibson's spokesman, was not immediately returned.

The Academy Award winner is no longer on probation for the drunken driving case and his conviction has been expunged.

The actor has not publicly discussed the breakup with Grigorieva, 40. The former couple first revealed their relationship shortly after Gibson's wife, Robyn, filed for divorce last April.

Mel Gibson, ex mum after closed session

Attorneys for Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend have concluded a closed-door hearing with a judge handling their child custody case.

Attorneys for the actor-director and Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva declined to comment on the case, which remains sealed.

The couple split in April. Gibson's attorney, Stephen Kolodny, says the former couple entered into a confidential agreement a month later. A child custody case was filed in Los Angeles last month, but those records are sealed.

Neither Gibson or Grigorieva, who have a 7-month-old daughter, attended Thursday's hearing.

Kolodny has said Gibson has provided his ex-girlfriend with substantial support. Grigorieva said in a statement that she could not discuss the case.

Gibson hurls the N-word in latest rant: report

Mel Gibson has apparently been caught on tape delivering a racist rant at the mother of his baby, Oksana Grigorieva, says TMZ.

“You look like a f---ing pig in heat and if you get raped by a pack of n---ers it will be your fault,” he’s heard saying.

Grigorieva says she secretly recorded Gibson to ensure that she had some ammunition in their custody battle.

The tapes, which have been submitted to a judge, also have Gibson calling Grigorieva a “whore” and a “c---.”

In 2006, Gibson was caught in another racist tirade, after he was pulled over by police on suspicion of being drunk, where he said, “F---ing Jews ... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

Gibson makes $14M on estate sale

Mel Gibson has made a massive $14.7 million profit on the sale of his sprawling Connecticut estate.

The actor bought the property in Greenwich, Connecticut for $9.3 million in 1994 while he was married to now-estranged wife Robyn.

The Tudor-style mansion, which boasts a five-horse stable, a log cabin and a swimming pool, has been on the market since 2007, a year after Gibson separated from his wife, and it has now been sold for $24 million.

The final figure is $15.5 million less than the original asking price of $39.5 million, but still makes Gibson a multi-million dollar profit on his original investment, according to

Mel Gibson split from ex-girlfriend turns bitter

Mel Gibson's breakup from Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva was supposed to be a quiet affair, but a confidential settlement and sealed court case haven't kept the former couple's troubles from hitting the spotlight.

The latest flare-up began last week when Grigorieva apparently named Gibson in a child custody case, which is sealed and will likely remain out of the public domain.

The seal hasn't kept the breakup out of headlines, though, continuing Gibson's streak in recent years of making news more for his personal life than his film career.

On Monday, the actor-director's attorney issued a statement revealing that the couple in May reached a custody agreement for their 7-month-old daughter, Lucia.

The contents of that pact were confidential, but attorney Stephen Kolodny accused the 40-year-old Grigorieva of violating its terms.

He said the actor has paid Grigorieva "tens of thousands of dollars," is providing his daughter with health insurance and a nanny and has bought a lavish home and a car for his ex-girlfriend.

Kolodny's statement said Gibson's payments to Grigorieva will change, but he did not indicate how.

"Mel has generously supported Lucia and will continue to do so," the statement said.

Grigorieva, who met Gibson while he was filming "Edge of Reason," told The Associated Press that she could not discuss the case.

The singer denied online reports, however, that Gibson obtained a restraining order against her. Her attorney, Marci Levine, did not return calls and an e-mail seeking comment Tuesday.

A person close to Gibson said one of the main issues of the case was the Australian-American writer-director's access to his daughter. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kolodny said the agreement called for the couple's daughter to spend about half her time with Gibson.

Gibson's wife of 28 years, Robyn, cited irreconcilable differences for their split last April. That case is ongoing, but it has not generated the attention of Gibson's split with Grigorieva.

Most of that case has been handled in private with few documents filed publicly.

Grigorieva and Gibson were frequently photographed together when their relationship became public after the actor-director's wife filed for divorce last year. Grigorieva also has a son from her relationship with British actor Timothy Dalton, who played James Bond in two films.

Gibson confirmed Grigorieva was pregnant with his eighth child to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" last May.

The couple's relationship represented the re-emergence of Gibson, 54, after several years of shunning the public eye. Before the release of "Edge of Reason" this year, Gibson's last starring role in a film had been in 2002's "Signs."

He directed two films since then, the surprise blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004 and the violent Mayan action flick "Apocalypto" in 2006.

It was in that year that Gibson was arrested and charged with drunken driving. He later apologized for making a slew of anti-Semitic remarks, saying he had battled alcoholism for all of his adult life. He complied with all the terms of the probation he was given in the case, and his conviction was expunged last year.

Gibson won an Academy Award in 1995 for directing "Braveheart," which also won that year's best picture Oscar.

He has since split time between acting and directing. This year's "Edge of Reason" grossed an estimated $45 million at the domestic box office, very different from blockbusters of his action star heyday.

He is slated to appear next in the offbeat comedy "The Beaver," which co-stars and is directed by Gibson's longtime friend, Jodie Foster.

Mel Gibson: Fewer Visits With Daughter Equals Less Money for Baby Mama

Mel Gibson managed to divorce the mother of his seven children and make financial arrangements without a major ruckus, but it was the eighth kid that really broke the camel's back.

Gibson's camp says the actor's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva is in violation of the custody arrangement the pair hammered out for baby daughter Lucia when they split up—and therefore, she isn't getting a penny more than the sum they agreed to in mediation if she failed to live up to her end of the bargain.

And any rumor that he hasn't paid child support to her since their breakup is nothing but a rumor, Gibson's lawyer says.

"Mel has generously supported Lucia and will continue to do so," attorney Stephen Kolodny said in a statement to E! News. "Oksana currently lives in a four bedroom, multi-million dollar house with Lucia and her older son Sascha (from a previous relationship with actor Timothy Dalton) purchased by Mel. Mel also purchased a brand new car for Oksana. He provides health insurance for Lucia and has given Oksana tens of thousands of dollars to support her and Lucia over the past months."

Kolodny says that Gibson agreed last monthto "very generous support payments, joint custody and eventually 50/50 custody" of Lucia.

And Gibson had been visiting regularly with his daughter, until recently.

"Now that Oksana has failed to honor that agreement Mel will provide support based on the terms agreed to in the event of breach," Kolodny says. "This includes a substantial monthly payment, in addition to the house, the care and all of the other benefits listed above. It also provides for a professional nanny."

While word is that the only court documents filed recently were a request from Gibson that Grigorieva not discuss the finer points of their arrangement in public, it sure sounds like more trees will be harmed in the finalizing of this situation.

Gibson's lawyer slams ex's claims

Mel Gibson's lawyer has slammed Oksana Grigorieva's claims the Braveheart star was "cruel" towards her during their union and is failing to pay child maintenance for their daughter - branding them "sensational allegations".

Grigorieva opened up about their acrimonious split for a British tabloid on Sunday, insisting the actor wasn't paying towards the upkeep of their seven-month-old child Lucia.

The former couple is embroiled in a battle over visitation rights, with the singer reportedly winning a restraining order in Los Angeles against Gibson last week, prompting the movie star/director's legal team to call for a modification so their client can spend time with his daughter.

But Gibson is fuming over Grigorieva's allegations, and his lawyer, Stephen Kolodny, has spoken out to defend his client.

Kolodny tells, "Oksana's deceitful conduct in trying to terminate Mel's access to his daughter continues.

"Having entered into an agreement that allows for overnight, unrestricted visitation, and would soon result in Mel having 50/50 custody of their daughter - an agreement reached after a two-day mediation with two retired Superior Court judges - Mel was hopeful that their break-up was behind them and Lucia would be the beneficiary of co-operative parenting. Apparently Lucia will be denied that good fortune.

"Making sensational allegations is not the way to resolve this."

INSIDE STORY: Mel Gibson and Ex-Girlfriend Battling over Daughter

It was a heated exchange in early January – with their baby daughter caught in the middle – that has led to domestic violence allegations against Mel Gibson by his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, PEOPLE has learned.

The Russian-born singer, 40, alleged in an emergency restraining order filed Monday against Gibson, 54, that he struck her during an argument at his Malibu home – an allegation that a Gibson source says is distorted.

"Oksana was completely out of control that day, screaming, and shaking Lucia like a ragdoll," says the source. "Mel stepped in to stop her from injuring the baby."

The source further alleges Grigorieva then withheld 7-month-old Lucia from the actor for Father's Day last weekend despite a custody agreement allowing the visit, which resulted in a face-off in a Los Angeles court on Tuesday.

"He was as frustrated as any father would be when they're kept away from their child," says a second Gibson source. "He was with all his kids and family and the one person missing was Lucia. Oksana is not putting the interest of their daughter first."

Adds the first Gibson source: "The allegation that Oksana is in fear of Mel is ridiculous. From January to March, she traveled with Mel to London and Paris at her insistence. This is all an attempt to gain financial advantage over him."

Oksana: Custody Agreement Unfair

A source close to Grigorieva wouldn't comment on the alleged physical altercation, but denied the drama was escalated by the singer withholding their daughter.

"That is absolutely not what caused all this," the Grigorieva source says. "There's other reasons in this case that brought it to where it is today. Oksana doesn't feel the custody agreement is fair."

Grigorieva voiced her frustration Friday to reporters outside her San Fernando Valley home. "He's playing dirty. The truth will come out," she told Radar Online. Later, a somber-looking Grigorieva told PEOPLE: "I'm doing okay. I really am. There's nothing more I can add."

Gibson, who is temporarily forbidden from contacting Grigorieva, was granted access to Lucia after his attorneys presented the judge with the custody agreement which the couple hammered out in May after they split.

The actor also filed his own restraining order against Grigorieva on Tuesday, but it only prevents her from speaking about certain sensitive aspects about the case.

A hearing on whether to extend the restraining orders is set for July 20.

Mel Gibson Files Restraining Order Against Ex-Girlfriend

Really putting a stamp on their split, Mel Gibson filed for a restraining order against Oksana Grigorieva, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his 7-month-old daughter, Lucia, PEOPLE has learned.

The Oscar winner, 54, and the Russian musician-singer, 40, had been together about a year by the time they broke up in April 2010.

While at the time of the split a friend of the couple told PEOPLE, "They're still friends and they'll both raise Lucia together," since then their relationship has become less amicable.

Though the legal documents, which were filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, are sealed, RadarOnline, which first broke the story, reports that the main issue involves Gibson's access to the child.

Gibson, who just completed filming How I Spent My Summer Vacation, resides in Malibu. Grigorieva, meanwhile, is still living in a Sherman Oaks, Calif., home owned by Gibson – and has been doing so since their split.

She was reportedly served the legal papers there.

Gibson's rep has no comment.

In April 2009, Robyn Moore, the actor-filmmaker's wife of 30 years, filed for divorce from Gibson, citing irreconcilable differences. Later that same month, he and Grigorieva made their first public appearance together as a couple.

In addition to Lucia, Gibson is the father of seven children – six sons and one daughter – while Grigorieva has a son, Alexander, with her former boyfriend, British actor (and short-term James Bond star) Timothy Dalton.

Gibsons sued over building bills

Mel Gibson and his estranged wife Robyn are coming together to face a lawsuit over allegedly unpaid construction bills.

Bosses at Ramage Construction have filed a lawsuit against the Gibsons, who legally separated in 2006, alleging the former couple owes a combined $6,631 for building work at their Malibu, California residence and for drafting plans for another property. reports the owner of Ramage, who has worked for the Gibsons for nearly 20 years, may seek compensation for a further $200,000 for "various projects" he completed for the Braveheart star.

Gibson's rep slams affair rumour

Mel Gibson's representative has denied the actor split from Oksana Grigorieva after he cheated on her with a Polish porn star.

The Russian singer/songwriter confirmed reports she had ended her relationship with the actor during a press conference in April.

The pianist insisted the split had happened "suddenly and recently", but refused to go into detail about the breakdown of the relationship.

Porn star Violet Kowal claimed in America's National Enquirer she had embarked on an affair with the Braveheart star while Grigorieva was pregnant with the couple's child Lucia, who was born last October.

But Gibson's spokesperson has hit out at the report - dismissing it as an "absurd fabrication", according to Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Gibson and Grigorieva went public with their romance after the actor/director's wife, Robyn, filed for divorce last April after 30 years of marriage.

Ex-Girlfriend Calls Breakup with Mel Gibson Sudden

Oksana Grigorieva has given a cryptic account of her breakup with Mel Gibson, offering the current "official" version but with a tease for more details to come.

"We have split up – suddenly and recently," the Russian musician and singer confirmed at a press conference in Moscow, where she is visiting for a charity event. "Unfortunately, I cannot give you the reason. But you will find out everything quite soon."

She added: "Here is the official version: We split up by mutual consent, and we will raise our daughter together. She is currently with my mother in my Los Angeles home."

Grigorieva and Gibson welcomed a daughter, Lucia – the 54-year-old actor and director's eighth child – last October.

A source tells PEOPLE that Grigorieva and Gibson had "issues they couldn't solve." One issue was apparently how much time they spent together. "Mel likes his freedom, while Oksana felt they should spend every minute together," a source says of the pair.

At the Moscow press conference, Grigorieva did thank Gibson for his help with her music career. "Mel himself has directed several video clips for my songs," she said. "He has written lyrics for two of my songs and has always greatly supported me. He also gave me an incredible opportunity to become a producer of my own album. It doesn't happen a lot these days."

Mel Gibson Likely to Pay 'Very Substantial' Child Support

What's his latest breakup going to cost Mel Gibson?

According to a family law specialist, the wealthy actor-director-producer will likely pay a large amount of child support to ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva for their 5-month-old daughter, Lucia, but probably has no legal responsibility to make alimony payments, given the fact they were not married.

"This is not dissolution of marriage action. The mother would have rights to child support, which in the case of Mr. Gibson, will be very substantial," says attorney Steven Knowles, who estimates support of $12,000 to $15,000 a month. "He is what we call a high-income earner, and there is a high-income earner stipulation that says they must pay any amount reasonably necessary for the support of the child."

But Gibson, who already is in the midst of a divorce from his wife of three decades, Robyn, likely won't pay alimony to Grigorieva because they were never married, even under California's famous Marvin palimony laws for unmarried couples.

"Merely living together and having a child does not give the mother any rights to property and certainly no spousal support," says Knowles, who's not involved in the Gibson action.

A close friend of the couple calls the split "amicable," adding, "They're still friends and they'll both raise Lucia together."

Gibson and Russian lover split because she feared he was cheating

Mel Gibson and his Russian lover split because he refused to marry her and she feared he was cheating, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Friends of the couple said Thursday the pressure of life with a megastar was too much for Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva, whose relationship with Gibson has ended less than five months after she gave birth to their daughter Lucia.

A friend of the performer revealed Gibson and his entourage had forced her to lead a life of isolation.

"He doesn't want her taking anybody's calls, not even her best friends. Mel Gibson doesn't want her talking to anybody but she's not that kind of girl,'' friends said.

Gibson is in the final stages of his divorce from his Australian wife of 28 years, Robyn Moore.

Moore, who has seven children with the actor, filed for divorce last April amid rumors Gibson was in a serious relationship with Grigorieva.

The 54-year-old star and the classical pianist, aged 41, were photographed enjoying a beach holiday in Costa Rica only days before Moore filed the papers.

Six months later, in October, Grigorieva delivered Gibson's youngest daughter.

But now it is all over - with People magazine first reporting the split.

Sources claimed they split after a heated argument during which Grigorieva accused him of cheating.

"She'd heard all the stories of his womanizing and when she related her concerns to him he hit the roof,'' the National Enquirer quoted a friend as saying.

"Mel will never admit he made a mistake but he realized a little too late that life with Robyn was a piece of cake compared to his relationship with Oksana.''

Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva Split

Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva, his Russian musician-singer girlfriend and mother of their 5-month-old daughter, have split after over a year of dating, a source tells PEOPLE.

"They just drifted apart," says a close friend of the couple of the amicable split. "They’re both working hard on their careers and trying to raise a sweet baby together. They're still friends and they'll both raise Lucia together."

Gibson is in Mexico filming How I Spent My Summer Vacation, and Grigorieva is working on her music. Next week, she has plans to perform a charity concert in Russia to benefit "Grant Life," a foundation to help children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

In addition to Lucia, who was born on October 30, 2009, Gibson, 54, has seven children (six sons and a daughter) with his estranged wife Robyn, while Grigorieva has a son, Alexander, with her former boyfriend, actor Timothy Dalton.

In April of last year, the actor's wife of 30 years filed for divorce. Later that month, he and Grigorieva made their first public appearance together as a couple.

Gibson's rep had no comment.

Mel Gibson to donate movie sets to Mexican museum

The governor of the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz says Mel Gibson will donate sets from the movie he's currently filming to a future museum.

Gov. Fidel Herrera says several sets were built inside the Ignacio Allende prison in the port city of Veracruz and that the jail will be converted into a museum once Gibson is done filming.

In January, 1,500 inmates were transferred out of the prison to make room for Gibson's film, which began production this week and is tentatively titled "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."

Herrera made the announcement Thursday.

Gibson filmed his 2006 Mayan-language movie "Apocalypto" in Veracruz.

Herrera said Gibson also donated some of the sets from that movie.

Gibson on Calling a Reporter an A--hole: "I Have a Short Fuse"

Mel Gibson said his quick temper got the best of him during a recent interview when he called a reporter who asked him about his 2006 DUI arrest an "a--hole."

"I have a short fuse. I'm trying to work on it," Gibson told French TV show Le Grand Journal when asked if he had any French curse words for French journalists. "It usually comes out in English if I'm angry."

Gibson spoke with Dean Richards of Chicago's WGN TV while promoting Gibson's film Edge of Darkness last week. Richards asked if Gibson believes the public will perceive him differently because of the DUI arrest. A police report said he made inflammatory remarks about Jews and a female officer after he was pulled over.

"That was almost four years ago, dude. I've moved on, I guess you haven't," Gibson sais, adding that he felt the public had forgiven him for the incident. "I certainly hope so. It is awhile back. I've done all the necessary mea culpas, so let's move on, dude, come on."

After the interview ended but before the camera on Gibson cut off, the 54-year-old actor could be heard muttering, "a--hole." Gibson initially tried to downplay the situation on Wednesday: He sent a text to KTLA-TV's Sam Rubin claiming his publicist had been making faces at him off-camera, according to Access Hollywood.

Rep: Mel Gibson Called Me the A-Hole

A great publicist is always prepared to take a bullet for his A-list client. And sometimes, the bullet is headed in his direction anyway.

Mel Gibson's longtime rep, Alan Nierob, said Wednesday that the expletive Gibson used to punctuate the end of his TV interview with a Chicago reporter yesterday was directed at him, not at the dastardly interrogator journalist.

Gibson was still facing the camera and uttered the word just seconds after giving WGN's Dean Richards a terse "bye-bye," but that's neither here nor there.

Nierob was "pulling faces" during the interview and Gibson called him an "asshole," he explained to

So, according to Nierob, we can chalk the slip up to good-natured manspeak—client-publicist camaraderie, if you will—rather than Gibson's frustration at being asked about a certain other verbal gaffe that occurred 3 1/2 years ago.

Mel Gibson Calls Morning Show Reporter an "A--hole"

During a recent interview to promote his new film, Mel Gibson called an entertainment reporter an "a--hole."

Gibson, who was making an early morning satellite interview with Chicago's WGN-TV to promote his new movie Edge of Darkness, began his exchange with entertainment reporter Dean Richards cordially. But things became tense when Richards asked the Academy award-winning actor, "Do you think the public will perceive you any differently after all that's been in the news about you?"

"That's almost four years ago, dude," Gibson said. "I've done all the necessary mea culpas. Let's move on."

As Richards wrapped the uncomfortably awkward interview, Gibson curtly signed off saying "buh-bye." But before the satellite feed went off, Gibson can be heard muttering "a--hole" under his breath.

Gibson was arrested in July 2006 for a DUI, during which he let loose with an anti-Semitic rant.

"Avatar" rules box office for seventh weekend

"Avatar" edged closer to the record North American haul of "Titanic" after earning $30 million during its seventh chart-topping weekend, distributor 20th Century Fox said on Sunday.

James Cameron's 3-D sci-fi spectacular has grossed $594.5 million to date and should surpass the $601 million tally of the filmmaker's 1997 melodrama "Titanic" by Wednesday, the News Corp.-owned studio said.

The film last Monday broke the $1.843 billion record worldwide total of "Titanic." International data for the weekend were not immediately available.

The one caveat to the "Avatar" records is that sales are not adjusted for inflation, or for the fact that ticket prices were considerably higher for 3-D screenings.

Mel Gibson's first on-screen performance since 2002, the kidnap thriller "Edge of Darkness," opened at No. 2 with $17.1 million in sales. Still, it marked his worst opening since "Braveheart" launched with $9.9 million in 1995. He was last in theaters with "Signs," which opened to $60 million in 2002.

Gibson, who has directed two big movies since starring in "Signs," has kept a fairly low profile since his 2006 arrest for drunk-driving in Malibu when he made anti-Semitic comments.

Also new was the widely lambasted Walt Disney Co. romantic comedy "When in Rome," starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. It opened at No. 3 with $12.1 million in sales.

Fox's "The Tooth Fairy," which was steady at No. 4 with $10 million in its second weekend; the total for the Dwayne Johnson comedy rose to $26 million at the box office. "The Book of Eli" fell two spots to No. 5 with $8.8 million; after three weeks, the Denzel Washington drama has earned $74 million.

"Edge of Darkness" and "The Book of Eli" were released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc..

Gibson says 'Mad Max' influential

Mel Gibson credits his Mad Max movies with spawning Billy Idol and Duran Duran's road warrior 1980s look.

He insists the low-budget George Miller films inspired pop videos and films.

The actor/director tells the Los Angeles Times, "Look at all the films that came from it, that took from it. Waterworld was Road Warrior on water and there have been a dozen others.

"And look at the music in the 1980s, Billy Idol and Duran Duran, they all took this look... The Mohawks, the black leather and studs, all the bondage stuff."

Gibson still smiles when he recalls how basic the set was: "I lived in a miner's cottage while we were making it. It was made of cement. It had a bedroom and a kitchen and an outside bathroom. We were in the middle of Broken Hill and it's just bleak desert.

"George managed to make it look mythic. It was real low-tech. We made it for dozens and dozens of dollars."

Mel Gibson regains his 'Edge'

Here’s one of those infobits guaranteed to make you feel old: It has been almost eight years since Mel Gibson has starred in a movie (Signs).

The hiatus probably wasn’t intended to be this long, but the years he set aside to directing (The Passion Of The Christ, Apocalypto) merged into a period of self-imposed downlow after his 2006 DUI arrest and bigoted spiel.

But here’s the thing. Whatever his personality warts, action-film fans couldn’t help but miss Mel on screen. And with $2-billion box office behind him, his return was probably inevitable.

The good news is that Gibson is a lot smarter with his choice of material than with his occasional choice of words. Edge Of Darkness is a remake of an acclaimed ’80s British miniseries, with the original director, Martin Campbell, Americanizing an early triumph.

The source material is smart and action-laden, if not action-packed. And the premise — a father’s investigation of the murder of his daughter leads to murky government and corporate conspiracies — is right in Mel’s wheelhouse, an acting assignment redolent of classic Gibson revenge fantasies, such as Payback and Ransom.

Indeed, the only acting challenge in Gibson’s long-awaited comeback (aside from visibly straining to turn down the volume) is adopting the accent of the movie’s protagonist, veteran Boston cop Thomas Craven.

And while he’ll never be mistaken for Mark Wahlberg, Gibson does nail down reasonably well one of those “pahk da cah ba da cahb” speed-Bostonian accents favoured by Hollywood dialect coaches.

We’re introduced to doting dad Craven as he meets his daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) at the train station (in between reverie flashbacks to her as a little girl). Their reunion is strained, and she’s clearly unwell, coughing up blood. As he finally decides to take her to the hospital, she is gunned down in front of his house.

The cops and media all assume she is an accidental target, and that the bullet was meant for him. But disturbing bits that don’t add up soon have Craven poking his nose where it isn’t wanted.

It all centres around the nuclear facility where Emma worked, a plant run by an arrogant, government-connected businessman named Jack Bennett (the magnetic Danny Huston, one of two scene-stealers in the movie along with Ray Winstone).

Dogging Craven’s every move is a mysterious covert-ops type named Jedburgh (Winstone, moving phantom-like in and out of scenes with surprising grace for someone of his physical stature).

Without getting into the details of the conspiracy, suffice to say that it has been neatly rewritten from a Cold War context into a War on Terror one, and it still makes straight-from-the-headline sense.

For his part, director Campbell (Casino Royale) shows a subtle touch, both with the action elements of the movie and with his star. Made to simmer rather than boil, Gibson seems constantly on the verge of going postal, but never quite. It’s a balancing act that pays off dramatically.

As for the violence, it often seems as if there’s more than there is, courtesy of the way Campbell unleashes the scenes without warning.

If it sometimes seems as if we’ve seen this particular Mel Gibson movie before, well, we haven’t seen it for a long time. And it has aged reasonably well.

Mel Gibson returns in fine form with thriller 'Edge of Darkness'

Mel Gibson is back to doing what he does best.

For his return to acting after seven years off, he chose wisely with the taut thriller Edge of Darkness. With Gibson's tired, fiftyish countenance, his continuing affinity for violent action films might seem incongruous.

But his receding hairline and lined forehead give him just the right careworn manner for the role of Thomas Craven, a police detective whose only passion in life is Emma (Bojana Novakovic), the 24-year-old daughter he raised alone. He ably projects experience, sadness and an astute strength. It works well for his part as a veteran Boston detective who must solve the mystery of his daughter's death.

Not only is Edge of Darkness Gibson's best work in a decade — a big improvement over such drivel as What Women Want— it is a well-crafted thriller. This tense tale of a father's love for his daughter and his blinding sense of revenge artfully blends emotion and suspense. As it evolves into a complicated and slightly familiar crime and political thriller, the film loses steam. Still, its pacing is slowly captivating, then suddenly unnerving.

Craven embarks on a mission to unravel secrets in his daughter's professional and personal life. We get only hints in the first few scenes, amplified by flashbacks of her childhood. Thomas is clearly single, and there is no reference to Emma's mother. Somehow this seems more honest than throwing a flashback to explain away a mother's absence.

From the earliest frames, when Thomas goes to meet Emma at the train station, we find ourselves tensing for impending trouble. As soon as Emma appears looking green around the gills and dismissing it with "I'm just tired, I think I got a bug," it's clear something much worse is afoot.

It's a testament to director Martin Campbell's expertise that when something does happen, it still comes as a shock.

Campbell has adapted his own acclaimed 1985 BBC miniseries. The director of Casino Royale, he knows how to blend action and suspense.

Though he doesn't stint on cruelty, Campbell also doesn't shy from gentle moments. Casual brutality mingles with heartbreaking reminiscences.

Gibson's restrained performance as a grieving father and sharp detective is top-notch, but the film's story wavers in its effectiveness. It's an anti-corporate, anti-government screed with such evils as covert nukes and terrorism that tap into our collective paranoia.

But plot holes crop up, and motivational murkiness undercuts some of the conspiracy that comes to light. Still, strong performances —Ray Winstone as a mysterious security consultant and Danny Huston's slimy corporate honcho — compensate for plot weaknesses.

Though the experience is nerve-racking and cathartic under Campbell's skilled direction, musings on family and grief and Gibson's intense, but subtle, performance stay with us longest.

Mel Gibson: Back from the "Edge of Darkness"

Looking at Mel Gibson as he walked the red carpet at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the premiere of his new thriller "Edge of Darkness," one thing was obvious. He's not a kid anymore. With his lined visage and thinning hair, this is the older, hopefully wiser Gibson, the 54-year-old man who was once the top box office draw in Tinseltown.

That was then, before his infamous DUI conviction that included a sexist and anti-Semitic rant heard round the world; this is now, almost eight years since his last leading role, in "Signs." A lot has changed over those years, including the dissolution of his long marriage, a new relationship and three-month-old baby with the much-younger Oksana Grigorieva, and a clean and sober outlook.

As Gibson explained at an earlier press conference for the action-packed film, he needed to get away from Hollywood for a while to effect those life changes.

"I walked away from it after 'Signs' because I just thought that I was a bit stale and I thought that it kind of maybe wasn't ringing my bells," Gibson explained. "Go away, dig a hole, do something else."

As Gibson tells it, his journey back to the spotlight hasn't been the easiest.

"All experiences, what does not kill you makes you stronger and tough, I think. Life's experiences, whether they be pleasant, unpleasant, torturous or excruciatingly wonderful and blissful, season you somehow and you learn from them. Hopefully we learn. Isn't that what it's about? That's all I'm trying to do now."

And if the reaction of the premiere audience to "Edge of Darkness" is any indication, Gibson is still a potent force. Gibson's longtime friend Jodie Foster made the screening, as did teen heartthrob Joe Jonas, singer Lance Bass and actress Maria Menounos, and all joined in a wild ovation for director Martin Campbell's exciting film as the credits rolled.

Then the crowd headed down the street to party at My House, where Gibson, Grigorieva, and the film's co-stars, including Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Jay O. Sanders, and newcomer Bojana Novakovic, celebrated the positive buzz. Holding court in one of the club's dark nooks, Gibson stuck with his program, no drinking, no smoking, as he joked, "I just don't do anything fun anymore!"

Mel Gibson shakes off boredom, returns to acting

Eight years have passed since Mel Gibson starred in a major Hollywood movie, but not because of his well-publicized personal problems. Rather, he said he grew bored with the career that made him a star.

Gibson returns to theaters on Friday in revenge movie "Edge of Darkness," after being re-energized, he said, and feeling he had something to offer audiences once again.

"I was a bit stale. I was just tired and bored with it," Gibson told reporters recently, about the period immediately following 2002's "Signs," a tale of aliens invading Earth.

In the interim, the Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart" directed box office smash "The Passion of the Christ" and another hit, "Apocalypto." He also produced and directed episodes of television series "Complete Savages."

But his personal problems brought him wider attention, perhaps, than his work. A drunk driving charge and anti-Semitic comments to the arresting officer in 2006 made headlines worldwide. Gibson publicly apologized and sought counseling.

More recently, his breakup with his wife, a new girlfriend and a new child put him on the covers of gossip magazines.

But the major box office draw in the 1980s and 1990s remains popular among moviegoers, and in "Edge of Darkness" he returns to the action movie genre that he perfected in hits such as "Mad Max," "Ransom," "Payback" and the "Lethal Weapon" movies.


Based on the BBC miniseries of the same name and directed by Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale"), "Edge of Darkness" has Gibson playing Thomas Craven, a Boston homicide detective and a single father whose only child, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), is killed on the steps of his home, right in front of him.

Craven's investigation into his 24-year-old daughter's murder and the secret life she led, takes him into a shadowy world of corporate cover-ups and government collusion.

Gibson happily admits to being drawn to characters who've lost a family member and are fighting for justice. "It's an old theme and it's a part of most hero myths. Something sets the spheres wrong, and someone has to right it," he said.

Gibson returned to acting because he thought: "I might have something to offer again" and he believed the story in "Edge of Darkness" was a good one to tell. He never made a public pronouncement about retiring or walking away from acting because, he said, "I just thought I'd back away for awhile."

Now he has returned with a sort of acting vengeance.

He next stars in dark comedy "The Beaver," directed by Jodi Foster and set for 2010, about a man who is depressed until being given a hand puppet that helps him deal with life.

Gibson then will take on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," about an American stuck in a Mexican prison, expected in 2011.

But Gibson seems most excited about making a long-cherished tale of Vikings, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was the first idea he ever had about making a film, when he was just 16.

"I do like history," he said. "I like trying to imagine what it was like, especially when we don't have a clear picture of what it was, maybe romanticize it, make it compelling for film, and maybe even push it a little over the top."

Gibson has gun for family

Mel Gibson will go to any length to protect his girlfriend and new baby daughter - he keeps a gun "stowed away" at his home.

The Braveheart star and his partner Oksana Grigorieva welcomed little Lucia in October, and Gibson makes sure his family always feel safe at home.

The actor confesses he likes to keep a weapon close by - for fear of intruders breaking in and attacking him.

Gibson says, "I did have bodyguards for a little while but it's a drag. If your number's up, it's up. If I'm lying in bed and somebody comes into my room, I'll either wake up or I won't. And I'll either hit 'em with my big stick that I've got or my gun that I have stowed away... or they'll hit me."

Mel Gibson's Key to Fatherhood-After-50: Earplugs!

He's been a father seven times before, but this time Mel Gibson says it's different.

"You know, you're more mellow," the actor, 54, said on The Jay Leno Show Tuesday. "There's shortcuts, I guess. Earplugs, you know!"

When Leno asked, "Are you getting up at night, are you doing the whole deal?" Gibson replied, "I will be honest, I would say that her mother does the lion's share of that work, but you know, I support her."

There's been another change since his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva gave birth to a girl in November: Gibson gave up his 45-year-long smoking habit.

"It's been 18 days," the star of the new film Edge of Darkness says. "You know, it's not funny. I mean, serious, you bury some serious anger. Most people do it when they're five, they get their security blanket taken away. I did it at 54 and I'd been smoking 45 years. There's a lot of anger underneath it."

When asked why he was so determined to quit smoking now, Gibson said, "Well, apart from carrying the garbage up to the top of the driveway and wheezing... I have a three-month-old daughter and (someday) I want to play tennis with her."

Mel Gibson returns to screen after 71/2 years

The last time Mel Gibson starred in a movie, he was grappling with alien invaders and a misplaced faith in the sci-fi thriller "Signs."

That was seven and a half years ago. In the intervening time, Gibson became a cultural firebrand, directing the controversial 2004 box-office hit "The Passion of the Christ" and the violent 2006 action epic, "Apocalypto."

He also became a cultural pariah in July 2006 when, after being pulled over in Malibu for speeding and driving under the influence, Gibson made obscene, anti-Semitic remarks to the arresting officer after being handcuffed and put inside a police car.

Gibson largely disappeared after the incident, but returns to theaters Friday with a new movie, "Edge of Darkness," a thriller about a Boston police detective seeking revenge for the murder of his 24-year-old daughter. Receiving lukewarm reviews so far, the movie is similar in tone with past blood-drenched Gibson films such as "Ransom" and the "Lethal Weapon" franchise.

"It was time," Gibson, 54, tells The Associated Press. "I felt like getting back in the saddle. I felt like I was getting stale about seven or eight years ago. Stepped back, did some things I wanted to do. Did a few things I didn't want to do. And then time to come back."

"I don't think Mel eases his way back into anything," says "Edge of Darkness" producer Graham King. "Sure, we discussed very early on, Is this the right role for him to come back in?' I think it is, and hopefully moviegoers will agree."

Will they? box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian believes Gibson picked the right movie for his comeback.

"In revenge roles, Mel Gibson has few peers," Dergarabedian says. "If you've been away for awhile, it's smart to go back to what people are comfortable seeing you do."

Some, though, question whether Gibson's public standing hasn't been permanently damaged.

"I think that drunk-driving tirade confirmed a lot of people's suspicions about the kind of person Mel Gibson is," says Matthew Traub, managing director at Dan Klores Communications.

Traub, who specializes in crisis management public relations, believes people are willing to forgive celebrities for substance abuse or sexual indiscretion but draw the line at bigotry.

Publicist Michael Levine, whose agency has represented Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson among others, agrees.

"I think he's done," Levine says of Gibson's career prospects. "He'll work, he'll exist, but I think he's seared his obit for life."

Gibson defiantly rejects the notion that he's damaged goods.

"It's 30 years ago that I lost my own personal anonymity," Gibson told the AP. "And it's 30 years ago that the public humiliation began. And sometimes it reaches a global level. And what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And I'm telling you right now, I'm one strong motherf----- because I'm right back at you."

Gibson also insisted his past notoriety will not affect his ability to work with Hollywood studios in the future.

"What scandal?" he says. "That's mostly newspaper hype, OK?! I can get in with the studio, work with them, or work independently as I wish. And I'll go on as I always have."

Gibson has been tentatively making the rounds to promote his new movie. He attended the Golden Globes on Jan. 17 and good naturedly played along when host Ricky Gervais brought a pint of beer on stage and jokingly introduced Gibson, saying, "Honestly, I like a drink as much as the next man — unless the next man is Mel Gibson."

He was also seen cheerfully working the phone bank at last week's all-star "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon.

But there have been missteps, too. A brief TV interview with KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin turned tense when Rubin told Gibson: "Some people will welcome you back, some people will say you should never come back."

Gibson, defensive, leaned forward and asked, "Why?" Rubin replied: "Because of what happened before." Gibson: "What happened before?" Rubin: "The remarks that were attributed to you." Gibson: "The remarks that were attributed to me that I didn't necessarily make."

After the interview aired, Rubin questioned whether Gibson was ever truly sorry for the anti-Semitic remarks he made in 2006, particularly when he now contests the comments for which he widely apologized in the aftermath of his arrest.

While some may question Gibson's remorse, there's no doubting that people are still happy to make movies with him. Gibson just completed filming the offbeat comedy, "The Beaver," directed by longtime friend Jodie Foster, who plays Gibson's wife in the movie.

He has written a prison drama, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" and will star in that movie later this year.

And he plans to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in a Viking epic that will employ Old Norse dialogue, a movie Gibson says will "put the V in Viking."

If that sounds a little out there, that's one reason why many are eager to welcome Gibson back in the fold.

"As a Jew, I have to say Mel Gibson's my favorite anti-Semite," says veteran film reporter Lewis Beale. "He's an incredibly talented guy both behind and in front of the camera."

Adds film historian David Thomson: "Gibson's not a tidy person. There's an authenticity to the unhinged characters he plays that sets him apart. Whether you like him or not, there's a daring there that makes him compelling."

Review: Mel Gibson returns in `Edge of Darkness'

It's been seven years since his last film, but Mel Gibson is still playing martyr.

One might fairly call Gibson "The Crusader," and not just because of his widely known religious views or because he directed "The Passion of the Christ."

For much of his career, Gibson has played both reluctant and enthusiastic heroes righteously battling corruption ("Lethal Weapon"), oppression ("The Patriot," "Braveheart"), injustice ("Payback," "Ransom") and disinformation ("Conspiracy Theory").

In "Edge of Darkness," he's up against a little of each. But will moviegoers forgive Gibson (of drunk driving and anti-Semitic remarks) to watch him being sacrificed for the sins of others?

Another A-list star seeking to rehabilitate himself, Tom Cruise, looked to re-establish his star-status by donning an eye-patch and a Nazi uniform. Gibson tries just as fearsome a risk: a Boston accent.

He is Thomas Craven, a humble Boston police detective and single father to a 24-year-old daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic). When Emma comes home for a visit, she's abruptly and mysteriously shot and killed.

Grief-stricken, he coldly sets out like a discharged bullet to find the killer, a journey that leads him into a complex web of corporate and political cover-up.

Emma had been working as a researcher at Northmoor, a private energy company run with government assistance that may be secretly involved with nuclear weapons. Most everything, Craven finds, is "classified."

As he delves deeper, Craven meets the villains hidden behind an elaborate PR-created artifice — like Northmoor CEO Jack Bennett (a believable, slick Danny Huston). The hidden corruption may reach as far as Republican Sen. Jim Pine (Damian Young). (Yes, more shocking, unexpected things from Massachusetts senators.)

The dependably excellent Ray Winstone plays Darius Jedburgh, who's a little like George Clooney's "fixer" in "Michael Clayton." He's more of an obscurer, though: His job is to make sure people never connect "A to B" — that the truth remains too shrouded in lies for police, reporters and the public to decipher.

In a complex modern world with seemingly less accountability all the time, Winstone's weary, philosophical Jedburgh strikes a chord.

"Edge of Darkness" is directed by Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale," "Mask of Zorro") who, interestingly enough, is remaking the film from an award-winning six-hour BBC miniseries he directed 25 years ago.

Campbell is working from a screenplay adapted from that series by two seasoned scribes: William Monohan ("The Departed," another remake transplanted to Boston) and Andrew Bovell (who brought similar, moody twist-turning to 2001's underrated "Lantana").

Now 54, Gibson is grayer and grimmer. The part of Craven leaves little room for humor, but the wildness and fire that once exploded unpredictably from Gibson is much dimmed after several hard years for the actor.

That may be more troublesome for future, brighter films, but Gibson fits well in "Edge of Darkness." Hellbent in a beige raincoat, he attacks with little self-regard. The rules are rigged, so he breaks them.

There's undeniable catharsis — albeit an ugly, somewhat unsettling catharsis — in "Edge of Darkness." And there's value to films — B-movies like Mark Wahlberg's "Shooter" or more manicured films like Clint Eastwood's "Changeling" — that inspire resistance in the face of well-heeled subterfuge.

Some might reasonably swear off films with Gibson, but there aren't a lot of actors making movies that try to bring urgent, contemporary rage to popcorn movies.

Perhaps, though, crusades needn't always be a bloodbath.

"Edge of Darkness," a Warner Bros. release, is rated R for strong bloody violence and language. Running time: 117 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

Gibson quit acting after 'Signs'

Mel Gibson temporarily quit acting after starring in Signs - because he felt like a "ham-fisted dinosaur" on the set of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 movie.

The movie star has spent eight years refusing to step in front in front of the camera because he had such an unpleasant experience making Signs.

Gibson tells the Los Angeles Times that Shyamalan made him realize he needed to take a break to hone his craft.

He explains, "I felt ham-fisted. He (Shyamalan) told me I was just doing too much. I looked around... and I was the oldest guy on the set and I felt like the least sophisticated. I decided I needed to rethink everything.

"I got into this... because I wanted to be good. I walked away because I don't know that I was bringing much new to anything.

"Another seven or eight years of living informs the choices one makes."

Mel Gibson Really Loves Tiger. No, More Than That

(Watch) If there's one guy you want on your side during a personal—and, let's be honest, couldn't-be-more-public—crisis, it's Mel Gibson. Um, right?

Well, Tiger Woods' cup surely runneth over, because for the second time in as many weeks, the best punchline of awards season has seen fit to run to the golfer's aid.

And to hear Gibson tell it, theirs is a bromance for the ages. Funny, all that fuss about the mistresses, no one realized there was a mister waiting in the wings...

"I feel bad for the guy, I mean, they're beating the hell out of him," Gibson told Good Morning America this morning. "So, you know, I love the guy. He's full of flaws, like all the rest of us. And he's getting a rough time."

As for how he can reconcile his so far unrequited guy love with the sex-rehabbing, mistress-collecting athlete's extramarital behavior? Easy: He's human, sugar tits man.

"Ask any human being walking on the planet, 'Have you ever done anything that you're not proud of?' And I think most people will say, 'Yes. I've done a few things I'm not too proud of.'"

Anyone in particular springing to mind there, Mel?

Still, luckily we have Gibson to put this whole scandal into perspective for us:

"Geez, I want to watch him play golf. I want to see him swing a club, man."

Our bad, Mel. Why didn't you say?

Mel Gibson still has the "Edge"

Taking on his first lead role since 2002's "Signs," Mel Gibson returns to form in "Edge of Darkness" as an agonized homicide detective determined to avenge the murder of his only daughter, uncovering corporate corruption and political conspiracy in the process.

If the subject matter seems familiar, it's likely because director Martin Campbell has returned to the scene of his highly regarded 1985 British miniseries of the same name, to largely explosive effect.

Whether the performance will deliver Gibson box office redemption in the wake of his well-known personal issues will have more to do with audience response to the violent film's dark subject matter. But at this juncture, the choice of vehicle would seen to be a smarter fit than, say, a frothy romantic comedy. The Warner Bros. release opens Friday.

Relocating from the original Yorkshire to Boston, the film's focus remains essentially the same, centering on Gibson's Thomas Craven, a career cop whose adult daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), is gunned down on the front steps of his home. Driven by grief and guilt, believing that he was the intended target, Craven stops at nothing to track down her killer, but along the way he uncovers disturbing truths about her job at a top security-research compound with shadowy ties to the government.

Condensing a six-hour TV serial and turning it into a contemporary two-hour feature can be a tricky bit of business, as the makers of last year's "State of Play" discovered. Screenwriters William Monahan ("The Departed") and Andrew Bovell ("Lantana") come close to pulling it off.

Although it has retained much of its grit and intrigue, bringing the original Troy Kennedy Martin script up to speed from its original mid-'80s nuclear-arms race context is another matter. Their attempts to update the political agenda result in a scenario that comes off a tad far-fetched where its villains are concerned.

But in between the two "Edge of Darkness" assignments, director Campbell did a couple of Bond pictures -- most notably "Casino Royale" -- and that raw, sinewy energy comes very much into play here.

He also has the ideal protagonist in Gibson's equally raw portrayal of a man with nothing left to lose, though his startlingly craggy appearance admittedly requires a few minutes of adjustment. Also sturdy are the supporting players, particularly Ray Winstone as a quietly threatening government op with a license to clean up potential messes and Danny Huston as a nefarious corporate head honcho.

Technical assist is first class all the way, from Phil Meheux's evocatively murky cinematography to Stuart Baird's cut-to-the-chase editing and Howard Shore's edgy score.

Gibson makes long-awaited return

Mel Gibson has quit smoking.

He talks about it as if it’s his last vice, which suggests — though nobody asks him directly — that he’s on the wagon too.

That didn’t stop Ricky Gervais from introducing him at last week’s Golden Globes with, “Don’t get me wrong, I drink as much as the next man. Unless that man is ... Mel Gibson.” (Nonplussed, Mel did about a two-second stagger at the presenter podium to play along.)

But the reality? “There are no more fun things left,” Gibson said of his giving up the butts, at a news conference for his new movie Edge of Darkness, which opens nationally in theatres on Friday.

“But that’s dying, isn’t it? I mean, you die in stages, right? You let things go in pieces.”

The words sound mordant, but anybody who has met Mel Gibson knows he has a fast speed and a slow speed. And Manic Mel was on parade at the press event launching Edge of Darkness, his first starring role in seven years (since Signs). He talked a mile a minute, made dumb jokes (“Grassy-ass,” he said to a hotel employee who brought him water), as the press stayed mostly away from his personal life.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Signs: Such as the controversy over his movie The Passion of the Christ, an anti-Semitic outburst during a DUI arrest, the end of his marriage and his taking up with Russian model Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he recently had a daughter.

So you might chalk his ebullience up to the enervating experience of being a new dad. Or it just might be some kind of mood bounce from the smoking thing.

“I’m on Day 9 now so it’s over,” he says. “The first three days, I was like an axe murderer. Day 4, I’d come at you with a bat. Day 5, I was dangerous with a lawnmower. It is a hellish habit to break, your neurons are involved. My mother smoked when I was in the womb. I think so anyway, (because) I first had one when I was nine. I felt like, ‘Yes, oh God, I missed this.’ And 45 years later, every single artistic decision I’ve ever made has been done with a cigarette. And not to have that is pretty hectic.”

He clearly missed acting too. And that is a habit that’s not officially frowned upon.

In fact, though people once made jokes about Mel and Michael Richards working together, the erstwhile Kramer has not pulled in $2 billion worth of box office in his career as a forgiveness incentive. Gibson has, and his return to the screen was more or less inevitable (he has another movie in the can now, one about to shoot in March and a couple more in serious development — see the accompanying story).

“If it wasn’t this, it would have been something else,” he says of Edge of Darkness.

But it was a canny decision. Edge of Darkness is a remake of an acclaimed ’80s British mini-series, about a father whose investigation of his daughter’s death leads him into geopolitical intrigue, coverups and nuclear agenda, all under the cloud of the Cold War.

The remake is helmed by the original director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), and transplants the plot to a War on Terror context (still nuclear), with Gibson as a Boston cop who goes rogue after his daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) is murdered on his front steps.

It evokes some of Gibson’s earlier engine-of-vengeance movies, such as Payback and Ransom, with estimable co-stars including Ray Winstone (as a mysterious CIA-like operative) and Danny Huston as the owner of a nuclear plant where Emma worked.

“I walked away from (acting) after Signs because I just felt it was a bit stale, and it wasn’t ringing my bells,” he says. “That’s why I focused on directing and writing and producing and all that other stuff.

“Now I got the acting bug back, because I decided maybe after all these years I do have something to offer again. And it coincided with a very good piece of material that’s a compelling story with good elements attached, and I dug it.”

He admits he was a little rusty. “I remember Martin had to tell me to turn it down a couple of times, because you forget about levels and stuff. But after that it was pretty natural. You don’t do something for 30 years and forget it.”

The fight scenes and gun play were another matter.

“I ordered a chiropractor for the day after (each action scene), because I knew I would wake up feeling like roadkill, and I did. That guy (you’re fighting) is 25, and he’s taking it easy on you. Yeah, that’s not a pleasant experience. You don’t pop back the way you used to. But as long as it looks good.

“I watched the original back in the ’80s avidly. It was some of the best drama I’ve ever seen. British television at the time was great. But I made a point to not watch it this time around, because I wanted my performance to be truthful.”

It was an approach shared, interestingly enough, by Campbell.

“He didn’t watch the series and neither did I. I simply forgot the series, treated it as a new movie. I think that was the only way to go about it.”

And although the series is remembered primarily as a political thriller, Campbell disagrees with that interpretation. “I think it’s much more about loss, it’s about grief and retribution. It’s all of those things. I think the political story is one of the least interesting of the elements in the film.”

As for Gibson, he sums up his successes and failures, personal and professional, with an almost resigned acceptance.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and tougher. And life’s experiences, whether they be pleasant or unpleasant, torturous or excruciatingly wonderful and blissful, season you somehow, and you learn from them.

“Isn’t that what it’s about? All I’m trying to do now is put some information on a chip that I can leave for my progeny. And maybe they can do a better job than I can in this crazy, spinning piece of dirt.”

Yes, Mel Gibson is back. You’ll be seeing a lot more of him now that his unofficial seven-year “retirement” from acting has ended. After Edge of Darkness, you can look forward to:

THE BEAVER: Already wrapped, directed by Jodie Foster. “Well, as the title suggests...” Gibson begins. He then pretends to slap himself and says, “Don’t go there. It’s about a man who’s clinically depressed and circumstances somehow or other dictate that he’s got a ratty beaver puppet on his arm. He can’t even kill himself properly. But he manages to kind of save himself and his family and everything by expressing himself through this hand puppet. “It’s pretty bizarre, but she’s a ballsy girl,” Gibson says of his erstwhile Maverick co-star Foster.

UNTITLED VIKING MOVIE WITH (POSSIBLY) LEO DICAPRIO: “Yeah!” says Gibson of the project he’s working out with director Martin Campbell. “The very first thought I ever had about being a filmmaker was when I was 16 and I wanted to make a Viking movie ... a romantic pipe dream.” And the man who gave us Aramaic dialogue in The Passion of the Christ and Mayan dialogue in Apocalypto says, “It’s going to be in English, but the English that would have been spoken back in the 9th Century, and old Norse. I’m going to give you real, man. “I want a Viking to scare you. I want to see somebody I’ve never seen before speaking low, guttural German that scares the living s--- out of you. “Leo would be amazing,” he says of his prospective co-star. “He’s a great actor, this kid.”

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION: “That’ll happen in March. It’s something I wrote with the first and second (assistant director) on Apocalypto (Adrian Grunberg, who’ll be directing, and Stacy Perskie). It’s this story about a gringo in a Mexican prison.”

Mel Gibson eyeing Viking epic

After tackling the Bible, ancient Mayans and medieval Scotland, Oscar-winner Mel Gibson says he is looking forward to another historical epic about the reign of Vikings.

The 54-year-old actor-director, who returns to cinemas this month for his first major role in eight years with the action-thriller "Edge of Darkness," said making a movie about the Norse warriors had been a childhood dream.

"The very first idea that I ever had about making a film, my first thought ever about being a filmmaker was when I was 16-years-old, and I wanted to make a Viking movie," Gibson told journalists at a press event.

Gibson, who shot the 2004 "The Passion of the Christ" in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew before using Mayan dialect for 2006's "Apocalypto", said his untitled Viking project would probably be made in English and Old Norse.

"I think it's going to be in English, an English that would've been spoken back then and Old Norse," Gibson said. "I'm going to give it to you real, man. "I want a Viking to scare you. I don't want a Viking to say, in a heavy Brooklyn accent, 'I'm going to die with this sword in my hand.' I don't want to hear that. It just pulls the rug out from under you.

"I want to see somebody who I've never seen before speaking low, guttural German who scares the living s(expletive) out of you, coming up to my house. What is that like? What would that have been like?"

Gibson's 1995 epic "Braveheart" about William Wallace's rebellion against English rule, won five Oscars including best picture and best director.

According to reports, Gibson's Viking film will star Leonardo DiCaprio and is being put together by Oscar-winning producer Graham King.

Mel Gibson interview turns nasty

Mel Gibson was left fuming during a recent U.S. TV interview - after a Jewish reporter quizzed him over his alleged drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006.

The Lethal Weapon actor is back in front of the cameras to promote new crime thriller, Edge Of Darkness, and was being interviewed by broadcaster Sam Rubin for Los Angeles' KTLA 5.

After starting out pleasantly, the interview turned nasty when Rubin - a Jew - asked the star about the time he reportedly made a series of unpleasant remarks to the Jewish cop who arrested him for drink driving over three years ago.

Rubin asked the actor, "Some people will welcome you back, some people will say you should never come back."

A seemingly offended Gibson sat forward and angrily asked, "Why?", before Rubin answered, "Because of what happened before. The remarks that were attributed to you."

Gibson returned, "The remarks that were attributed to me. I didn't necessarily make those comments," before asking, "I gather you have a dog in this fight? Do you have a dog in this fight? Or are you impartial?"

The interview then continued after Rubin changed the direction of his questions.

Gibson publicly apologized following the incident and the arrest was expunged from his record last year, after he served three years probation. He also quit drinking.

Gibson recalls dash to save daughter

Mel Gibson has come clean about another past infraction - he once inadvertently attacked an old lady and an injured man in an Australian drugstore.

The actor admits he "wrecked the place" in Coogee, near Sydney as he dashed from the pay kiosk to the door in an effort to stop his 21-month-old daughter walking into traffic outside.

The incident took place 27 years ago, but Gibson still shudders as he recalls the moment he realized just how far he'd go to protect his kids.

The Braveheart star tells WENN, "I went to the pharmacy to buy some formula for my newly-born twins; they're now 27. I brought my 21-month-old to the pharmacy with me because my wife was at home occupied with twins.

"We had a nurse from New Zealand at the time who used to help out during the day. We're in the pharmacy and I'm buying formula and I take my eyes off the child for a second and the next thing I look up and I see my child standing about 25 yards away on the edge of a curb and the nurse is at a bus stop on the other side with traffic blowing in front of her.

"My daughter is trying to go over to her and say 'Hi.' I'm thinking, 'OK, 25 yards and not much time to get the kid.'

"So, needless to say, there was a man with broken ribs and an old lady with a footprint on her face because I completely wrecked the place to get to the kid. I broke everything and ran through things and lifted things and threw things out of the way to pluck her out before she got struck by a car.

"I had to apologize to all those people afterwards and they didn't understand. They get very angry, of course, because I knocked an old lady over."

Golden Globes: Best Line

Ricky Gervais delivers his best line of the night yet: with beer in hand, he returns the podium and says he hopes he hasn't offended anyone so far. "It's not my fault. I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless," he continues, "the next man is Mel Gibson" -- a reference to the Australian actor's notorious 2006 drink drive arrest.

Gibson enters, open-mouthed, pointing a finger at the retreating Gervais. He mock slurs an "all right" before introducing one of the night's biggest honours that has the pundits divided: best director.

Can Mel Gibson still draw a crowd?

Admit it: You experienced a jolt upon seeing that first billboard for "Edge of Darkness" right after New Year's.

There was that name -- Mel Gibson -- and then the man himself, grim-set face and trenchcoated torso coming toward you in an advertisement for a major studio release. The pitch and the persona were familiar, but it still felt odd, like a good friend you had a falling-out with awhile back who suddenly reappears on your Facebook wall. How do you respond?

Warner Bros. is betting that audiences will respond with a cheery "Welcome back!" and solid opening-weekend attendance when "Darkness" opens January 29.

Gibson is returning to the big screen after a seven-year absence -- a century in movie-star years -- and studio marketing is aimed squarely at his old fan base. In TV and print ads, it's Gibson alone -- purposeful, vengeful, unstoppable -- a good guy who will bloody the guilty with the righteous weapons of justice.

But how likely is renewed success for the embattled action star? Other than a brief appearance in September on NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" to confirm that his Russian girlfriend was pregnant, Gibson's only public exposure during the past few years has been in the tabloids.

Take away the self-destructive cocktail of Moonshadows, and the anti-Semitic taunts he publicly lobbed in July 2006, and you're still looking at a 54-year-old actor who hasn't been onscreen for the better part of a decade. (He most recently appeared in October 2003 in a heavily disguised supporting role when "The Singing Detective" opened.) That would be a challenge for anyone.

It's easy to forget that for 15 years, Gibson had one of the most consistently successful careers of any modern movie star. From 1987-2002, he starred in 10 movies that grossed more than $100 million apiece domestically, putting him in the league of Will, Jim, Julia, Harrison, Eddie and the two Toms. Along the way, his peers gave him best director and best picture Oscars for "Braveheart" -- distinctions none of the others has.

When Gibson walked away to focus on his directing career, he sparked controversy and collected hundreds of millions of dollars with his self-financed foreign-language epic "The Passion of the Christ." Whatever people thought of his beliefs, he was an artistic force to be reckoned with.

But by the end of summer 2006, Gibson suddenly was toxic after that drunken, vocal run-in with sheriffs in Malibu. Despite immediate apologies and the beginning of a self-proclaimed "journey through recovery," things unraveled. ABC quickly dropped plans for a Gibson-produced Holocaust-themed miniseries; his wife and mother of their seven children separated from him (they divorced last year); and several prominent industry figures, most notably Sony chief Amy Pascal and Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, publicly encouraged an industry boycott.

A few months later, Gibson appeared on a few talk shows to promote his latest super-violent writing-directing effort, "Apocalypto," which opened that December to middling box office, raking in $51 million domestically.

Despite the disapprobation of certain Hollywood types, the effect of Gibson's Jew-baiting tirade and other shenanigans on average moviegoers is likely much less significant. Middle America, which helped push "Christ" to a $370 million domestic cume, likely has shrugged off lingering concerns about his bad behavior or the end of his marriage -- if they noted it at all. After all, isn't that what Hollywood celebrities do?

Which means those in the industry who might find Gibson's beliefs and/or behavior repugnant recognize he likely still can make them money with a loyal, if older, fan base.

One industry player noted that his middle-aged, born-again-Christian mother-in-law saw a TV trailer for "Darkness" and said: "I can't wait. I love Mel, and all my friends at the church love Mel."

Still, even with a coterie of committed followers, the real marketing challenge might be more Gibson's age than his antics.

"He's got as good a chance to be as successful as any older actor," one studio producer says. "With the same disadvantages. You look at the Pacinos and Hoffmans and Stallones and Willises -- not a lot of them are movie stars right now. But the guy has as good a chance as anyone, if the movie works, to still be a star."

While Gibson likely has no pressing need to step back in front of the camera, he perhaps recognizes that career longevity requires a campaign to re-humanize himself, to remind audiences of his talent and his familiarity.

Hollywood has obliged. The actor has, according to folks in his camp, been peppered with offers during the past two years: Roles in "The Book of Eli" (Warners), "The A-Team" (Fox), "Jonah Hex" (Warners), "The Low Dweller" (Relativity), "The 28th Amendment" (Warners), "Dan Mintner: Badass for Hire" (New Line), "By Any Means Necessary" (Paramount) and "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (Overture) were thrown in his path.

Among the major studios, Sony remains off the table -- for both parties -- but Warners, with which Gibson has a long working relationship (think "Lethal Weapon"), seems happy to produce and market a Mel Gibson movie.

Moving forward, Gibson's work agenda is packed. He's producing and starring in "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," an action drama that takes place in a Mexican prison, from a script he co-wrote. That screenplay is being rewritten in advance of the film's March production start.

William Monahan, who co-wrote "Darkness," is writing a Viking project for Gibson to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio to star in. And Gibson has told writer-director Shane Black that he'll star in "Cold Warrior" for him at Universal should the studio want to make a deal with the actor.

Shrewdly, Gibson is stepping back out to meet audiences in "Darkness," a relatively low-risk genre potboiler that's right in his wheelhouse. (He even did a version of it 14 years ago in "Ransom.") Another test will come with Summit Entertainment's "The Beaver," a low-budget project in which he'll play a depressed husband and father who begins communicating to, and through, a beaver puppet he wears on his hand.

He was far from an obvious choice to play a -- possibly crazy -- guy who requires a lot of audience sympathy. But at the suggestion of director Jodie Foster, a friend of Gibson's from back in the "Maverick" days, producer Anonymous Content eventually embraced the off-kilter casting choice.

"I thought it was completely unrealistic because this is really an art movie and pretty quirky," Anonymous Content's Steve Golin says. "Then the light bulb went off. With all the things that he's been through personally, it made a lot of sense. I definitely think that there were some parallels, and he thought that also. It's basically about a guy who's at his wit's end: He's got a difficult relationship with his family and his children, he's suffering from depression, and he's lost his way."

Such verisimilitude could be therapeutic and humanizing -- or an off-putting recipe for disaster. When we last saw Gibson the movie star, in M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs," he was a protective single father and fallen priest who regained faith after surviving a menacing brush with an alien. Now, after surviving a menacing brush with his inner demons, he needs to conjure similar magic at the box office.

Gibson rep defends film shoot

A representative for Mel Gibson has dismissed allegations the Hollywood star asked Mexican officials to clear a prison to make way for his latest film project, insisting it was a government decision to move inmates.

The Braveheart actor wrote the screenplay for new movie How I Spent My Summer Vacation, which he wants to shoot at the Ignacio Allende prison in the eastern coastal city of Veracruz.

The state governor, Fidel Herrera Beltran, agreed to accommodate Gibson and began relocating prisoners to make room for the actor/director's film crew.

But the move sparked outrage among prisoners' relatives, leading to a string of protests against the decision to transfer convicts to other facilities.

Demonstrations outside the Veracruz prison started up again this week, as officials continued to ship inmates away from the jail - prompting a publicist for Gibson to speak out over the controversy.

Gibson's rep, Alan Nierob, tells, "No one with production asked for this transfer. What they do and how they do it is their business, it doesn't involve my client at all."

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, about a career criminal who is thrown into a Mexican prison for trafficking drugs, will star Gibson and is set for a 2011 release.

Highlights of Hollywood's 2010 movie lineup

Highlights of Hollywood's 2010 film slate. Some films open in limited release, and release dates are subject to change:

Winter and spring:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's take on the Lewis Carroll adventures of a girl who goes through the looking glass.

THE BACK-UP PLAN: A woman (Jennifer Lopez) meets the right guy — just after she gets pregnant through artificial insemination.

THE BOOK OF ELI: Denzel Washington whups some butt as a prophet protecting a critical text in post-apocalyptic America.

THE BOUNTY HUNTER: Jennifer Aniston is a bail-jumping reporter pursued by her bounty-hunter ex-hubby (Gerard Butler).

CLASH OF THE TITANS: Ancient Greek hero Perseus (Sam Worthington) takes on Hades, lord of the underworld. With Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes.

COP OUT: A stolen baseball card sets two detectives (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) on the path of a memorabilia-obsessed mobster.

CREATION: Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) copes with grief over a lost daughter as he struggles with his theory of evolution. With Jennifer Connelly.

DATE NIGHT: A weekly night out turns into a wild ride for a suburban couple (Steve Carell and Tina Fey) whose romance has become routine.

DEAR JOHN: A soldier (Channing Tatum) and a woman (Amanda Seyfried) carry out a seven-year romance from a distance while he's on assignment.

DEATH AT A FUNERAL: Crazy things happen at a family patriarch's funeral. With Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover.

DISTRICT B13: ULTIMATUM: Martial-arts heroes return to try to quell unrest in a walled crime ghetto in this follow up to the French thriller.,P>EDGE OF DARKNESS: Mel Gibson is a homicide cop whose daughter's murder takes him into a dark world of corporate and government conspiracy.

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES: A father (Brendan Fraser) teams with a maverick doctor (Harrison Ford) to find a cure for his kids' fatal illness. With Keri Russell.

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE: A trigger-happy spy (John Travolta) and his inexperienced partner (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) try to crack a crime gang.

FURRY VENGEANCE: Animals fight back against the housing developer (Brendan Fraser) whose project threatens their habitat.

GREENBERG: A man (Ben Stiller) searching for meaning finds potential romance while house-sitting for his brother.

GREEN ZONE: Matt Damon goes searching for weapons of mass destruction in a thriller set in Iraq as the war there heats up in 2003.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: The world of the Vikings gets a makeover in this animated story of a misfit teen and his dragon.

I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS: A con man (Jim Carrey) finds his soul mate (Ewan McGregor) while doing prison time.

KICK-ASS: A youth with no superpowers dons a costume to fight crime as a superhero. With Nicolas Cage.

THE LAST SONG: Miley Cyrus is a teen whose estranged father (Greg Kinnear) tries to reconnect with her through music.

LEGION: The archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) and a group of strangers are humanity's last hope for salvation.

THE LOSERS: A Special Forces team seeks revenge after its members are betrayed and presumed dead on a mission. With Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

MACGRUBER: The "Saturday Night Live" bit about a hapless special-ops man (Will Forte) gets big-screen treatment. With Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe, Kristen Wiig.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley) is back to terrorize people in their dreams in an update of the 1980s slasher franchise.

PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF: A teen demigod is caught up in a potential war among the gods of Olympus, alive and well in modern times.

REMEMBER ME: "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson and "Lost" co-star Emilie de Ravin cope with romance amid adversity. With Pierce Brosnan.

REPO MEN: In a future where mechanical organs are repossessed for lack of payment, a former repo man (Jude Law) becomes the prey of his old partner (Forest Whitaker).

SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS: A compulsive gambler (Steve Buscemi) fights temptation while trying to change his life. With Sarah Silverman.

SEASON OF THE WITCH: A medieval knight (Nicolas Cage) is assigned to escort a peasant girl the church suspects of bringing on the Black Plague by witchcraft.

SHE'S OUT OF MY LEAGUE: An average guy (Jay Baruchel) scores big when a super-babe inexplicably falls for him.

SHUTTER ISLAND: Leonardo DiCaprio reunites with director Martin Scorsese in a tale set at a hospital for the criminally insane.

THE SPY NEXT DOOR: Jackie Chan balances his day job as a spy with baby-sitting his girlfriend's three kids.

TOOTH FAIRY: A mean-spirited hockey star (Dwayne Johnson) is sentenced to do time as a tooth fairy, with magic wings and wand. With Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews.

TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?: Filmmaker Perry co-stars with Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba and other cast mates for this relationship sequel.

VALENTINE'S DAY: A superstar cast copes with the trials of love. With Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher.

WALL STREET 2: Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas bring corporate raider Gordon Gekko out of mothballs in a tale of today's financial fiasco. With Shia LaBeouf.

WHEN IN ROME: Passions are magically aroused when a tourist retrieves coins tossed in a fountain of love. With Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Danny DeVito.

THE WOLFMAN: Benicio Del Toro is a man who finds the curse of the werewolf haunting his family when he returns to his ancestral home.___

Summer season:

THE A-TEAM: The TV action series goes big-screen as former Special Forces troops set out to clear their names. With Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper.

CATS & DOGS: REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE: Cats and dogs unite to take on a nutty feline bent on global domination. With Christina Applegate.

DESPICABLE ME: Steve Carell leads the voice cast in an animated tale of a villain whose plot to steal the moon is sidelined by three orphan girls.

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS: A young exec (Paul Rudd) finds the perfect buffoon (Steve Carell) for his boss' monthly "dinner for idiots."

EAT PRAY LOVE: Julia Roberts plays a divorced woman on a worldwide journey to find meaning in her life. With James Franco, Javier Bardem.

THE EXPENDABLES: Sylvester Stallone directs and stars in a thriller about mercenaries betrayed on a mission. With Jet Li, Jason Statham.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK: A record company intern (Jonah Hill) has to escort an unruly rock legend to the first concert of his comeback tour.

GROWN UPS: Childhood pals (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider and David Spade) reunite as adults. With Salma Hayek, Maria Bello.

INCEPTION: Leonardo DiCaprio stars in a science-fiction thriller from director Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight").

IRON MAN 2: Robert Downey Jr. slips back into his metal suit to face new foes. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke.

JONAH HEX: A disfigured bounty hunter (Josh Brolin) battles a villain aiming to unleash hell on Earth. With Megan Fox, John Malkovich.

THE KARATE KID: Jackie Chan imparts kung fu wisdom to a Detroit youth (Jaden Smith) uprooted by his family's move to China in an update of the 1980s hit.

KILLERS: An ex-assassin (Ashton Kutcher) and his wife (Katherine Heigl) go on the run after he's targeted for a hit in this action comedy.

KNIGHT AND DAY: Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are a fugitive couple on a jet-setting adventure around the globe.

THE LAST AIRBENDER: M. Night Shyamalan adapts the animated TV show about a young savior with the power to end warfare among four nations with mystical powers.

LETTERS TO JULIET: An old letter to the doomed heroine of "Romeo and Juliet" sparks romance for two women (Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave).

THE LOTTERY TICKET: A ghetto dweller (Bow Wow) fends off greedy neighbors after he wins $370 million in the lottery. With Ice Cube.

MARMADUKE: Owen Wilson provides the voice of the Great Dane in a family comedy based on the canine comic strip.

MEET THE PARENTS 3: Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro find new ways to test their in-law relationship in the "Meet the Fockers" follow up.

THE OTHER GUYS: A detective more interested in paperwork and a street-tough cop (Mark Wahlberg) are partnered up. With Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson.

PREDATORS: Hardcore human killers become prey for alien hunters in a new take on the sci-fi franchise. With Adrien Brody, Topher Grace.

PRIEST: A renegade priest (Paul Bettany) tracks a gang of vampires that have abducted his niece.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME: The video-game adaptation stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a fugitive prince who finds a dagger of enormous power.

RAMONA AND BEEZUS: The pesky young heroine of Beverly Cleary's best sellers comes to life in an adaptation of the children's books.

ROBIN HOOD: Russell Crowe reunites with director Ridley Scott for a fresh take on the 13th-century soldier turned folk hero. With Cate Blanchett.

SALT: Angelina Jolie is a CIA operative on the lam after she's accused of spying for Russia. With Liev Schreiber.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD: To win his dream woman, a slacker musician (Michael Cera) must vanquish her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

SEX AND THE CITY 2: Sarah Jessica Parker and her Manhattan mates return for more fashionable urban romantic angst.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER: Mike Myers' ogre is hurled into an alternate reality where he and his true love never met. With Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas.

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE: An ancient wizard (Nicolas Cage) recruits a protege (Jay Baruchel) to battle an evil foe (Alfred Molina).

STEP UP 3-D: Street dancers and a college freshman square off in a competition against world-class hip-hop dancers.

TAKERS: A detective (Matt Dillon) pursues a gang of bank robbers (Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Tip "T.I." Harris, Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy).

TOY STORY 3: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and their plaything pals face abandonment after their kid grows up in this animated sequel.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE: Danger comes calling again for a teen (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire and werewolf suitors (Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner).


Fall and holiday season:

ALPHA AND OMEGA: Two wolves relocated halfway across the country try to return home. The animated tale features the voices of Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere.

THE AMERICAN: A hit man (George Clooney) finds romance and friendship in Italy while awaiting what he hopes will be his last assignment.

BURLESQUE: Christina Aguilera aims for stardom with a musical revue at an aging theater. With Cher, Stanley Tucci.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER: C.S. Lewis' young heroes land aboard an incredible ship as the fantasy series resumes.

DUE DATE: Robert Downey Jr. stars as a first-time dad who has to hitch a ride with an actor (Zach Galinianakis) to get home in time for his baby's birth.

FLIPPED: Rob Reiner directs a story of first love following a smitten girl and unwilling boy from grade school to junior high.

GOING THE DISTANCE: A couple (Drew Barrymore and Justin Long) struggle to make their bicoastal romance work.

THE GREEN HORNET: A rich party boy (Seth Rogen) turns to crime-fighting as the masked Hornet. With Cameron Diaz.

GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE: A young owl battles to save his kind from evil enemies in this animated family adventure.

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS: Jack Black does a modern take on the world-traveling hero who encounters a race of tiny people on his sojourn.

HEREAFTER: Paths cross for three people around the world who are touched by death. Clint Eastwood directs, Matt Damon stars.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS — PART 1: The young wizards (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint) aim to destroy the crux of evil Voldemort's power.

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT: Mismatched godparents (Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel) must team up as guardians for their orphaned goddaughter.

LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS: Romance develops between a free spirit (Anne Hathaway) and a dauntless Viagra salesman (Jake Gyllenhaal).

MEGAMIND: A supervillain flirts with virtue after his superhero opponent turns to the dark side in an animated tale featuring the voices of Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell.

MORNING GLORY: A TV morning-show producer (Rachel McAdams) copes with a clash between her tough newsman (Harrison Ford) and his new co-host (Diane Keaton).

RAPUNZEL: Mandy Moore provides the voice of the long-haired fairy-tale princess locked away in a tower in this animated musical.

RED DAWN: A group of youths forms a guerrilla army to fight back against military forces that have invaded America.

SAW VII: The horror franchise returns for part seven in the diabolical games initiated by killer Jigsaw.

SECRETARIAT: A housewife (Diane Lane) and trainer (John Malkovich) team to raise the 1973 Triple Crown-winning racehorse.

THE TOWN: Ben Affleck directs and stars as a bank robber who falls into romance with his former hostage (Rebecca Hall).

TRON: LEGACY: Jeff Bridges reprises his 1982 character, whose son (Garrett Hedlund) is pulled into the digital world where his dad has disappeared.

UNSTOPPABLE: A railway engineer (Denzel Washington) and a conductor (Chris Pine) race to stop a runaway train carrying toxic cargo.

YOGI BEAR: The smarter-than-average bear of the TV cartoons comes to the big screen in a live-action and animation combo. With Dan Aykroyd.

YOU AGAIN: Rivalries are renewed after a woman (Kristen Bell) learns her brother's marrying her high school nemesis. With Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis.

YOUR HIGHNESS: A black sheep knight (Danny McBride), his perfect brother (James Franco) and a fierce warrior (Natalie Portman) embark on rescue mission.

ZOOKEEPER: A kindly zookeeper (Kevin James) gets romantic advice from the animals in his charge.

Mel Gibson: 'I Feel Sorry for Tiger Woods'

Mel Gibson, who endured one of the bigger Hollywood scandals of recent years, says the Tiger Woods affair has been blown way out of proportion – but that it wouldn't do the golfer any good to whine about that now.

"I feel sorry for Tiger Woods," the actor-filmmaker, 54, tells Britain's Daily Mail. "Why are we talking about this when we're sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan? … He's being used as a diversion, and it just drives me crazy."

Having said that, Gibson, who stars in the upcoming film Edge of Darkness, believes Woods has little to gain from complaining about the coverage of his alleged affairs.

"Nobody is without sin," he says. "You have to try to make amends if you can. You have to shut up and move on and not whine about it. And you have to deal with it like a man … You've just got to accept your own culpability."

Gibson suffered a major PR crisis of his own in 2006, when he was pulled over on suspicion of DUI in California, and reportedly made anti-Semitic comments during his arrest. He later apologized, pleaded no contest and received three years' probation.

In the new interview, Gibson says he's been sober now for 3½ years. "It's cool," he says. "But I put some time together before that – one time it was eight years, one time it was five years. I have to be vigilant about these things or it will creep back in."

He also takes responsibility for the failure of his marriage. He and wife Robyn separated in 2006 and were officially divorced in 2009, after seven children and 28 years of marriage.

"When all's said and done, I did a pretty good hatchet job on my marriage," Gibson says. "I'm to blame, if you're inclined to judge."

Gibson is now in a relationship with musician Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he has a baby girl.

Mexico transfers inmates for reported Gibson film

About 300 inmates have been transferred out of a prison in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz to make room for a film that Mel Gibson reportedly plans to make there.

Ignacio Allende prison director Gerardo Duran says the inmates were being bused to at least four other jails.

About 1,200 prisoners remain at the facility in the city of Veracruz.

About 60 inmates' relatives protested Saturday's transfer, saying they will have to travel farther to pay visits. They scuffled briefly with police.

Veracruz Gov. Fidel Herrera has said that part of the prison would be emptied for a Gibson film.

Gibson representatives have not responded to inquiries.

Gerard Butler, Sophia Loren, Mel Gibson to Present at Golden Globes

With less than two weeks until showtime, producers of the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards have announced three more presenters: Gerard Butler, Mel Gibson and Sophia Loren.

They join previously announced presenters Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Colin Farrell, Matthew Fox, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Mickey Rourke and Sam Worthington.

The awards are being hosted by Ricky Gervais, and will feature Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award to Martin Scorsese for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field."

"I'm most looking forward to sharing the stage with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese," Gervais said. "Who'd have thought it. The biggest heartthrob, greatest actor and best director in the world ... and those three, all in one place."

Watch the Golden Globes on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, live on NBC.

Gibson film plan provokes protest outside Mexico prison

Hundreds of relatives of prisoners in a Mexican jail have protested the expected transfer of inmates to make way for a film shoot with US-Australian actor and director Mel Gibson next year.

The Veracruz state governor, Fidel Herrera Beltran, said earlier this month that the Hollywood star would clear out the Allende prison for scenes for his second movie in Mexico, following the 2006 film Apocalypto.

Prisoners' relatives told AFP they had stopped a 24-hour protest outside the jail in eastern Mexico on Tuesday after the prison's director assured them he had received no orders to transfer the prisoners.

They began protesting after they said they saw soldiers taking photos and videos of the prison.

Moving the inmates to other facilities "would create serious financial problems for a lot of the families" in their visits to relatives, said David Estevez, a relation of one of the detainees.

The families said the prison director told them they would be informed if some or all of the more than 1,000 detainees were to be moved.

The Veracruz governor said on December 6 that the prisoners would be transferred to other facilities to make way for filming from January.

Gibson has already visited the Allende prison, and he donated one million dollars toward hurricane relief in the Gulf of Mexico region in 2005.

Gibson, DiCaprio Conquer Viking Genre

Mel Gibson will direct and Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an untitled period drama set in the world of Viking culture. William Monahan is writing the script.

Graham King will produce with Gibson and Tim Headington in a co-production between King’s GK Films and Gibson’s Icon Productions. Shooting is expected to begin fall, 2010, meaning that if everything falls into place, it would be the next directing effort for Gibson.

There is no distributor at the moment, but Gibson and King often make their films outside the studio system and secure distribution later.

The principals confirmed the project but would not divulge many details. DiCaprio, who has long been fascinated by Viking culture, will play one in a storyline that will be as unsparing as Gibson’s other period directing efforts “Braveheart,” “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto.”

The connective tissue is King.

The producer teamed with DiCaprio and Monahan in the Oscar-winning drama “The Departed,” and just worked with Gibson and Monahan in the Martin Campbell-directed drama “Edge of Darkness.” King also just produced Monahan’s directorial debut, “London Boulevard,” the Monahan-scripted adaptation of the Ken Bruen novel, with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley starring.

The Viking film will be DiCaprio’s first picture with Gibson.

“This will be an awe-inspiring story, created with some of the industry’s finest cinematic talent and I am just over the moon to be making this film with Mel, Leo and Bill,” King said in a statement after the principals confirmed the project to Daily Variety.

Aside from “London Boulevard,” King and his GK Films just completed “The Rum Diary” with Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart and the Emily Blunt-starrer “The Young Victoria,” latter of which is being released this month by Bob Berney’s Apparition.

DiCaprio will likely take a film before putting on the Viking horns. He just completed the Christopher Nolan-directed “Inception” for Warner Bros., and will next be seen in the Martin Scorsese-directed “Shutter Island,” which Paramount releases February 19. Gibson just completed the Jodie Foster-directed “The Beaver.”

Gibson and Monahan are repped by WME, DiCaprio by Rick Yorn and Jennifer Killoran.

Mexican governor: Gibson to make film in Veracruz

A Mexican governor says Mel Gibson will make a movie at a prison in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz next year.

Veracruz Gov. Fidel Herrera says part of the Ignacio Allende prison will be emptied in January "because a grand production will be filmed there with our friend, the actor and producer Mel Gibson."

Gibson visited the prison in April 2008.

Herrera gave no details Sunday on the film. Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, could not be reached for comment.

Gibson filmed his 2006 Mayan-language movie "Apocalypto" in Veracruz. The actor-director donated $1 million to replace storm-damaged homes in Veracruz and in neighboring Chiapas state earlier this year.

Mel Gibson Is on Diaper Duty

He may be a world-famous actor and an Oscar-winning director, but when it comes to his newborn daughter, Mel Gibson doesn't mind getting his hands dirty – and that includes changing diapers.

"Oh, absolutely! He's very hands-on," girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva tells Britain's Hello! magazine. "He has been very doting and nurturing."

The real surprise, Grigorieva, 39, says, it that baby Lucia Anne – named after her and Gibson's grandmothers – arrived a month early, forcing Gibson, 53, to jet back to L.A. from his New York movie set. Now the infant, who was 6 lbs. at birth, is gaining weight fast and on track to become a polyglot.

"I'm speaking Russian and English and singing lullabies in both," says Grigorieva. "She has been an inspiration already. I'm composing a children's song book."

Russia-born tycoon buys Mel Gibson UK cinema firm-paper

Russian-born tycoon Len Blavatnik has acquired a British cinema distribution business from Hollywood star Mel Gibson, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.

Blavatnik's Access Industries bought Icon Group, which owns rights to around 500 films including the Oscar-winning "Dances With Wolves", the newspaper reported without specifying the value of the deal.

Blavatnik previously bought 50 percent of Russian film production company Amedia for $45 million in 2005.

Access has bought "more than a controlling stake in Icon UK" from Gibson and partner Bruce Davey, the head of Access Industries business in the CIS, Alex Genin, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Mel Gibson's Baby News Hits Moscow

Mel Gibson's baby news is bringing joy halfway around the world. Contacted in Moscow, Lyudmilla Chernukha, the mother of Gibson's girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva – who delivered her daughter, Lucia, Friday in Los Angeles – tells PEOPLE, "I'm delighted!"

And a more than a little relieved. Chernukha admits the pregnancy was made difficult for her daughter, 39, a pianist and composer, by the intense interest of the media. "I'm very pleased for her because during her pregnancy she worried a lot because of all the bad press written about her. Lots and lots of lies," she says.

Grigorieva's pregnancy was announced six weeks after Gibson's wife of 30 years, Robyn Moore, then 53, filed for divorce last April. Gibson, 53, and Moore have seven children together.

"Her pregnancy was a hard one even though she had no [medical] problems with it," says Chernukha. "And, of course, Mel supported her and so did all her friends." Grigorieva – who also has a son, Alexander, 12, fathered by James Bond actor Timothy Dalton – tries to stay above the headlines, says her mother. "She doesn't make any statements or get involved with refuting what's said about her. She just tries to keep herself closed off from all the journalists."

Chernukha says she has spoken to her daughter since the birth and notes that the baby was two weeks early. (A friend of the couple tells PEOPLE that mother and child are both fine.)

The grandmother hopes her daughter and child will visit soon – and she may get her wish. While promoting her new album, Beautiful Heartache, in the U.K. earlier this year, Grigorieva told reporters of her plans to take Gibson and the baby back to her homeland next year. "Russians are very nostalgic," she said.

Confirmed: Mel Gibson's a Dad - for the Eighth Time

Mel Gibson became a father for the eighth time on Friday when his girlfriend, musician Oksana Grigorieva, gave birth to a baby girl, PEOPLE confirms.

"This will confirm that Oksana Grigorieva and Mel Gibson welcomed the arrival of a baby girl named Lucia on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at an undisclosed hospital in Los Angeles," says Gibson's rep, Alan Nierob, confirming earlier reports of the event. No further details were available.

"Everything is great! They couldn't be happier," a friend tells PEOPLE. "Everyone's healthy and thrilled. He loooves it!"

Gibson, 53, was at Grigorieva's side in Los Angeles until she and the baby went home from the hospital, then he flew to New York Sunday to resume shooting The Beaver, costarring Jodie Foster.

On Monday morning, an announcement of the birth was made on the set of the film in White Plains, N.Y. "Everyone sang '[For] He's a Jolly Good Fellow,' and he blushed," a member of the film crew told PEOPLE.

Gibson has seven children (six sons and a daughter) with his ex-wife Robyn, while Oksana, has a son, Alexander, with her former boyfriend, actor Timothy Dalton.

In April, Gibson's wife of 30 years, filed for divorce and later that month, he and Grigeorieva made their first public appearance together as a couple.

Their daughter's birth was first reported by Radar Online.

Mel Gibson's Girlfriend Gives Birth

Mel Gibson may be a father for the eighth time: His girlfriend, musican Oksana Grigorieva, gave birth to a baby girl, according to reports circulating on the Web. PEOPLE is currently attempting to confirm the news.

The baby, who was due in December, arrived Friday, says

Gibson, 53, has seven children (six sons and a daughter) with his estranged wife Robyn, while Oksana has a son, Alexander, with her former boyfriend, actor Timothy Dalton.

"I have a 12 year old, so I've been a mother for 12 years – and of course, there is no first time mother's trepidation as such," Grigorieva, 39, said on a British TV show in September. "So naturally it's more relaxed, and I'm very dynamic so the pregnancy falls into my work schedule."

In terms of her relationship with the actor-filmmaker, she said, "Actually we have no plans to marry whatsoever. I haven't thought about it – we haven't spoken about it."

In April, the actor's wife of 30 years, Robyn, filed for divorce. Later that month, he and Grigeorieva made their first public appearance together as a couple.

News site founder vows fight in Mel Gibson case

The founder of celebrity news site is promising a fight after he says the Los Angeles County sheriff's department illegally obtained his phone records in its investigation into who leaked a report on actor Mel Gibson's 2006 drunken driving arrest, including details on the actor's anti-Semitic tirade.

Harvey Levin's comments came during a speech Monday night at UCLA at an event hosted by the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California. He said he considers the department's actions an assault on the First Amendment.

"It breaks federal law. It breaks state law," Levin said. "It's outrageous. We've met with lawyers and are charting our course of action. This is not going to go away."

An after-hours call to a sheriff's department spokesman was not answered.

Gibson was arrested for misdemeanor drunken driving on July 28, 2006, on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. His anti-Semitic slurs, detailed in a report leaked to, provoked outrage, and the "Braveheart" actor and director later apologized.

The officer who arrested Gibson, Deputy James Mee, became the target of a criminal investigation into whether he leaked the arrest report. Records obtained during that investigation showed several calls between Levin and Mee's home. But authorities determined it was impossible to say who made the calls on Mee's end of the line.

Prosecutors eventually declined to charge Mee, citing a lack of proof that he leaked details about the case.

Gibson pleaded no contest in August 2006 and was given three years' probation, fined $1,400 and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Earlier this month, a judge agreed to expunge his drunken driving conviction after he successfully completed the terms of his probation.

Gibson's son helping poor in Africa

Mel Gibson’s son Will is dealing with his parents' divorce by throwing himself into charity work in Africa.

Gibson announced earlier this year that his 28-year marriage to wife Robyn was over and it later emerged the actor was dating Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, who subsequently revealed she's expecting the Lethal Weapon star's child.

And now, according to a National Enquirer report, 25-year-old Will Gibson - one of the actor's seven kids with Robyn - has fled to Africa to escape the family controversy, and he has been occupying himself by working with nuns to help the poor in the developing world.

A source tells the tabloid, "Will just had to get away from all the madness surrounding his family... It was just too much for him."


JOSH Brolin at Spin playing pingpong with Mel Gibson at the wrap party for "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," as director Oliver Stone partied with Shia LaBeouf and Wall Streeter Tim LoBello

Judge Rubs Out Mad Mel's DUI Conviction

"Sugar tits," we hardly knew ya.

A California Judge today expunged Mel Gibson's 2006 drunk driving conviction from his record after he successfully completed all the terms of his three-year probation. Gibson, who was not in court for the ruling, pled no contest to the charges.

The ruling came at the behest of the Passion of the Christ mastermind's attorney, Blair Berk, who filed a motion Sept. 21 to dismiss the misdemeanor DUI case.

As part of his penance, the 53-year-old Gibson attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, made a number of public service announcements and paid $1,300 in fines over the infamous July 2006 incident, in which he called his arresting officer "sugar tits" and railed against Jews.


MEL Gibson, in town filming "The Beaver," at New York The atre Workshop's critically ac claimed play "Aftermath," about the price paid by Iraqi civilians during the war

Gibson seeks to clear DUI charge

Mel Gibson has launched a court battle to wipe a drunk driving charge from his police record.

The Braveheart actor was arrested in June 2006 after getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, and was sentenced to three years' probation the following month on a misdemeanour driving under the influence (DUI) charge.

Now the star has filed legal papers, obtained by, that indicate his lawyer will be in court in October to ask a judge to expunge the DUI from his record because he has completed the terms of his probation.

Gibson successfully attended a 12-step programme for 11 months, underwent an alcohol abuse education course, and also handed over his driver's licence for 90 days as part of his rehabilitation.

Mel Gibson's Girlfriend: We Have No Plans to Wed

Mel Gibson's girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva might be a mom-to-be, but she's not a bride-to-be.

Grigorieva, 39, dismissed marriage talk on British TV early Tuesday. "Actually we have no plans to marry whatsoever," she told the morning show GMTV. "I haven't thought about it – we haven't spoken about it."

Instead, she is focusing on having a healthy baby. The child – which will be Oscar-winner Gibson's eighth and her second – is due in December. The singer says she is much calmer about her pregnancy this time around.

"I have a 12 year old, so I've been a mother for 12 years – and of course, there is no first time mother's trepidation as such," Grigorieva said. "So naturally it's more relaxed, and I'm very dynamic so the pregnancy falls into my work schedule."

That work includes promoting her music around the world.

The December birth will cap a whirlwind year for Gibson, 53, and the classically trained pianist. In April, the actor's wife of 30 years, Robyn Moore, filed for divorce and later that month he and Grigeorieva made their first public appearance as a couple.

Yelchin, Lawrence join "Beaver" cast

Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence will play young lovers in "The Beaver," a dark comedy starring Mel Gibson and directed by Jodie Foster. In the Anonymous Content/Summit Entertainment film written by Kyle Killen, Gibson stars as a depressed man who clings to a beaver hand puppet. Yelchin, who will play his son, recently appeared in "Star Trek" and "Terminator Salvation." Lawrence stars in Guillermo Arriaga's "The Burning Plain" and recently finished shooting Debra Granik's "Winter's Bones." She picked up an outstanding performance award at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2008 for Lori Petty's "Poker House."

Mel Gibson's Girlfriend: Mel Is a 'Visionary'

When Oksana Grigorieva released her debut album, Beautiful Heartache, last month, she had some help that most new artists can only dream about. Boyfriend Mel Gibson collaborated some on lyrics and even directed four videos. And when the album was complete, Gibson's company, Icon Distribution, took care of the release.

"He's an incredible artist," Grigorieva tells CNN of her Oscar-winning boyfriend. "A visionary. He enabled me to produce this album, for my music to live."

Grigorieva, who says she wants to be known for her music, acknowledges that her relationship with Gibson has helped her career. "Every talent needs a serious push and help from somebody who is stronger, because it's pretty much impossible for anybody to succeed in this industry," she says. "So I've become very lucky, and I'm very grateful."

Grigorieva, who is expecting a child with Gibson, denies that a relationship with the star was part of a master plan. "You don't control the situations or the people you meet. I did not plan this," she says. "I'm just doing what I've always been doing. It's not like I've changed my goals at all."

Grigorieva says the couple has chosen not to learn the sex of their child. "I'm already buying things in gender-neutral colors," she says. "It's very cute."

One collaboration that hasn't yet been decided: marriage. Grigorieva says that there is no wedding on the horizon. "We don't know yet," she says, "We haven't really talked about it."

Grigorieva has a 12-year-old son with actor Timothy Dalton. Gibson, who split from wife Robyn in April after 30 years together, has seven other children.

Gibson girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva unveiled

Russian-born beauty Oksana Grigorieva, the soon-to-be mom of Mel Gibson's child, is ready to step out into the limelight on her own terms -- not as the girlfriend of an A-list celebrity.

The 39-year-old classical pianist, who is releasing her debut pop album "Beautiful Heartache" on iTunes and her own web site through Gibson's Icon Entertainment, has been a subject of fascination since the Oscar-winning director and actor went public with their relationship after his wife of nearly 30 years, Robyn, filed for divorce in April 2009.

Grigorieva said she is very much in love with the "Braveheart" actor, but plans to keep separate residences for now. She wants the public and media to learn who she is.

"I'd like to be judged if so, by my art, by my music. That's primarily why I'm here. Of course, if the tabloids wrote the truth about most of people, maybe it would be really boring," Grigorieva told Reuters in her first interview.

"(Music) is what I've been doing since I'm 3 years old," said Grigorieva, who will give birth to her child in December.

Grigorieva also has a 12-year-old son, Alexander, with former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton, but she and Dalton parted ways seven years ago and share joint custody.

Since Gibson's breakup, the public has heard little from Grigorieva who has been modeling for years and honing her musical skills, while devoting herself to raising her son in Los Angeles for past 10 years. Now, she has something to say.

"I've been working on my music all along, but eventually art has to be shared. My heart is in writing and creation, but of course only when you share it with others, do you feel fully happy or fulfilled," she said.

"Beautiful Heartache" features a collection of wistful love songs, blending shimmering string arrangements with pop and jazz-influenced arrangements that showcase Grigorieva's soulful voice. Gibson directed videos for four of the songs.


She told Reuters she is very much in love with Gibson, 53, whom she started dating after his infamous 2006 arrest for driving under the influence in Malibu, California, when he made a string of anti-Semitic remarks that set off a worldwide media frenzy and damaged his standing in Hollywood.

Gibson apologized for his self-described "despicable behavior" in the Malibu arrest and sought counseling.

When asked if she was concerned about how that controversy will affect perceptions of her personally, Grigorieva said: "How can I be judged for falling in love? We live in the same city. I don't control who I meet. I meet many people in art and music and film, but love is inexplicable.

"He's not that person at all in my opinion. He apologized. I think he respects everybody," she said.

Grigorieva started playing piano at age 3 and writing music at 7. She credits her parents for her fierce devotion to music because both taught music and filled their home with songs.

Grigorieva moved to the United Kingdom at age 19 to study at the Royal College and Trinity College, supporting herself by teaching music to kids and adults.

She modeled in the United States and United Kingdom while balancing her duties as a mom. Her first break as a songwriter came in 2006 when her song "Un Dia Llegara" became a hit for Josh Groban on his album "Awake." That recording led to contract offers from various companies, including Gibson's Icon Entertainment.

Grigorieva said the two had a professional rapport before becoming romantically attached. "It's not like I was planning to meet Mel specifically. Life happens.

"There was a working relationship for a long time. I thought he was happily married until I was reassured otherwise. And then it happened," she said.

Asked whether or not marriage was on the table, Grigorieva grinned: "Marriage? I don't know. If it happens, I'll tell you. We're just very happy. He's an amazing man," she said.

Gibson won't face battery charges

Mel Gibson won't face battery charges - after police found no evidence the actor attacked a reveller at a Los Angeles nightclub.

The Lethal Weapon star and his pregnant girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva made a rare appearance at the launch of Playhouse on Wednesday.

The couple appeared to be enjoying themselves in the hotspot's VIP section until a magazine reporter, posing as a fan, took pictures of them, according to

Gibson's security guards were said to have confiscated the camera and deleted the photos, prompting the relentless journalist to send a male friend to get another shot.

The unidentified man filed a report against the actor, alleging Gibson flew into a rage and attacked the clubgoer before storming out, tearing the man's shirt.

But police have determined there is no evidence of battery in the case after witnesses protested Gibson was not in close enough proximity to grab the alleged victim - because his security team had wedged him in a booth after several attempts were made to get close to the actor.

According to, police are not expected to interview Gibson.


Eva Longoria Parker, holding a business meeting at CityCenter in Las Vegas to discuss opening a Sin City outpost of her West Hollywood eatery Beso in December. Also in Vegas (separately): Mel Gibson, who took son Thomas and two of his friends to check out the Blue Man Group show at the Venetian.

Mel, Jodie Reunite For Beaver

Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster are giving it another shot.

E! News can confirm that the Hollywood heavyweights, who last costarred in a movie together 15 years ago in Maverick, are set to join forces again for The Beaver.

A quirky comedy drama along the lines of 2007's indie hit Lars and the Real Girl (or depending on your humor South Park), the Kyle Killen-penned script follows a down and out man (Gibson) who finds comfort wearing a beaver hand-puppet. Foster will not only play his wife, but she'll also helm the film, marking her first directing effort since 1995's Home for the Holidays.

Hoping to erase his high-profile 2006 DUI arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic rant from the minds of moviegoers, not to mention distract himself from his pending divorce, Gibson next appears in the forthcoming thriller Edge of Darkness, his first headlining role since 2000's What Women Want.

The Beaver is tentatively slated to start lensing in New York in September.

Mel Gibson's Girlfriend Oksana Debuts First Single

Until now, Oksana Grigorieva's name has been more associated with Hollywood gossip than with musical chops – the Russia-born singer and pianist is pregnant with Mel Gibson's child – but Grigorieva hopes that will change starting with Monday's release of "Say My Name," the first single from her forthcoming album, Beautiful Heartbreak.

A classically trained pianist who hails from Saransk, Russia, Grigorieva, 39, penned every song on the album except for "Say My Name," which exclusively debuts on – for that she collaborated on the lyrics with none other than Gibson himself.

Listen to the song here.

"It is the first and one of the simplest songs on the album, but also one of the most intimate," says Grigorieva, whose baby with Gibson, 53, is due in late fall. "It is naked, intimate, raw emotion, little more than piano and voice as if it is a cry from the soul."

Signed to Gibson's record label, Icon Records, Grigorieva first stepped out with the Oscar-winning filmmaker at a Los Angeles screening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine on April 28, two weeks after Gibson's wife Robyn filed for divorce. Gibson, who has said that he and Robyn have been separated for three years, announced the pregnancy on the May 25 Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Starting at 9 a.m. EST "Say My Name" may be downloaded at, where more free downloads of new tracks from Beautiful Heartache and videos will be available each week.

Mel Gibson's Divorce Financial Records to Be Sealed

To keep their divorce as private as possible, Mel Gibson and his wife have agreed to keep their financial records under seal, court documents show.

The agreement – signed off by the former couple, their lawyers and a judge – states that depositions, tax records, and accounting information will be all be kept private. Part of the reason for the sealing is because the ex-couple does not want to jeopardize their assets by revealing business affairs and to protect their 10-year-old son Thomas, reads the document filed June 5 in Los Angeles.

With Mel Gibson's estimated net worth at close to $1 billion, the divorce is expected to end with the biggest cash payout in Hollywood history. Because there's no indication the ex-couple had a prenup, Robyn, 53, is legally entitled to half of everything Mel earned during their 28 years of marriage.

Gibson, 53, recently announced his girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, 39, is pregnant. The baby news isn't expected to affect legal proceedings. Experts say the Gibsons' divorce will likely end quietly in a matter of months.

Mel Gibson's Faith: How It Affects His New Life

Mel Gibson has asked his fellow parishioners at the Holy Family Chapel in Agoura Hills, Calif., not to gossip about him, and recently hasn't been taking Communion.

Recent headlines about the end of his marriage to Robyn Moore, 53, the mother of his seven children, and Gibson's relationship with 39-year-old Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva – who is pregnant with his child – have inevitably raised questions about how the devout star's faith will mesh with his private life. For answers, PEOPLE turned to experts in traditionalist Catholicism, the breakaway group from mainstream Roman Catholicism to which Gibson, 53, has long adhered:

Can Gibson take Communion?

A traditionalist Catholic who is married to one woman but is conducting a romance with another is considered an adulterer, and in violation of one of the Ten Commandments. Until he turns away from that violation by ending the offending activity, and confessing his sin, he would remain ineligible for Communion.

"It would be heartbreaking for Gibson," says a traditionalist Catholic priest who has celebrated Mass at Gibson's chapel but prefers not to be named. "We have sympathy for a person in that situation."

Can Gibson annul his marriage?

The Catholic Church grants many annulments. Previously, an annulment was allowed when a marriage was not consummated, when it was forced on one of the parties or when the vows were judged illegitimate for reasons such as mental illness. Today, church tribunals are more lenient and help find ways to keep divorced Catholics hoping to remarry in the fold. But Gibson, who was married in the mainstream Catholic church, has another problem to contend with. He would have to apply to an authority, the Vatican, that doesn't recognize his own congregation. That would make for an awkward request, experts say, but the official church might still decide to consider it.

Can Gibson re-marry in a non-Catholic church?

Perhaps, but his own congregation would not likely recognize it as legitimate

Can Gibson marry a non-Catholic?

Yes. Before he married, he would need a dispensation from a Catholic bishop to marry someone outside his church. These are often granted.

Can the child of an unmarried couple be baptized in the traditionalist Catholic Church?

A child is not considered at fault for the circumstances of his or her birth. The child could be baptized and brought up in the church.

Mel's Baby-Mama Files Cybersquatter Suit

It's been less than a week since Mel Gibson confirmed his girlfriend is pregnant and already she's making some pretty serious demands. But not on the movie star.

In an effort to practice safe searches (if not the other thing), Oksana Grigorieva has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing a web-hosting company of cybersquatting after it purchased a domain and launched a seemingly official website in her name. is named as the defendant and is accused of spreading false information about the Russian singer. It's unclear exactly what falsehoods the site was propagating since now appears to have been shut down.

Grigorieva and the self-anointed "Octo-Mel" made their debut as a couple last month, just two weeks after Gibson's estranged wife Robyn filed for divorce. After much speculation, he confirmed on the Tonight Show this week that the duo was expecting their first child together.

Mel Gibson Tells Jay Leno About His Eighth Child: 'I Guess I'm Octo-Mel!'

So how do the original Sexiest Man Alive and his musician girlfriend spend their time together?

Work, work, work, say family and friends – and then a little low-profile playtime.

By day, Mel Gibson, 53, and Oksana Grigorieva, who is pregnant with Gibson's eighth child, are hard at work at their respective careers – Gibson tending to film projects at his Santa Monica office while Grigorieva keeps busy making music at her house in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

"[Oksana] spent the last nine months locked up in a studio," her mother Lyudmila Chernukha, a retired music teacher, tells PEOPLE of her daughter's collection of new songs – all of which Oksana, 39, wrote, arranged and sang herself.

Once work is over for the couple and the school bell has rung for Grigorieva's son, Alexander, 11, it's family time. The musician and her son will often meet up with Mel – who is in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife, Robyn – at his office or his Malibu home, sometimes dropping by a Russian restaurant that serves dishes from Grigorieva's homeland: borscht, chicken Kiev and sturgeon.

"It [seems] very important to Oksana that Mel and her son bond," says a source. "Mel is fun to be around and great with kids."

'Someone to Take Care of Her'

At the end of the evening, the couple typically return to their separate homes so Grigorieva can get her son, whose dad is actor Timothy Dalton, off to a local school in the mornings. "She gets on well with Timothy Dalton, he is the father of her son after all," says Grigorieva's mother. "They parted on good terms and they see each other a lot."

Looking forward to their baby together has the couple, and their friends, giddy. "Oksana is a good mother and she'll make a great mother to Mel's child," says one of her friends. "She's found the greatest thing in life, someone to take care of her and a father to her children."

Soon, the pianist might not be able to reach the piano keys across her bulging belly. But no matter, says another friend. Like music, motherhood is another of Oksana's callings.

"We're very happy for her. She was trying to make it and now she has. She wins. She's come from a rough background to find true happiness. Now she'll do what she does best: be a mom and play piano."

Mel Gibson Tells Jay Leno About His Eighth Child: 'I Guess I'm Octo-Mel!'

Looking relaxed and clean-shaven in jeans, a white shirt and a blue jacket, actor and director Mel Gibson gamely answered questions about his relationship with musician Oksana Grigorieva and confirmed her pregancy during his 21st guest appearance on NBC's Tonight Show, airing Monday night.

In fact, Jay Leno set the tone for the evening by saying there were a lot of rumors to clear up. He then asked Gibson about his split with Robyn, his wife of 28 years.

Gibson, 53, said he took the blame for the divorce. "My wife and I, our marriage ended three years ago and we've been separated ever since then," Gibson said. "These things happen. It's unfortunate, it's sad, but you know she is an admirable woman – we still got kids together. We're friends."

When Leno pressed Gibson by asking, "So what happened?" Gibson replied, "Look. When it's all said and done, I did a pretty good hatchet job on my marriage myself. I'm to blame. If you're inclined to judge, put it here."

Leno then joked with Gibson about his dating a younger woman. "What, is she 17, 18?" Leno asked. Gibson replied that Grigorieva was almost 40 and "now I am going to have two women mad at me!" Leno then said, "The rumor I have heard is that you guys are going to have a child?" Gibson then confirmed, "This is true. We're gonna have a child."

Piling it on, Leno joked, "So that will make 29? " Quickly, Gibson responded, "Well, actually eight. I guess I'm Octo-Mel."

Gibson is among the first of many special guests in Leno's last week as host of the Tonight Show, with his final guest on Friday being his successor, Conan O'Brien, who takes the helm on Monday, June 1. Leno returns to NBC in the fall in primetime.

Rep: Mel Gibson and Girlfriend Are Expecting!

Six weeks after his wife Robyn filed for divorce after 28 years of marriage, Mel Gibson has some news of his own: his Russian musician girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, 39, is pregnant, the actor's rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.

"He couldn't be happier," says a Gibson friend. "He loves being a father."

Grigorieva, who is signed to Gibson's record label, Icon Records, is in her second trimester and due in the late fall.

For those eager to point to Grigorieva's pregnancy as a catalyst for Gibson's divorce, they'll be wrong, says the close source: "This has nothing to do with the divorce. Mel didn't even know Oksana was pregnant when they filed."

Gibson's wife Robyn, who cited "irreconcilable differences" in her April 13 divorce petition, has remained mum on his relationship with Grigorieva and the pregnancy rumors. According to Gibson's own divorce response, filed on the same day as Robyn's, he and his wife separated almost three years ago.

Gibson, 53, who has seven children with Robyn, including their youngest, 10-year-old son Thomas, and Oksana, who has a son, Alexander, with her former boyfriend, actor Timothy Dalton, stepped out for the first time at an industry screening for X-Men Origins: Wolverine in L.A. on April 29.

Grigorieva's son and the Gibson kids have met and vacationed together and, says a source, get along well.

Mom: My Daughter Didn't Break Up Mel Gibson's Marriage

A mother always knows – even if she won't tell.

Lyudmila Chernukha, a retired Russian music teacher whose daughter Oksana Grigorieva is dating Mel Gibson, denies Oksana broke up the actor's marriage, but remains mum on rumors the pair are expecting a child.

"I can't say anything," Chernukha, speaking in Russian, tells PEOPLE exclusively from her home outside of Moscow. "Wait for the official statement from them."

Chernukha, who started her daughter on piano lesson when she was 3, said that Oksana – a singer signed to Gibson's record label – started seeing him well after the actor and his wife separated, which the mother says happened in 2006.

"He split up with his wife three years ago, so to suggest that she has broken up their marriage is rubbish," she says. "He was no longer with his wife so he was bound to meet some woman at some point, it just happened to be Oksana."

Gibson's wife of 28 years, Robyn, filed for divorce April 13 citing "irreconcilable differences" but not stating a date when they split. Gibson says they separated in August 2006, less than a month after his notorious DUI incident.

Gibson, 53, and Grigorieva, 39, confirmed they were dating when they made a surprise red-carpet appearance April 28 at the Los Angeles premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine amid Internet and newspaper reports that Grigorieva is pregnant. Gibson's rep has declined comment.

Grigorieva, meanwhile, has been living with her son Alexander (by her former boyfriend, actor Timothy Dalton), in a Sherman Oaks home owned by a trust linked to Gibson's production company while working on a record. According to her mom, she has come down with acute homesickness.

"I talk to her all the time and she really misses Russia, " says Chernukha, who along with Grigorieva's father Pytor, often visits their daughter in California. "It's her homeland."

Gibson's girlfriend pregnant?

Mel Gibson's girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva is pregnant with the couple's first child, according to internet reports. The actor's wife Robyn filed for divorce last month after 28 years of marriage amid rumours the actor had been dating 39-year-old Grigorieva. The Lethal Weapon star made their romance public weeks later, by taking his lover to a movie premiere in Los Angeles. According to, Gibson has already told his estranged wife and their children Grigorieva is in her second trimester of pregnancy. The former couple share one daughter and six sons.

Settlement reached in lawsuit against Mel Gibson

A settlement has been reached in a screenwriter's lawsuit against Mel Gibson over "The Passion of the Christ."

A notice of settlement filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court stated that an agreement had been reached and was being put into writing. The filing asked a judge to cancel a trial scheduled for June 3.

Benedict Fitzgerald sued Gibson and several film companies for $10 million in February 2008, claiming that Gibson and others vastly understated the budget for the 2004 blockbuster.

The screenwriter's suit claimed Gibson told him the budget for the movie would be in the $4-million to $7-million range, but that it was significantly higher.

Fitzgerald also claimed that Gibson told him he would not receive any money from the film, but considered it a gift of his faith.

His lawyer also claimed Gibson spent tens of thousands of dollars on his children's education while filming in Italy and paid a chiropractor $78,000. They contended those expenses lowered payments to Fitzgerald.

Several of the lawsuit's claims had been thrown out and, in recent hearings, lawyers for Gibson said the actual amount in dispute was significantly lower.

No details of the settlement were filed.

Both sides battled over the film's finances for months. A judge last year ordered Gibson to answer questions about the film's planning and finances during a deposition.

Lawyers for the actor and Academy Award-winning director contended that Gibson did not know the intricacies of the film's budget.

'Butch & Sundance' top bromance poll

Paul Newman and Robert Redford have topped a new Internet poll listing the top 10 Movie Bromances of all time.

The pair's Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid roles beat Lethal Weapon's Murtaugh and Riggs, portrayed by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, on's online countdown.

Naming Newman and Redford's portrayals number one, the website claims Butch and Sundance are the "Bromance of Bromances," adding, "When things in their wild world goes awry the two have so much devotion to each other that they face their imminent doom together without even blinking."

Point Break's Bodhi and Johnny Utah, played by Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, Star Trek's Spock and Captain Kirk and Top Gun's Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Iceman (Val Kilmer) also make the new top 10.

Mel Gibson to Help Jay Leno Say Farewell

Whether or not divorce will be a topic of conversation – or even jokes – Mel Gibson will join Jay Leno as the NBC host oversees the Tonight Show's final week.

Gibson, whose 29-year-marriage has ended amid stories of a new girlfriend, will appear on the late-night show Monday, May 25, along with musical guest Lyle Lovett.

Other guests that final week include Dwight Yoakum and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 26; Wanda Sykes and Sarah McLachlan, May 27; and Prince and Billy Crystal, May 28.

Stars for the very last show have yet to be announced. Once the curtain on the Leno era comes down, Conan O'Brien will then occupy the Tonight chair that Jay inherited from Johnny Carson in 1992, while Leno goes to NBC primetime with a new nightly program.

Gibson's girl slammed by ex

Mel Gibson's new girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has come under fire from an ex-boyfriend who has branded the Russian beauty an "opportunist".

Gibson's wife Robyn filed for divorce last month after 28 years of marriage amid rumours the actor had been dating 39-year-old Grigorieva.

And the Lethal Weapon star unveiled his new relationship in public last week by taking his lover to a movie premiere in Los Angeles.

But Grigorieva, who previously dated Timothy Dalton, has come under fire from another former partner, businessman Alan Bergman, who claims the brunette dumped him as soon as she met the James Bond star.

He says, "She married a guy and they lived in a council house. I had more money and she left him and moved in with me.

"She then met Timothy Dalton at a party we went to, and within a week had moved in with him. She's a lovely girl but a bit of an opportunist."

Mel Gibson Steps Out with New Girlfriend

More than two weeks after his wife filed for divorce, a smiling Mel Gibson made a rare public appearance with his girlfriend Tuesday night at the L.A. industry screening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

"Mel has been single for almost three years and it's nice to see him getting out and enjoying himself," his rep tells PEOPLE exclusively.

The actor, 53, dressed in a black suit with a dark gray shirt, stepped out with Oksana Grigorieva, a 39-year-old Russian signer signed to his record label, Icon Records. The couple held hands as they walked the carpet before taking a seat at the screening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

"They came in quietly and as under-the-radar as they could and they were pretty low-key," says a source. "Mel seemed very comfortable."

According to the source, Gibson attended the screening at the invitation of Fox chairman James Gianopoulos and Wolverine producers Richard and Lauren Donner and fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman, who told the audience that he got inspiration for his character from Gibson's role as Mad Max.

INSIDE STORY: Meet the Gibson Family

At times it seems that everything about Mel Gibson is oversized: his sex appeal, his box-office muscle, his faith and yes, his family.

For the last two-plus decades, the Gibsons have boasted a unique Hollywood brood – an eldest daughter, followed by what their father has described as "six able-bodied boys." The Gibsons pride themselves on raising their kids on church and family – and a healthy dose of discipline from their mom.

"Their kids are not in any way spoiled brats," a source close to the family tells PEOPLE. "All the kids had to work if they wanted money." Adds a Malibu neighbor, "They're a rowdy bunch, but also nice – very 'Yes, sir, no, sir,' which you don't get a lot of around here."

Their eldest, Hannah, 28, is very much the apple of her mother's eye. Like Robyn, she married an entertainer: blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Sheppard, 31, who tied the knot with Hannah in a June 2006 traditional ceremony at her father's church high above Los Angeles. The Sheppards have two children, the second one born earlier this year.

Lively Young Men

After Hannah came twins Edward and Christian, 26, who like their sister were born in Australia – and, like their father, have run into trouble for being a bit too much the life of party. In 2005, while a student at the University of Colorado, Christian was arrested for DUI. In 2007, Edward, who at one point considered Nick Nolte's son Brawley one of his close friends, reportedly entered rehab.

Next came William, known in the family as Willie, 24, followed by Louis, 21, and then Milo, 19, a recent graduate of Malibu High.

The interests of the Gibson boys include skating, surfing and hunting. They regularly attend Lakers games when the team is in town, and they also tend to follow their father's more conservative political leanings: on Facebook, Milo Gibson is a member of One Million Strong Against Hilary.

The lone minor among the Gibson clan is Thomas, who turned 10 the day after his mother filed for divorce. According to friends, the Gibsons have worked hard to keep the confusion and increased scrutiny of their impending divorce from being disruptive to their youngest son, for whom Robyn Gibson is seeking joint custody.

Mel Gibson Returns to L.A. and Goes to Church

Mel Gibson, who spent last week in Costa Rica following news of his pending divorce, traded his beach clothes for a suit and tie so he could attend his private church in Malibu on Sunday.

"He was drinking coffee with church guests and seemed very relaxed," a churchgoer said about Gibson, who mingled with the other congregants for about an hour after Mass.

Before Sunday, the actor-filmmaker was spotted near his sprawling estate in Costa Rica just days after his wife Robyn filed for divorce after 28 years of marriage. Gibson, 53, has been recently linked to Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva, 39.

The actor, who appeared to be on vacation, was not alone. He was spotted with a blonde-haired woman, a man in his 20s and a young boy who never left his side, said a witness. Grigorieva was not seen on their outings.

"[He] went to eat ice cream and then he went shopping,” said José Morales, an employee at a car-rental agency, who spotted the group last week.

The visitors ordered espresso and double-scoops of ice cream before Gibson spent more than $500 on souvenirs, which included wooden bowls and potholders, says another witness.

On Saturday, Gibson left Costa Rica. He was seen Sunday attending 9 a.m. Mass at the Church of the Holy Family, hidden in the tree-covered mountains outside of Los Angeles.

Mel Gibson's Girlfriend: Mystery Solved?

Shortly after Mel Gibson's wife Robyn filed for divorce last week, details emerged about a woman the actor-filmmaker has been spending a lot of time with – even taking her on a family vacation to Costa Rica – named Oksana. She is, sources tell PEOPLE, a Russian singer signed to Mel Gibson's record label, Icon Records.

Now the identity of his mystery girlfriend may be revealed: Public records suggest Oksana Grigorieva, 39, an ex of former James Bond star Timothy Dalton, has lived in a house linked to Gibson, 53.

The home, purchased in Sherman Oaks, Calif., in December 2008, has an ownership trust administered by the CFO of Mel Gibson's production company, Icon.

While neither Grigorieva nor Gibson have commented, Grigorieva certainly resembles the leggy brunette photographed with Gibson on the Boston set of his upcoming film, Edge of Darkness, and seen frolicking in the surf with the star in Costa Rica.

A composer, Grigorieva is dedicated to her craft, her former agent Victor Kruglov tells PEOPLE. "She'll never give up with her music," says Kruglov, who has seen photographs of Mel's mystery woman and believes she and Grigorieva are one and the same. "She loves it."

Though she rarely confided in him about her love life, Kruglov says Grigorieva did once complain about trouble with a boyfriend – but stopped short of sharing specifics. "She was always very discreet about her personal business," he adds.

She has one son with the 69-year-old Dalton, Alexander, who is based in Los Angeles.

The Other Oksanas

Before Grigorieva entered the picture, no fewer than three "Oksanas" were fingered as Gibson's Russian doll, sparking an international mystery befitting 007's skills:

• Almost immediately after Gibson's divorce proceedings hit the news, media reports ID'd her as Oksana Kolesnikova, a pianist and composer who performs five days a week at the Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge.

There's just one problem: Kolesnikova, a blonde, has been happily married for 10 years and is four months pregnant. "I have nothing to do with [Gibson]," the singer tells PEOPLE. "The only contact I had with him was when he came in to dine at the Polo Lounge. He seemed like a gentleman."

• Days later, Russian pop star Oksana Pochepa, 24, came out of the woodwork and told British newspapers that she's the one dating Gibson – and is the woman seen in photos hugging him in Costa Rica.

"This is serious and I hope that our union will be real and strong and long-lasting,” Pochepa told the Sun tabloid of her alleged relationship with Gibson. However, Pochepa doesn't look much like the woman in the photos taken in Boston.

• Meanwhile, back in January, the Latin American Herald Tribune ran a photo of yet another Oksana – Oksana Lovoushka, a blonde artist the paper says was in Mexico with Gibson in January filming her music videos. Lovoushka, too, hasn't commented.

Mel Gibson Asks For and Gets New Divorce Judge

Mel Gibson had a sinking suspicion that his original divorce-court judge wasn't a big Lethal Weapon fan. Or something like that.

Arguing that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rafael Ongkeko was "prejudiced against Respondent and/or the Respondent's attorney or the interest of Respondent," the actor's legal camp filed a motion yesterday asking that Ongkeko be replaced with another judge.

Fair enough. On Friday, the case was reassigned to Judge Frederick Shaller for all further intents and purposes.

Gibson's paperwork didn't go into detail, but stated his belief that he and/or his attorneys "cannot have a fair and impartial trial or hearing before Judge Ongkeko."

Robyn Gibson, the Oscar winner's wife of nearly 29 years, filed for divorce Monday, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. Gibson's counterfiling listed their date of separation as Aug. 26, 2006, about a month after he was nabbed for driving under the influence and unofficially busted for making some rather controversial comments.

Inside Mel Gibson's Church

He made a blockbuster film about Jesus and even built his own church on a mountain. So just how Catholic is Mel Gibson?

The actor has been very vocal about his "traditionalist" views, adhering to the Roman Catholic faith as it was understood before the "modernization" by the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965. ''I go to an all-pre-Vatican II Latin mass," he told USA Today in 2001. "There was a lot of talk, particularly in the '60s, of 'Wow, we've got to change with the times.' But the Creator instituted something very specific, and we can't just go change it.''

So in 2003 the actor decided to help change things back to the way they were, building a chapel in Malibu, Calif. – The Church of the Holy Family. Tucked away in the tree-covered mountains of Agoura Hills, 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the rustic church, unaffiliated with the Roman Catholic archdiocese, has a foot-tall crucifix on the altar and the priest keeps his back to the parishioners as he performs mass every morning entirely in Latin. In church, women must wear head coverings.

There is a more extreme group affiliated with the ultra-conservative stream of Catholicism known as Sedevacantism, meaning, "the seat [of the papacy] is empty." They believe there has been no legitimate pope since 1958. Gibson hasn't said he shares that belief, though his father, Hutton Gibson, is a well known anti-Vatican activist and author of the book Is the Pope Catholic?

Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, defended his director to The Catholic World News in 2004. "Mel has a great devotion to Christ, to Mary, to all the saints," he said, "if some people think that he is not completely in the Church, well then, they only have to pray for him."

Flexibility Tested

No matter what kind of traditionalist he is, Gibson's church would teach similar ideas on marriage and divorce as in the mainstream Catholic church, says Roger McCaffrey, founding publisher and former editor of The Latin Mass magazine and the publisher of Roman Catholic Books. "He's a man who stoutly believes in the indissolubility of marriage, but now," says McCaffrey, "this marriage problem is going to test his flexibility to the max."

After a civil divorce, says McCaffrey, "He'll still be able to technically be a practicing Catholic, even receive communion. In other words, he wouldn't be considered, simply by having a civil divorce or a separation, to be living in grave sin." But if he ever wants to remarry as a Catholic, Gibson – who wed Robyn in 1981 at a parish church in New South Wales, Australia – would have to petition for an annulment in the same way a non-traditionalist Catholic might.

While Robyn has been active in building Gibson's Holy Family church and worships there with their family, she has remained an Episcopalian, Gibson told The New Yorker in 2003, explaining that according to traditionalist Catholic teaching, she would be disqualified from salvation.

"There is no salvation for those outside the Church," he said. "I believe it." He explained: "Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it."

Later, in a 2006 interview, Gibson told Diane Sawyer his belief system did not bar the door the door to heaven to Jews, Muslims, and Protestants. "That's not the case at all – absolutely not. It is possible for people who are not even Christian to get into the kingdom of heaven."

Gibson spotted with 'mystery blonde'

Mel Gibson has fled to his adopted Costa Rica with a mystery blonde to avoid the fuss caused by news of his divorce.

The actor's wife of 28 years, Robyn, filed for divorce on Monday, ending a secret three-year separation - and Gibson isn't hanging around Hollywood.

He attended an Easter Sunday service at his family chapel in California and now he has been spotted on the beach in Costa Rica, where he set up a production company in 2007.

U.S. news show Extra reports a mystery blonde arrived at his $26 million Costa Rican Ranch by helicopter on Monday.

An onlooker tells the news show Gibson walked barefoot on the beach with his female friend, looking tanned and relaxed. He was still wearing what appeared to be his wedding band.

It's no big surprise that Gibson has jetted off to his second home in the aftermath of the divorce news - in a 2007 interview, he said, "I love it here, it's a beautiful country, very stable. I like its people a lot and they have very good coffee."

The identity of the actor/director's female companion is not known, but Russian pop star Oksana Pochepa, 24, recently claimed she was the mystery bikini babe in candid beach shots taken in Costa Rica last month.

The singer has announced she is in love with Gibson after allegedly conducting an affair with the actor that ended his marriage.

Pochepa says, "This is serious and I hope that our union will be real and strong and long-lasting."

Another Russian, classical pianist Oksana Kolesnikova, has denied reports she's the new woman in the Mad Max star's life.

Source: Tension Between Mel Gibson and Wife Was Obvious

A source close to Mel and Robyn Gibson – who this week announced they were divorcing after 28 years of marriage – says that the atmosphere in the couple's home was often a giveaway that things were not right between the couple.

"The tension between Mel and Robyn was obvious. Even during family dinners, they wouldn't speak sometimes. Robyn would pretend that everything was perfect. No one would ever dare to ask her how she and Mel were doing," the source tells PEOPLE.

The problems seemed to become evident three years ago. "During the summer of 2005 the whole family had a great time hanging out at the Gibsons' Malibu beach house, but at the beginning of [2006], Mel started having severe depression and went back to drinking massive amounts of alcohol. It was all very stressful for his wife," says the source.

"At the same time, Mel was under tremendous pressure while filming [his epic Central American drama] Apocalypto in Mexico. The movie got delayed because of terrible rainstorms, and Mel and his crew stayed in the Mexican jungle for weeks during bad conditions. Mel's drinking got out of control because it was very difficult for him to deal with the pressure of producing the movie."

The source adds: "Mel's family had no control over his drinking and were instead afraid of his bad, unpredictable temper." At that time, "Mel rarely left the house [on location] for other things than business meetings."

In papers filed this week, Mel lists the date of the couple's marital separation as Aug. 26, 2006 – less than a month after his profanity-laced DUI arrest. (Robyn has not specified when the couple separated.)

'Complete Opposites'

In terms of their personalities, "Mel and Robyn had always been complete opposites," says the source. "Robyn doesn't drink and wants to have a 'dry' home for their kids, while Mel likes to goof around. Robyn has always been very strict, rigid and at many times very intimidating."

As parents, the Gibsons, both 53, were strict with their seven children: sons Thomas, 9, Milo, 19, Louis, 21, William, 24, twins Edward and Christian, 26, and daughter Hannah, 28. "Their kids are not in any way spoiled Malibu brats. All the kids had to work if they wanted money," says the source.

"While Mel, in the past, spent most of his time working, Robyn always kept their kids on a schedule and was always in charge of everything. She did an incredible job, but as an outsider it's easy to feel that she could be a bit warmer and less rigid when it comes to the kids," the source also observes.

Mel Gibson's Divorce Could Be Most Expensive in Hollywood History

Mel Gibson may soon be writing one of the biggest checks of his life – to his wife.

With no indication that the estranged couple – who married 28 years ago – had a prenup, Robyn Gibson, 53, is legally entitled in their divorce to half of everything the actor-director-producer earned from their marriage in 1980 to the date of their separation: A fortune estimated at close to $1 billion.

"This could easily be one of the biggest divorce settlements in Hollywood history," says Los Angeles family lawyer Lynn Soodik, who's not involved with the case. "Any attorney would advise her to take half."

Surpass Previous Records

A $500 million settlement would dwarf the current record holders of celebrity divorce:

Michael Jordan ponied up $168 million following his 2006 divorce with wife Juanita; Neil Diamond forked over $150 million after his 1994 split with Marcia Murphey; while Steven Spielberg shelled out $100 million following his 1989 divorce from Amy Irving.

Among Gibson's estimated assets: More than $600 million grossed by The Passion of the Christ alone, $100-plus million in real estate investments worldwide (he bought an island in Fiji for $15 million in 2004), and $75 million for film and TV projects for which Gibson executive produced.

As for film residuals, Gibson, also 53, "would be accountable to pay half for the rest of his days," Soodik says. "If he gets a residual check for Lethal Weapon or Braveheart, half of that check is hers."

But don't expect the ex-couple to enter a painful, protracted battle in the courts.

"This divorce will probably reach a settlement in a matter of months," Soodik says. "It likely won't be messy since there's enough money to go around."

Mel Gibson Confides Divorce News at Church

On Easter Sunday, Mel Gibson attended Mass at the Roman Catholic church he had built in 2005. His wife wasn't with him. And after the service, he quietly spoke to some parishioners.

"Well," he was overheard saying, "she's filed for divorce."

Last Thursday – the day before Good Friday – Robyn Gibson, 53, his wife of 28 years, signed divorce papers, seeking joint custody over their minor child, Thomas, 9, and spousal support.

That wasn't the only surprising news. According to a response that Gibson's lawyer filed Monday afternoon, the couple have been officially separated since August 26, 2006, almost a month after Gibson had reached a personal nadir when he was pulled over for a DUI in Malibu.

The movie star regained his sobriety following the notorious roadside incident in which he made anti-Semitic remarks that he later apologized for.

Robyn's initial divorce petition lists the date of separation as "to be determined."

"They'll do this amicably," a source tells PEOPLE. "There's a lot of mutual respect and they've worked hard on their marriage and worked hard on their separation."

Adds the source, "They'll handle the divorce in the same respectful way."

In fact, Gibson and his estranged wife attended church together with other family members on Palm Sunday, just four days before Robyn signed the divorce papers, PEOPLE has learned.

In addition to Thomas, the Gibsons have six older children: Milo, 19, Louis, 21, William, 24, twins Edward and Christian, 26, and daughter Hannah, 28.

Mel Gibson's Wife Files for Divorce

Mel Gibson's wife of nearly 30 years, Robyn Moore, has filed for divorce, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The couple released the following statement Monday: "Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strived to maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so."

Moore, 53, citing irreconcilable differences, is seeking joint physical and legal custody over their minor child, Thomas, 9, according to court papers. She is also seeking spousal support and attorney's fees, and is asking the court to deny her husband any spousal support.

Gibson, 53, met Moore, at the time a dental nurse, in the late 1970s after the American-born actor, who moved to Australia when he was 12, had filmed his breakthrough success, Mad Max. The pair, both now 53, married on June 7, 1980, and have seven children – Hannah, 28, twins Edward and Christian, 26, William, 24, Louis, 21, Milo, 19, and Thomas.

Mel Gibson's wife Robyn files for divorce

Mel Gibson's wife has lost her "passion" for their marriage of 28 years.

Robyn Gibson filed for divorce from the "Passion of the Christ" director Monday, April 13 in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing "irreconcilable differences," reports

According to the documents found on the gossip site, Robyn Gibson is seeking joint physical and legal custody of their son Tom, 10, their only child who is a minor. She is also seeking attorney fees and spousal support. Sources say the couple did not sign a prenup.

The couple, who had married in June 1980, has a total of seven children besides Tom: daughter Hannah, twins Edward and Christian, William, Louis and Milo.

Rumor has it that the marriage has been under strain since his 2006 arrest for drunk driving., however, is pointing the finger at a Russian musician named Oksana. She and Gibson were seen embracing and kissing in early March in Costa Rica.


MEL Gibson once turned Nobu into an X-rated sushi joint. In her upcoming memoir, "Spiced," Dalia Jurgensen, the executive pastry chef of Brooklyn's Dressler, reveals that when she cooked at Nobu, Gibson "wanted to send Rene Russo an 'obscene' dessert as a joke . . . I did my best and cut a long rod of maki, stood it on a plate like a tower, set two balls of mochi ice cream at its base, and spooned some créme anglaise around it." She notes: "My relationship with celebrity . . . was that of servant-master: They demanded, I served."

Warner Bros. picks up Mel Gibson thriller

Warner Bros. has picked up the North American rights to the thriller "Edge of Darkness," Mel Gibson's first acting gig since 2002's "Signs."

Gibson plays a homicide cop whose 24-year-old daughter is murdered on the steps of his home. His search for her killers leads him to a world of corporate coverups and government collusion, causing a CIA operative (Ray Winstone) to be sent to clean up the evidence.

Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale") directed from an adaptation of a BBC miniseries. The film was backed by Graham King, the Oscar-winning producer of "The Departed."

The film is in post-production, having completed principal photography in November. No release date has been set.

Families get houses funded by Mel Gibson

Mexican officials have presented victims of hurricane Stan with 109 homes that were partly funded by a donation from filmmaker Mel Gibson.

Gibson filmed his 2006 Mayan-language movie "Apocalypto" in the Gulf coast state Veracruz. Gibson donated $1 million to replace storm-damaged homes in Veracruz and neighbouring Chiapas state.

The office of Veracruz Gov. Fidel Herrera said Tuesday the government and a private charity pitched in the rest of the cost of the homes in the town San Andres Tuxtla.

He did not say how much each cost.

Stan struck Central America and southern Mexico in October 2005.

The storm damaged 40,000 homes in Mexico and killed 71 people in Chiapas.

Stars Pay Tribute to the Legends Who Left Us

HEATH LEDGER (April 4, 1979-Jan. 22, 2008)
When I first met Heath, he was 20. Because I was the same age when my career really kicked off and we were both from Australia, I saw myself in him. When he came in to audition for The Patriot, he was very nervous. His audition was by no means the most polished. But he had this magnetism, this X factor, and we all just wanted to watch the guy. When he passed, he was just about to take the next step. The terrible tragedy of his loss is all that potential. I wanted to see what he was going to do next. —Mel Gibson

It's Tom Hanks vs. Mel Gibson as SAG Splits Into Strike Camps

All work and no contract has made members of the Screen Actors Guild a surly bunch.

While support for an actors' strike was already running thin thanks to the industry-wide burnout still being felt from the 100-day writers' strike in 2007-08, the current state of the nation's economy—not to mention the just-underway awards season—has Hollywood up in arms over what could be another potentially disastrous work stoppage.

A select group of A-listers is in favor of authorizing a strike, should SAG leadership choose to go that route, but nearly 150 big-deal actors have now gone ahead and publicized their avowed opposition to such a move.

George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Cameron Diaz, Steve Carrell, Jennifer Garner, Charlize Theron, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman and Eva Longoria Parker are among the bold-faced names found on a petition that was sent to SAG national president Alan Rosenberg asking the board to cancel a strike-authorization vote scheduled for Jan. 2.

"We feel very strongly that SAG members should not vote to authorize a strike at this time," the petition read. "We don't think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool. It must be looked at as what it is—an agreement to strike if negotiations fail.

"We support our union and we support the issues we're fighting for, but we do not believe in all good conscience that now is the time to be putting people out of work."

David Boreanaz, Ewan McGregor, Sally Field, Michael C. Hall, Felicity Huffman, Rob Lowe, Kevin Spacey, Josh Brolin, Pierce Brosnan, Glenn Close, Donald Sutherland, Billy Crystal, Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer, Edward Norton, Tobey Maguire, Bradley Whitford and Helen Hunt also lent their signatures to the document.

Then again, plenty of A- and B-listers are in favor of authorizing a strike, having signed a "Statement of Support" for Rosenberg & Co.'s studio-fighting tactics.

Among the 30 prominent thesps who will stand by SAG if it chooses to play even harder ball are Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Martin Sheen, Sandra Oh, Jerry O'Connell and Rob Morrow.

SAG's contract with the studio-representing Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers expired June 30 and actors have been working under the terms of their own deal ever since.

As was the case with the Writers Guild of America, SAG continues to quibble over new-media residuals and other compensation-related issues.

The AMPTP's response to SAG's upcoming vote was as follows: "SAG members are going to be asked to bail out a failed negotiating strategy by going on strike during one of the worst economic crises in history. We hope that working actors will study our contract offer carefully and come to the conclusion that no strike can solve the problems that have been created by SAG's own failed negotiation strategy."


MEL Gibson, in town for the Global Green USA Gala, having drinks with hotelier Vikram Chatwal at the Ava Lounge in the Dream Hotel, where Gibson was staying.

Mel Gibson Facing Passion-ate Deposition

Looks like Mel Gibson is in for a grilling.

A Los Angeles judge has tentatively ordered the Oscar winner to sit for a deposition in a battle over money from his mega-hit, The Passion of the Christ.

Screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald claims he was screwed out of $10 million from the 2004 blockbuster and wants to ask Gibson to explain why.

Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon says he expects to finalize his ruling by the end of the day.

According to Fitzgerald's court documents, Gibson got the writer to accept a lower-than-normal fee to cowrite Passion by insisting it was a very low-budget indie production and that Gibson himself would refrain from taking any revenue until he had properly compensated his crew.

Some $600 million later, Fitzgerald wants some payback.

Gibson has been trying to keep the potentially embarrassing spat on the down-low. He succuessfully convinced the judge to keep all his money matters out of the public eye—only the dueling lawyers can go over the books.

Gibson was also trying to dodge the deop to avoid answering questions about how he budgeted Passion and to justify some unusual line items, such as why he charged his kids' school tuition to the production.

In a court delcaration, Gibson claims he was in the dark about such matters, insisting his production company's accountant handled the cash flow.

The actor also says he is super busy right now shooting the Martin Campbell-directed thriller Edge of Darkness, Gibson's first starring role since 2000's What Women Want.

"Production would be severely disrupted if I had to miss a day or more of shooting to attend (a) deposition in Los Angeles," Gibson states, adding that he's in practically ever scene.

But his lawyer says that if the judge orders him to be deposed, he'll find some time to squeeze it in.


MEL Gibson, in Massachusetts shooting his newest movie, "Edge of Darkness," eating with his bodyguard in a private room at Judie's restaurant in Amherst.

Gibson Among Most Generous Stars

She's been named as the highest-paid TV celebrity and one of the world's most powerful women, but American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey is also a big giver, topping a list of the 30 most generous celebrities for the second year running.

The second annual list, compiled by The Giving Back Fund, a group that seeks to encourage philanthropy, put Oprah in the top slot with The Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Oprah's Angel Network spending $50.2 million in 2007 on education, health care, and advocacy for women and children worldwide.

Winfrey is a former Bob Hope Humanitarian Award winner, but her girls' academy in South Africa made headlines last year after a former dormitory matron was charged with abusing students.

Second place on the list, published in the latest edition of Parade magazine, went to trumpeter and A&M records co-founder Herb Alpert with The Herb Alpert Foundation spending $13 million on education, including the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Singer-actress Barbra Streisand came third in the list that was based on public records of donations made in 2007, with $11 million donated by The Streisand Foundation to the environment, women's issues, civil rights, AIDS research, and advocacy.

Fourth place went to Paul Newman who gave $10 million to the Scholarship for Kenyon College, his alma mater in Gambier, Ohio, while Mel Gibson was in the fifth slot, giving $9.9 million to the Holy Family Church in Malibu, California.

Three actors set to join Gibson in "Darkness"

Danny Huston, Shawn Roberts and Bojana Novakovic have joined the Mel Gibson-starring thriller "Edge of Darkness."

"Darkness," which Martin Campbell is directing for Warner Bros., centers on a veteran cop (Gibson) whose only grown-up child (Novakovic) is murdered on the steps of his home. The cop unearths his daughter's secret life and discovers a world of corporate cover-ups and government collusion. Huston takes the role of a shady businessman while Roberts will play the daughter's distraught boyfriend.

Robert De Niro is also in the film, cast as a CIA employee.

William Monahan and Andrew Bovell wrote the screenplay.

Huston just completed shooting Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and will next be seen in "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People."

Novakovic will be seen in Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" as well as the Will Smith-starring "Seven Pounds."

Roberts recently completed filming a lead role in Fox Atomic's "I Love You, Beth Cooper" for director Chris Columbus and appeared in "George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead."

Writer revises 'Passion' lawsuit against Gibson

A screenwriter's lawsuit seeking higher payments from Mel Gibson and others for "The Passion of the Christ" has just completed its first edit.

The suit was originally filed in February. A judge ordered attorneys for screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald to rewrite the complaint last month, saying it lacked specificity and seemed to take a "chain letter" approach.

Fitzgerald's lawyers filed their rewrite Monday against Gibson, Icon Productions, Marquis Films and others over payments for the screenplay. The suit seeks at least $10 million, claiming that Gibson and others vastly understated the budget for the 2004 blockbuster.

Fitzgerald claims the result is that he was underpaid for his work on the film, which he says began in 2001. His suit also claims that Gibson told him the actor didn't want to make any money off the film because he considered it "a personal gift to his faith."

Fitzgerald's amended suit seeks portions of the proceeds from home video, cable and other distribution outlets.

Britney and Mel's Cigar Club Rendezvous

Britney Spears and Mel Gibson had a smokin' date Tuesday night – at an exclusive Beverly Hills cigar club.

For more than two-and-a-half hours, the singer, 26, and the actor-filmmaker, 52, met in what was confirmed to PEOPLE as a more of an ongoing guidance session than a business pow-wow.

For their rendezvous at the members-only Havana Club, both showed up separately shortly before 7 p.m., well into the third game of the NBA finals between the L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics, which was playing at the bar. As for the smoking and watering hole itself, habitués include Ben Affleck, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Danny DeVito.

When Spears arrived, her bodyguard drove a Jeep Commander into the underground parking garage, and she exited with her blonde hair up and pulled back by a white headband. Also with Spears were her assistant Brett and a bodyguard.

"She looked pretty in her new Capri jeans a blue blouse, white shoes and a brown bag," says a photographer. Earlier in the day, Spears was seen shopping at the Lisa Kline boutique in Beverly Hills, where she purchased the new jeans and tried on several necklaces.

"Britney looked like a doll with bright red lipstick," added the photog, who described her as "very quiet" and "with a serious look on her face as she walked in to the Havana Club."

By contrast, an upbeat Gibson left his silver Lexus with the valet and walked in holding what was described as a "man-purse" up to his face and a look of "okay, you got me" as paparazzi snapped his picture.

Around 9:30, Spears left the club for home, while Gibson hung around until about 11.

The two – once neighbors inside a Malibu enclave (Spears now lives in a gated community in Studio City) – began being seen in public together in March, at dinner in a restaurant. It was then learned that Gibson and his wife, Robin, had been looking in on Spears once she had checked out the hospital in February.

In May, Gibson and his wife, and Spears and her father, all vacationed together in Costa Rica.


HAS Hollywood forgiven Mel Gibson for his drunken anti-Semitic rant two years ago? One source said, "He's a pariah in Hollywood," adding that studios have refused to distribute Gibson's next movie, "Edge of Darkness." But independent producer Graham King told us, "The only reason I didn't sell the movie [to a studio] is I had to get a SAG waiver. If I had a distribution deal with a studio, I never would have gotten the waiver." The Screen Actors Guild is expected to go on strike June 30, and shooting for "Edge of Darkness" is slated to start Aug. 18. Asked if there was a boycott against Gibson, King, who won an Oscar for "The Departed," said, "I don't think so. We took the movie to Cannes. I sold the movie in Israel. It surprised the hell out of me." William Morris agency chairman Jim Wiatt said, "It's not true that the studios won't work with Mel. He's been offered movies by Fox and Warner Bros. and others."

Update: Brit 'n' Mel Become Bon Voyage BFFs

A source in Costa Rica tells E! that Britney Spears arrived with Mel Gibson at 3:18 p.m. local time.

Upon arrival, Britney looked calm, albeit tired, from the trip. Along with Gibson, his wife, Robin, and Britney's father, Jamie Spears, some unidentified youngsters also got off the plane.

An immigration executive boarded their jet to complete the necessary paperwork and, about an hour later, the group took off on a smaller private plane for the province of Guanacaste, in the northwest part of Costa Rica bordering Nicaragua.

Local press are reporting the pop star will be vacationing on Gibson's coastal property along Playa Barrigona.

Britney Spears and Mel Gibson Vacation Together

Britney Spears and Mel Gibson are headed to Costa Rica where they will vacation with the singer's father and Gibson's wife, a source tells PEOPLE.

"They're just going away for a few days to relax," says a source.

The group plan to stay at Gibson's Costa Rican home. They will be back early next week.

The unlikely pair were first spotted together back in mid-March when they dined at Russian restaurant Romanov in Studio City. However, it wasn't their first meeting. Gibson and Spears and their families met a number of times after the pop star was hospitalized in February, a different source told PEOPLE at the time.

"Mel and his wife Robin clearly saw a woman in crisis and wanted to extend themselves in any way possible," the source said.

Gibson and Spears used to be neighbors when the singer previously lived in Malibu. "There are no expectations, there is no agenda," the source added. "It's simply an act of human kindness – one neighbor reaching out to the other."

Mel Gibson's Passion Profits Covered

Just how much it cost to turn the The Passion of the Christ into the eventual cash cow it became is going to remain a secret.

A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday approved Mel Gibson's motion to keep his financials under wraps as he fights a fraud lawsuit filed in February by the scribe who cowrote the Passion screenplay.

The info will be kept sealed and will only be available to Gibson's and plaintiff Benedict Fitzgerald's lawyers. Fitzgerald claims he was cheated out of his rightful cut of the loot because Gibson assured him it would be a low-budget feature and that he himself wouldn't be taking any proceeds until all the cast and crew had been paid.

Gibson's crew, meanwhile is looking to have six out of the nine allegations against him, including the fraud claim, dismissed. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for June 20.

Gibson Returns To Screen

MEL Gibson - in his first movie role in six years - will star in the thriller "Edge of Darkness" as a cop unraveling the murder of his activist daughter. Gibson, 52, who had been concentrating on directing ("The Passion of the Christ" and "Apocalypto"), hasn't worked since his drunk-driving arrest on July 28, 2006, when he spewed anti-Semitic remarks at the arresting officer. The devout Catholic apologized for his hateful words and chalked it up to alcoholism. Despite that incident, Gibson's rep, Alan Neirob, insisted yesterday, "There has never been any shortage of film offers for Mel. It's always been and continues to be Mel's choice when and if he wants to work." Martin Campbell, who directed "Casino Royale," will helm the adaptation of the popular BBC miniseries. William Monahan, of "The Departed" fame, penned the script. "Darkness" will be bankrolled by Graham King and starts filming in August in Boston.

Mel Gibson to star in first movie since 2002

Mel Gibson, who has kept a low profile since his drunken anti-Semitic outburst in July 2006, is set to headline his first feature film since 2002, Daily Variety reported on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old Hollywood actor has committed to play a police investigator in "Edge of Darkness," a thriller based on a 1985 BBC miniseries, the trade publication said.

Gibson's last feature starring roles were in the 2002 pair "Signs" and "We Were Soldiers." He went on to direct 2004's "The Passion of the Christ" and 2006's "Apocalypto."

The latter film came out shortly after Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving near his Malibu home. During the incident, he yelled to officers that Jews were "responsible for all the wars in the world." He apologized profusely soon after, met with Jewish leaders, and underwent treatment for alcoholism. He is also serving a three-year probation term.

Gibson will find himself on the other side of the law in "Edge of Darkness," playing a straitlaced cop who uncovers systemic corruption while investigating the death of his activist daughter, Daily Variety said.

It added that Gibson had long been a fan of the miniseries, and was receptive when producer Graham King and director Martin Campbell approached him several months ago. Shooting on the independently financed project begins in Boston in August.

The Boston setting proved a gold mine for King and "Edge" screenwriter William Monahan, who won Oscars for their work on the Martin Scorsese crime drama "The Departed." For his part, Campbell most recently revived the James Bond franchise with "Casino Royale."

Mel Gibson visits Mexican prison, reportedly to scout locations for film

Mel Gibson has visited a prison in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz where local officials said he is scouting locations for a new movie.

Gibson has told reporters outside Veracruz's Ignacio Allende prison that it is hard for him to speak in front of microphones.

But the Veracruz state director of cinema says the purpose of Sunday's visit is to see locations.

Prospero Rebolledo says Gibson's people are just looking for locations for a film, "there is no script, right now they are looking precisely for places to do it."

Gibson filmed his 2006 film "Apocalypto" in another part of Veracruz state.

Mel Gibson fights 'Passion' lawsuit

Mel Gibson, who is being sued by a writer over payment for the screenplay of his movie "The Passion of the Christ," wants to keep financial information about the blockbuster film out of the public eye.

Benedict Fitzgerald claimed in his February lawsuit that Gibson misled him into accepting a small payment for writing the script by saying the movie would cost between $4 million to $7 million.

Fitzgerald, who shared screenwriting credits with Gibson, claimed he agreed to "a salary substantially less than what he would have taken had he known the true budget for the film," which the lawsuit claimed was $25 million to $50 million. The lawsuit claims fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and seeks unspecified damages.

In court papers filed Tuesday, attorneys for Gibson and his production company asked the court to seal the movie's financial records and only allow Fitzgerald's lawyers access to them. The information details the movie's domestic and foreign box office receipts, production costs and distribution expenses.

The defence is also seeking to dismiss some of Fitzgerald's claims, including fraud, which if proven would allow Fitzgerald to seek punitive damages.

Mel Tries to Dismantle Passion Suit

Mel Gibson is looking to cut this lawsuit down to size.

In court documents filed Tuesday, the actor's legal camp requested a judge dismiss six of nine accusations leveled at Gibson by a peeved writer who says he was defrauded into taking a pay cut for his work on The Passion of the Christ screenplay.

Benedict Fitzgerald, who cowrote the script with Gibson, alleged in his Feb. 11 complaint that he was told the film's budget was between $4 million and $7 million and that Gibson wouldn't be taking a cut of the proceeds until his crew and actors had been paid. The scribe therefore agreed to a "relatively small salary," two $75,000 bonuses and 5 percent of the theatrical revenues.

An audit showed the revenue participation statements he received were off by more than $30 million, Fitzgerald claims.

Gibson notably wants the fraud allegation tossed, stating that the writer had to have known the actual budget of the film, since estimated at $30 million, thanks to the large amount of publicity the project attracted.

"Given the tremendous marketing campaign behind The Passion, the unprecedented publicity generated before, during and after its release, and plaintiff's unbridled enthusiasm for the project, there is little doubt [he] was on notice as to the actual budget and production," the new filing states.

Also thanks to all that publicity—both positive and negative, if memory serves—The Passion of the Christ went on to gross $370 million domestically.

"Moreover, it is objectively unreasonable for the plaintiff to contend that he had no reason to suspect either the size of the budget—or the fact that Mel Gibson profited from the film—seven months after he alleges that he received his first participation statement on June 28, 2004," the Oscar winner's lawyer contends.

Fitzgerald also waited too long to sue, the motion states, and he hasn't given any good reason for the delay.

A hearing is scheduled for June 20. Gibson's Icon Productions, which was also behind his 2006 opus Apocalypto, is also named as a defendant.

Unexplained Death at Mel Gibson's House

A man was found dead at one of Mel Gibson's Los Angeles-area homes Wednesday morning in what appears to have been a suicide.

The Lost Hills Sheriff's Department received a 911 call at 8:09 a.m. alerting authorities to a man hanging from the rafter of a house on Sierra Creek Road in Agoura Hills, L.A. County Sheriff's Department Det. Eddie Brown told E! News.

"Detectives along with paramedics arrived at the scene and the gentleman was pronounced dead on arrival. Cause of death will be determined by the Los Angeles Coroner's office,” Brown said.

The name of the deceased is not being released at this time, but TMZ, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, is reporting that the man was a 47-year-old construction worker.

Gibson was not at the house when the body was discovered, nor is he currently in residence there as it's undergoing renovations. Agoura Hills is just a few miles away from the Oscar winner's Malibu abode.

Source: Mel & Britney Have Been 'Meeting Regularly'

Mel Gibson and Britney Spears's dinner over the weekend wasn't their first meeting.

The pair and their families have met a number of times since Spears checked out from her second hospitalization last month, a source tells PEOPLE.

"Mel and his wife Robin clearly saw a woman in crisis and wanted to extend themselves in any way possible," the source says.

"There's just a handful of people in the world who understand the kind of intense attention that Britney goes through, and how to raise a family with some semblance of privacy and how to keep one's family intact and out of the limelight," the source adds.

"There are no expectations, there is no agenda. It's simply an act of human kindness – one neighbor reaching out to the other."

Gibson and Spears used to be neighbors when the singer previously lived in Malibu.

Britney's Surprise Dinner Date: Mel Gibson

Only on Planet Britney. On Saturday Britney Spears started the day with another visit from her sons Preston and Jayden, and ended the evening at an exotic Russian restaurant for a dinner meeting with Mel Gibson.

The actor and the pop star – once neighbors in an exclusive Malibu community – were part of a two-hour group dinner at the Romanov restaurant in Studio City on Saturday.

"It was exciting to have both of them here together," says one restaurant source. "We heard they hit it off and that Britney seemed excited."

Clad in jeans, a green top and boots and chewing gum, Spears arrived at the Romanov restaurant with her friend Victoria. Gibson, accompanied by a few friends, soon joined them in the restaurant's private dining room, which features a 24-karat gold leaf ceiling, an ornate fireplace and a library stocked with such works as Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. For two hours the group dined on filet mignon and Russian specialties, and drank water and soft drinks.

Leaving the restaurant for her Studio City home around 8:15, Spears "looked happy," says an observer, "so it seems the meeting was a success."

All's Well with Mel's Probation

Mel Gibson has been living by the court-ordered book.

A judge said Wednesday he is pleased with the progress the actor has made while fulfilling the terms of his probation stemming from his bizarre DUI bust in July 2006.

After pleading no contest to misdemeanor driving under the influence a few weeks later, he was given three years' probation, fined $1,400 and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for four and a half months, five days a week.

Although Malibu Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira complimented Gibson's recent behavior during the 20-minute progress-report hearing, he said the Braveheart star is still on probation for the next 18 months.

"You're on your own now with the self-help groups, so this is the most difficult time for you," Mira said. "Good luck to you as you continue on your rehabilitation."

"Thank you, Your Honor," Gibson replied.

Before Wednesday's hearing, Mira denied requests by numerous media outlets to bring cameras into the proceedings after the actor's attorney, Blair Berk, informed him during a sidebar conference that her client has been targeted by stalkers and has several restraining orders in place.

"People who are the subject of a restraining order are apparently encouraged to violate those orders by the view of the subject in public," the judge said.

Gibson waved to the TV cameras and paparazzi inevitably stationed outside the courthouse as he left through a back door.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker was memorably arrested for DUI on July 28, 2006, after a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy clocked him going 87 mph in a 45-mph zone on Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway.

He registered a 0.12 percent blood-alcohol level and was taken into custody, but not before he directed a barrage of anti-Semitic epithets at the arresting officer—a detail of the arrest that originally was missing from the Sheriff's Department's official report but was promptly leaked to TMZ.

An investigation conducted last year by the Office of Independent Review found that three law enforcement officers gave Gibson additional preferential treatment, aside from initially censoring his unflattering arrest report, although the infractions were attributed to "concern" for the sensitivity of the situation rather than a cover-up.

Among the breaks in protocol: Gibson was not palm-printed upon his release, a standard procedure, and an on-duty deputy drove him from the jail to the impound lot to retrieve his car without getting permission from a supervisor.

While the aftermath for the officers was relatively mild—wrist slaps all around—it was Gibson who was publicly flayed.

The actor issued multiple public apologies for his comments, eventually telling Diane Sawyer his arrest was "kind of a blessing," that he needed "public humiliation on a global scale" in order to finally get sober.

Passion Screenwriter Sues Mel Gibson

The co-screenwriter of The Passion of the Christ has sued Mel Gibson for $5 million, alleging Gibson conspired against him to deprive him of fair compensation and keep more money for himself.

In the 21-page complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Benedict Fitzgerald accuses Gibson of fraud, breach of contract and unfair business practices.

"Gibson preyed monetarily on Ben, taking advantage of his unbridled enthusiasm for the project and with full cognizance of Ben's fundamental personal and spiritual beliefs," the lawsuit says.

Fitzgerald claims Gibson, who also takes a screenwriting credit on the 2004 film, engaged in a "chronic and conspiratorial pattern of deceit," telling Fitzgerald he'd be working on a small, $4 million to $7 million project that would yield little money for Fitzgerald and none for Gibson.

Although by some accounts the film grossed over $600 million worldwide, Fitzgerald complains he was paid $75,000 and that he had to borrow $200,000 from Gibson for expenses.

George R. Hedges, an attorney for Gibson's production company, Icon, says the lawsuit "is utterly baseless and the charges are utterly baseless."

He says he cannot divulge Fitzgerald's total compensation on the film, but Fitzgerald "was handsomely compensated – a very significant amount of money for any writer on any project."

Mel Gibson Honored by Irish

Irish eyes are smiling on Mel Gibson.

The actor-filmmaker will receive recognition from the Irish Film and TV Academy for his contribution to world cinema and Irish cinema in particular on Sunday, Feb. 17, reports Variety.

"His drive, vision and determination have inspired so many young Irish filmmakers over the past three decades," said Aine Moriarty, chief executive of the IFTA. "Braveheart," a movie set in Scotland, was shot in Ireland.

Gibson also has Irish roots: his mother and paternal great-grandfather hailed from the Emerald Isle.

Gibson, 52, won best picture and best director Oscars for 1995's "Braveheart." His most recent credits include "Apocalypto" and "The Passion of the Christ" (directing) and "The Singing Detective" and "Signs" (acting).

Hollywood Reeling From Heath Ledger's Death

Hollywood reacted with shock Tuesday to the death of Heath Ledger.

"I had such great hope for him," says Mel Gibson, a fellow Australian. "He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

Another Aussie, Nicole Kidman, says: "What a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family."

Ledger, 28, died just days after the death another young actor, 25-year-old Brad Renfro, who starred in The Client and Apt Pupil.

Ledger, nominated for an Academy Award for Brokeback Mountain, appears in the upcoming Batman feature The Dark Knight as the Joker, and was shooting The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death.

"Heath Ledger was a courageous actor, and a great soul. He gave us the gift of sharing his fearless and beautiful love – of his craft, and of all who worked with him – for which all of us will be eternally grateful," says James Schamus, CEO of Focus Features and the the producer of Brokeback Mountain.

In a statement issued by Warner Bros., which is producing The Dark Night, Alan Horn, president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros., and Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said: "The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. The entertainment community has lost an enormous talent. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person. Our hearts go out to his family and friends."

The Biggest Celebrity Paydays Of 2007

It’s been 30 years since the release of the original Star Wars, yet for director-producer George Lucas, the force is still with him, big time. In May, Hasbro, the world’s second-largest toymaker, paid Lucas $200 million to buy back nearly 16 million warrants for Hasbro stock the company awarded him in 1997 as part of a Star Wars toy licensing renewal deal. ( Star Wars merchandise--think Jedi action figures and play light sabers--has been Hasbro’s top-selling franchise among boys for the second year running.)

That buyout earned Lucas the top spot on Forbes’ list of the Biggest Celebrity Paydays of 2007. In all, the 20 celebrities on the list earned over $1 billion in just 20 days.

All figures are not deducted for capital gains or other relevant taxes, unless noted. Actor advances for films were not included, since such payouts can vary depending on when a film begins shooting. As such, it is virtually impossible to pin down the actual payday.

True, most of us can’t recall what we made in a single day. But these aren’t ordinary days for the members of this list. June 7, for example, was the single highest earning payday in the life of drug dealer-turned-rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. ”Fitty” (as he is sometimes called) hooked up with Glacéau, maker of the trendy Vitaminwater health drinks, back in 2004, letting it sell a flavor named for him--Formula 50--in exchange for a small equity stake in the company.

Jackson told Forbes he predicted Coca-Cola would snap up the fledgling company. Sure enough, on June 7, Coca Cola acquired Glacéau for $4.1 billion, netting the rapper $100 million a month before his 31st birthday. That payout earned him the No. 2 slot on the Forbes Celebrity Paydays list.

Radio shock job Howard Stern, who topped last year’s list, ranks No. 3 this year thanks to the $82 million stock bonus he earned from his bosses at Sirius for boosting subscriptions for a second year in a row.

Celebrity-owned businesses proved extremely lucrative last year. Jay-Z banked $82 million (before taxes) when he sold his urban apparel line Rocawear to Iconix Brand Group in a deal topping $204 million. And former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar pocketed $80 million in May when Gruppo Campari, maker of Campari and Skyy vodka, bought the rocker’s Cabo Wabo tequila brand in May.

“Golden Boy” boxer Oscar De La Hoya nabbed the No. 7 spot on the list thanks to the record-breaking $55 million purse he won from his May title fight against Floyd Mayweather. Though Mayweather won the 12-round fight for the welterweight title, he took home just $25 million--only enough to earn him the No. 14 rank. But Mayweather has two top earning paydays in 2007. Seven months after his victory over De La Hoya, he snagged another $25 million when he beat Britain’s Ricky Hatton in a 10th round TKO.

Six celebrities made the list after unloading their pricey spreads. Both Courteney Cox and Mel Gibson dumped their beach-front Malibu manses. Designer Vera Wang and music impresario David Geffen sold their Manhattan apartments. (Sale prices are before broker fees and relevant taxes.)

Foppish actor Hugh Grant exploited the art market’s insatiable appetite for Andy Warhol when he auctioned off his iconic painting of Elizabeth Taylor for $23.5 million. He bought the piece in 2001 for just under $4 million.

And the list’s most long-awaited entry: hockey star Mario Lemieux. Nearly 10 years after he bailed the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins out from bankruptcy, Lemieux finally enjoyed a long-overdue payday. The organization paid him $21 million in October after a debt restructuring. Though it’s hard to imagine Lemieux popped any champagne, he was originally owed $32 million in back pay.

Kathy Hilton's pals help raise funds

Kathy Hilton thinks you might want to own a pair of Mel Gibson's jeans, Dean Martin's golf club or Tom Cruise's autographed Ray-Ban shades.

That's why she collected these and two dozen other items from her famous friends and put them up for sale on eBay. Money raised from the online auction will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"Christmas is my favorite time of year," said Hilton, mom to famous daughters Paris and Nicky. "I worked with Make-A-Wish before, and I wanted to do something really special for Christmas."

Hilton said she turned her bedroom into an office and worked the phones for a week straight, calling "different celebrities and sports figures and just seeing what I could get."

Even she was impressed with the take, which includes a pair of Johnny Carson's cuff links, Lucille Ball's teacup and saucer, and an "Ocean's Thirteen" script signed by the film's cast.

"I love the Tom Cruise sunglasses," Hilton said. "I would love to have any one of these things."

The online auction ends Wednesday.

"Hopefully this goes well and I'll make it an annual thing," Hilton said. But she won't be able to check out the items online: "I don't know how to work the computer."

Report: Paris Not Pampered; Mel's Another Story

The official word is in: Something was definitely not kosher about the way officials handled Mel Gibson's infamous 2006 DUI arrest.

According to a just released report from the Office of Independent Review, three employees working in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department violated policy in connection with the actor's booze-fueled anti-Semitic bust.

But when it came to Paris Hilton's equally high-profile jailhouse merry-go-round earlier this year, the report says there was no celebrity favoritism involved. More on that later.

As for the Gibson mess, the OIR, an oversight body charged with annually analyzing the Sheriff's internal investigations, found that "the violations resulted from the decision about when and how to release Mr. Gibson from custody."

Without naming names, the report said two sergeants and one jailer were involved and all received wrist slaps for their roles.

Per the OIR, the trio was found to have given preferential treatment to the Oscar winner during his arrest and his time in custody.

For instance, Gibson was not palm printed, as is customary, upon his release from custody. The review also found that, once released, a deputy on duty drove Gibson directly from the jail to the impound lot to retrieve his car, without first receiving approval from a supervisor.

As for some of the more egregious breaches on Gibson's behalf, the review confirmed that officers censored of the actor's post-arrest comments—"sugar tits," anyone?—"to deflect attention from alleged inflammatory statements that he made."

Four pages of the original arrest report, which detailed Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade, just so happened to have been pulled from the file once the actor's arrest was made public.

Per the OIR, a supervisor attempted to bury the offending pages, though the decision to do so was later overruled by a captain. However, while the actions taken by the officials were found to be in violation of the department's policy, the review determined that the misconduct was done out of concern, not a cover-up, and was overall a "fairly sensible" response.

"Because of a concern about certain information gathered during the arrest falling prematurely into the hands of media sources and because there was no clear Departmental guidance provided on how to handle this scenario presented, supervisors made spontaneous decisions with regard to how to package the information and describe the arrest," said the report, according to a copy leaked to TMZ.

"While these decisions do not indicate a violation of department policy, and were fairly sensible, they do point out the need for creating a thoughtful and systematic approach for how to handle future scenarios."

For their indiscretions, two of the three employees received a written reprimand, while the third received a one-day suspension without pay.

On Aug. 17, 2006, Gibson pleaded no contest to one charge of misdemeanor drunk driving. The actor, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent when he was busted on July 28, 2006, was given three years' probation, ordered to pay $1,400 in fines and attend four and a half months of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings five days a week, a course of rehabilitation he completed in August.

As for the department's dealings with Hilton, the OIR found employees had acted well within the proper scope of their authority in the heiress' probation-violation circus.

Despite an outcry when Hilton was initially granted an early release from jail by the Sheriff's Department—flouting the judge's order that she serve out her full 45-day term—"the investigations surrounding the Hilton jailing have, to date, not resulted in any founded violations of policy."

Mel Gibson visits Costa Rica

Mel Gibson met with several Costa Rican government ministers to discuss setting up a film production company in the Central American country.

The 51-year-old actor/director met Tuesday with the ministers of commerce, tourism and economy at an exclusive hotel in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

"I'm here exploring opportunities to establish my film business in Costa Rica," Gibson told Channel 13 on Wednesday.

Gibson, star of Hollywood blockbusters such as the "Lethal Weapon" series and director of last year's Mayan epic "Apocalypto," said he is considering Costa Rica because "it's a beautiful country, very stable."

"I like its people a lot and they have very good coffee."

Gibson already owns a house in Guanacaste on the country's Pacific coast.

In July, he met with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to discuss making a financial donation to the nation's Indians.

Mel Gibson Shows Up at American Gangster Premiere

Mel Gibson, who has been out of the public eye for most of the year, turned out for the L.A. premiere of American Gangster on Monday night, curious to see a movie made by three of his friends – Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott.

"These three big players here ... they're all friends of mine," Gibson told Extra. "I'm an admirer of their work individually. I just want to see what they can cook up together, you know."

Gibson, 51, whose last directorial effort was 2006's Apocalypto, said he could see himself working with all three in future. "Maybe I'd like to direct [a movie] with all of them in it, including Ridley," he said.

We Hear...

THAT Mel Gibson, who owns two houses in Malibu, is buying lots of land in Costa Rica . . .

Mel Gibson set to back tire recycling

The shares will be listed in London, the source added.

Petra's public relations consultant, Catherine Ong Associates, declined to comment on Green Rubber's listing plans but confirmed that Gibson is in Singapore as a guest of Sekhar.

A report in Rubber and Plastics News on August 20 said Gibson is a minority investor in Green Rubber, which aims to use environmentally friendly technology to "devocalize" old tires and convert them into rubber that can be reused.

Old tires are currently incinerated and dumped in landfills.

Gibson is best known for his roles in "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon," while Sekhar was listed by Forbes Magazine in June as Malaysia's 16th richest man with assets of $350 million.

Everything's Kosher in Gibson Case

Mel Gibson's doing a bang-up job paying his debt to society.

A Malibu judge on Thursday praised the Apocalypto director for his positive progress—stemming from last summer's infamous booze-fueled, anti-Semitic-laced DUI bust—in what was the star's final progress hearing on the matter.

Gibson himself was a no-show in court—his presence was not required, though his well-credentialed attorney, Blair Berk (who also happens to be handling Lindsay Lohan's burgeoning DUI collection), was there in his stead to soak up the judicial props.

Berk confirmed at the brief hearing that Gibson had completed the required course of action stemming from his no-contest plea last August, including attending four and a half months of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which he was required to attend five days a week, and paying $1,400 in fines.

On July 28, 2006, the 51-year-old Oscar winner was busted on a drunken-driving charge after a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy clocked him driving 87 mph in a 45-mph zone. Upon his arrest, Gibson infamously launched into a sexist and anti-Semitic tirade—in which he claimed, among other things, that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

A month later, the actor, who registered a 0.12 blood-alcohol level, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI.

In addition to his daily AA meetings and the fines, Judge Lawrence J. Mira also sentenced Gibson to three years' probation.

At Thursday's hearing, Mira said any additional AA meetings Gibson chose to attend would be on a strictly voluntary basis.

Gibson's gold-star report followed a court check-in last May, in which Mira again praised the Braveheart mastermind for his "extensive work, beyond which was required" in rehabilitation, saying he believed the course of treatment employed by Gibson was "effective."

While Thursday was Gibson's last progress report, the actor was ordered to appear in front of Mira for another hearing Feb. 15, 2008.

Mel Gibson meets Guatemala's president

Mel Gibson dined with Guatemala's president and admired Mayan murals in the capital's cultural palace after a weekend jungle visit.

The 51-year-old actor-director visited the Palace of Culture on Monday, where President Oscar Berger showed him contemporary murals portraying aspects of Mayan life and the Spanish conquest.

Afterward, the two men had lunch at the presidential palace.

Gibson has visited the country many times as a tourist, said Krista Kepfer, a spokeswoman for Berger.

"He is very interested in Guatemala as a tourist destination and in the culture," she said.

Over the weekend, Gibson visited the Mayan ruins of El Mirador deep in the northern Peten jungle, Kepfer said.

The visit was private and neither Gibson nor Berger made any statements to the news media.

Gibson, 51, starred in the "Lethal Weapons" movies and directed of "The Passion of The Christ" and "Apocalypto." He won best director and best picture Oscars in 1996 for "Braveheart."

Mel Gibson meets with Costa Rican leader

Actor and director Mel Gibson met with Costa Rica's president on Monday to discuss making a financial donation to help the Central American nation's Indians.

"He wants to help the indigenous population here and wants to know how to channel the funds," President Oscar Arias told reporters outside his home, where he met with Gibson for about an hour.

Arias said Gibson — who starred in such Hollywood blockbusters as the "Lethal Weapon" series and directed last year's Mayan epic "Apocalypto" — would return to Costa Rica in a month to arrange how much money he would donate and to which organization.

Gibson has avoided the press in prior trips to Costa Rica, but spent a few minutes answering questions from reporters.

Asked about Arias, the winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on a peace deal that ended Central America's civil wars, Gibson said: "I'm a fan."

The actor acknowledged buying a house in Guanacaste on the country's Pacific coast, and jokingly asked reporters if they wanted the address.

"Apocalypto" battles to top of DVD charts

Mel Gibson's brutal tale of ancient Maya, "Apocalypto," took the top spot on the latest national DVD sales and rental charts Wednesday.

The film, which grossed $50.9 million in theaters last year, bumped "Pan's Labyrinth" to No. 2 on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart and Home Media Magazine's rental chart in the week ended May 27.

"Apocalypto" generated an estimated $6 million in rental revenue in its first week, while "Labyrinth" brought in $5.6 million to bring its two-week take to $12 million.

The Gibson film also trumped two other theatrical features that debuted in stores last week. "Letters From Iwo Jima," which earned $13.8 million in theaters, debuted at No. 3 on the sales chart and No. 4 on the rental chart with estimated rental revenue of $4.4 million. "Epic Movie" bowed at No. 4 on the sales chart and No. 3 on the rental chart with $5.4 million.

Gibson's grandkids confirmed in Mexico

A prominent Mexican cleric confirmed two grandchildren of Mel Gibson in a brief ceremony Tuesday attended by the director of "The Passion of The Christ."

Roman Catholic Archbishop Emeritus Carlos Quintero Arce told reporters he performed the ceremony for Gibson's grandchildren and for several adults in the chapel of his home in Hermosillo, the capital of northern Sonora state. He did not identify the adults.

Gibson spent more than an hour at Quintero's house, then left without speaking to reporters. His plane departed Hermosillo Tuesday evening.

Confirmation is a sacrament by which a baptized person is welcomed into full membership in the church.

Gibson starred in the "Lethal Weapons" movies, and his directing credits include 2004's "The Passion of The Christ" and last year's Mayan epic "Apocalypto."

Gibson and his wife, Robyn, have seven children. It was not immediately clear which of his children the confirmed grandchildren were from.

New On DVD: Apocalypto

After the firestorm over his blockbuster "Passion Of The Christ" and the condemnation over his anti-Semitic rant after a drunken-driving arrest, Mel Gibson generally avoided controversy with his lush but viscerally violent tale set among the ancient Maya. The action spectacle follows the journey of a rural villager who escapes from sadistic urban captors, leading them on a breakneck chase through the jungle as he tries to return home to save his wife and children. The DVD has a short deleted scene of a rural hunting party coming on an injured deer fleeing the incursion of invaders, "the point being that even a dumb animal had enough sense to get away," Gibson says in commentary. Gibson also offers commentary for the full film, and the DVD has a detailed making-of segment. DVD, $29.99 or less. (Disney)

Mel Making Positive Progress

Looks like a mazel tov is in order for Mel Gibson.

A Malibu judge praised the Apocalypto director during a five-minute progress hearing Friday, calling his efforts at rehabilitation in the wake of last summer's infamous booze-fueled anti-Semitic DUI arrest "extensive" and "effective."

Gibson, however, was not present in court this morning by the request of Judge Lawrence J. Mira.

"I truly believe the rehabilitation that is being effected in this case is effective, and I don't want to do anything to interrupt that," Mira said, referring to the heightened media—and paparazzi—coverage the hearing would have brought, should Gibson have been required to attend.

Mira said that he instead spoke with the absentee star earlier this week and asked Gibson's attorney, Blair Berk, whether his recovery was continuing to move in a positive direction.

"Yes," she said. "I've supplied the court with a report. He's doing extremely well. He's complied with all the terms and conditions and he's completed the program."

The program, of course, being an intensive court-ordered rehabilitation.

Last July, the 50-year-old Oscar winner was busted on a drunken driving charge. During his arrest he launched into a sexist and anti-Semitic tirade—in which he managed to not only introduce the phrase "sugar tits" into the vernacular, but also claim that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world"—against the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who clocked him driving 87-mph in a 45-mph zone.

Gibson was initially charged with driving under the influence—he measured a 0.12-percent blood-alcohol content—and having an open bottle of tequila in his vehicle. In August, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI and was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings five days a week for the following four months followed by three days a week for the next seven months and fined $1,300.

In addition, Gibson took matters of restitution into his own hands, meeting with rabbis and Jewish leaders and embarking on a media tour of contrition, none of which went unnoticed by Judge Mira.

"I know his extensive participation in a self-help program—and I should note he has done extensive work, beyond which was required."

Don Imus, Michael Richards and Isaiah Washington take note.

Mira scheduled a final progress hearing for the actor on Aug. 23, which Gibson will be required to attend, saying, "I do want to see him in court at some point to ensure we are all on the same page."

DVD review: "Payback" director's cut

This spring's best new action movie isn't in theaters. You might think you've seen it, but you probably haven't. "Payback" is back, this time kicking ass the way the director intended.

"You don't make pictures for the elite," actor-producer Mel Gibson says today, explaining why in 1998 he, Paramount and Warner Bros. Pictures took the mean-streets, mean-spirited movie away from freshman director Brian Helgeland. Gibson, reportedly, was "caught in the middle" of the mess, one insider says in the extras.

The new plan was to make Gibson's character funnier and more accessible, more like that "Lethal Weapon" guy. After 10 days of reshoots, a new third act was tacked on, a voice-over track tried to explain things a la "Blade Runner," and Kris Kristofferson walked on as a weird new player.

"I wanted the audience to be able to travel with this guy a bit more," Gibson says on the DVD.

Still, audiences were amazed at how brutal Gibson's character was when they had to "Get ready to root for the bad guy," as the marketing urged. Critics wrote it off as another promising movie desperately in search of an ending.

Same old story about artists and Hollywood. For years, Helgeland ("A Knight's Tale") has been haunted by this "ghost of an experience," says "Payback" moll Deborah Kara Unger. But this time, someone called for a rewrite of reality.

In 2005, Paramount and Gibson gave Helgeland another shot at the film. The tapes turned up missing, so the director and his editor slowly recut the work using film. And so we have "Payback: Straight Up -- The Director's Cut."

Now, this is one seriously hard-boiled movie. "We're living in a noir world here," says Helgeland, who points out that virtually everyone portrayed in the film is a crook, a dirty cop or a dirtbag.

Gibson plays Porter, a small-time robber who comes back to town looking for the partner who stole his loot and his wife. While collecting on his karmic debts, Porter takes on the syndicate and the Asian drug dealers, beats up a woman (a scene the studios wouldn't touch back then), and achieves a significant body count. Supporting actors Lucy Liu, Gregg Henry and Maria Bello all do fine work.

"It's valid," Gibson says of the new DVD version. "It's a good film. They're . . . different films."

Paramount's release doesn't include the 1999 version for comparison, unfortunately. Extras include a polite director's commentary, but the one to catch is "Same Story -- Different Movie," that spends a half-hour on the resurrection. The witnesses keep it civil, but you get a good feel for what was what.

"Payback" comes from the crime novel "The Hunter," first filmed as "Point Blank" with Lee Marvin -- an even better movie from 1969. In another interesting extra, author Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark) talks about the film and the other Porter paperback originals from the 1960s.

On the DVD version of "Payback," the audio and video are suitably rousing. They're even stronger on the high-def discs, though in places the contrasts and colors seem too jacked up for a gritty film that drifts in and out of bleach-bypass scenes. The DVD retails for $19.99, while the HD DVD and Blu-Ray Disc versions go for $29.99. Extras are the same on all three versions.

Sharp-Tongued Gibson Takes Teacher to School

Mel Gibson apparently went all Apocalypto the other night on a critical college professor after she lobbed a few pointed questions at him regarding his visually compelling yet grotesquely violent Mayan epic.

The Oscar-winning director had dropped by Cal State University Northridge in SoCal's San Fernando Valley Thursday for a meeting of Cinematheque, a movie screening program that also offers discussions and panels with contemporary filmmakers.

While Gibson's last-minute appearance may have been unexpected for some, Alicia Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American Studies, seemed prepared to take him to task for what she perceived to a stereotypical and racist depiction of the Mayas in his 2006 film.

And Gibson, probably not expecting an inquisition into his creative process, reportedly lost his cool, at one point telling Estrada to "f---k off." Then, two people, one of whom may have been Estrada, were booted from the room.

"I demand an apology not only to myself…but to the Mayan community specifically and to this university," Estrada said.

Wishful thinking on her part, perhaps?

Gibson's rep, Alan Nierob, told E! News that the Braveheart star will not be apologizing anytime soon for speaking sharply to Estrada—and why should he?

"Why would he apologize? The event organizers threw the heckler out, not Mel," Nierob said, adding that he stood by an earlier statement he made, as well: "This person was a heckler who was rude and disrupted the event, so much so that the event organizers had to escort her out."

Gibson "did his homework and consulted with world authorities on this matter," Nierob said.

Gibson's beef with Estrada apparently began after the professor started questioning whether he had "done the research" before making Apocalypto.

Lauren Robeson, the editor in chief of the Daily Sundial, CSUN's student newspaper, told E! News that Estrada asked Gibson how much research he had done and named several experts on Mayan culture and asked whether he had read any of their books.

According to Robeson, Gibson said that he was familiar with one of those authors, had visited the ruins, seen the murals and was up-to-date on his Mayan history.

Then, Estrada told him that his portrayal of the Mayans as bloodthirsty fans of human sacrifice was "inaccurate and exaggerated." (Meanwhile, event organizers kept lowering the professor's microphone, apparently hoping to avoid a scene, Robeson said.)

To which Gibson supposedly said, "Oh yes, and you are a f---king troublemaker, so f---k off."

A public relations spokesperson for CSUN explained to E! News that, about 20 minutes into the Q&A session with Gibson, held in the campus' 130-seat Alan and Elaine Armer Theater, two people interrupted the proceedings and took over the microphone.

Event organizers told them to take their seats, which they refused to do, and "Mr. Gibson did use the F-word," said the CSUN spokesperson, who would not confirm the identity of the two people. Then, campus police escorted the offending duo out of the theater and Gibson stayed another 40 minutes.

"Ninety-nine percent of the event went fine," the spokesperson said. The three and a half-hour program also feature a screening of Apocalypto.

Gibson weighs shooting movie in Panama

Mel Gibson, fresh off his Mexico-based epic "Apocalypto," is thinking of heading south to film a movie in Panama, tourism officials said Monday.

Gibson dined Sunday night with Ruben Blades, a tourism spokesman and singer, who suggested his next project should be a remake of the 1950 film noir "Panic in the Streets," set in Panama, the Panama Tourism Bureau said in a news release.

Panamanian filmmaker Jose Severino was quoted in Monday editions of the daily newspaper La Prensa as saying that he was in negotiations with Gibson to produce a movie about Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from its eastern shore.

The tourism bureau said Gibson and Blades spoke of the actor-director's experience directing "Apocalypto," an epic movie about the demise of the Mayan civilization. The movie was filmed in the jungles of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, and was released last year.

To Err Is Mel

MEL Gibson alienated a lot of people in Hollywood with his anti-Semitic tirade when he was arrested, but he's got Robert Downey Jr. on his side. Downey, whose dad is Jewish, told W magazine, "What occurred, in my estimation, was that somebody was caught in the act of being an imperfect human being." As for all the Gibson haters in Tinseltown, Downey smirked, "I really didn't know that we had 8 million morally sound people in this town. Wow, I really didn't know that. I guess I've been dining at the Ivy with, like, living saints."

2007 Oscar nominations

Sound Mixing: "Apocalypto," "Blood Diamond," "Dreamgirls," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Sound Editing: "Apocalypto," "Blood Diamond," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Makeup: "Apocalypto," "Click," "Pan's Labyrinth."

"Apocalypto" critics should do homework: Gibson

Actor and producer Mel Gibson hit back on Monday at accusations his "Apocalypto" movie misrepresents Mayan Indians as savages, accusing opponents of not doing their research.

"Those who criticize the movie should do their homework. I did," Gibson told reporters at a screening of the film in Mexico City.

Indigenous activists in Guatemala, once home to a large part of the former Mayan empire in southern Mexico and northern Central America, say "Apocalypto" is racist.

The movie has yet to open in Mexico and Guatemala but pirated DVDs are available on the streets and heart-pounding trailers have been shown in movie theaters.

Mayan critics of "Apocalypto" say scenes of scary-looking Indians with bone piercings and scarred faces hurling spears and sacrificing humans promote stereotypes about their culture.

"Apocalypto" was Gibson's first film since an anti-Semitic tirade last summer brought a barrage of negative publicity.

He produced and co-wrote the movie, which revolves around one man's quest to save himself from human sacrifice in the ancient civilization.

Spoken entirely in the Yucatec Mayan language, "Apocalypto" led the North American box office with three-day ticket sales of $14.2 million in its first weekend in December.

Mel Gibson to attend premiere in Mexico

Mel Gibson will travel to Mexico next week for the Mexican premiere of his new movie Apocalypto, about ancient Mayans, his publicist said.

Apocalypto tells the story of the Mayan people — who built a civilization in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras — and is in a Mayan language. Gibson employed Mayans for the film and has said he wants to make the Mayan language "cool" again and encourage young people "to speak it with pride."

However, the movie also depicts Mayans as being extremely violent and carrying out beheadings and human sacrifices. Some Mayans descendants in Mexico and Guatemala say the portrayal is derogatory, showing them as being savage.

Publicist Alan Nierob confirmed that Gibson will attend the premiere on Monday.

Apocalypto has broken box-office records for foreign-language films in its opening weekends in several countries, including Britain. It has also earned a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign-language film.

Mel to skip Mexico 'Apocalypto' premiere

Mel Gibson will travel to Mexico next week for a private viewing of his new movie "Apocalypto," about ancient Mayans, but won't attend the premiere or give a news conference, his publicist Alan Nierob said Thursday.

"Apocalypto" tells the story of the Mayan people — who built a civilization in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras — and is in a Mayan language. Gibson employed Mayans for the film and has said he wants to make the Mayan language "cool" again and encourage young people "to speak it with pride."

However, the movie also depicts Mayans as being extremely violent and carrying out beheadings and human sacrifices. Some Mayans descendants in Mexico and Guatemala say the portrayal is derogatory, showing them as being savage.

"Apocalypto" has broken box-office records for foreign-language films in its opening weekends in several countries, including Britain. It has also earned a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign-language film.

Italy court slaps age ban on gory Gibson film

An Italian court has barred youths under 14 from seeing Mel Gibson's gory new film, "Apocalypto," overthrowing a decision by the country's censors who had deemed the movie fit for children.

The censors drew widespread criticism from politicians and parents' associations last week when they failed to impose any age restriction on the film, unlike most countries where it has been released.

Apocalypto is set during the Mayan civilization. The main character is Jaguar Paw, a hunter whose idyllic jungle life ends when Mayan warriors attack his village, burning huts, raping women and taking men to be human sacrifices.

The most gruesome scenes involve an orgy of Mayan bloodletting meant to satisfy their gods and stem an outbreak of smallpox. Human hearts are ripped out of bodies and heads of the victims tossed down the side of a pyramid.

The court's ban is temporary pending a January 17 hearing, a lawyer for Codacons, the consumer group which brought the case in favor of setting an age-limit, said on Monday.

"Even before hearing our arguments, they've slapped the ban to safeguard minors," Codacons lawyer Marco Ramadori told Reuters.

After Italy's court ban, only Russia is screening the film without an age restriction. The film is R-rated in the United States and has an age-18 certification in Britain and Germany.

Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli, who had written to the film's distributor in Italy recommending they alert the public to the violence of some of the scenes, met the censorship commission on Monday to review current standards.

Apocalypto, which hit Italian theatres on Friday, was the second most viewed film at the weekend after James Bond's latest adventure "Casino Royale."

Gory Gibson film stirs controversy in Italy

Mel Gibson's new film, "Apocalypto," is causing a storm in Italy, where it will be released on Friday with no viewer restrictions, despite its high dose of blood and guts.

Politicians have criticized Italy's censors for allowing minors to see the film, unlike most countries where it has been released, and a leading consumer group said on Thursday it would ask a civil court to impose a ban for viewers under 14.

"The film may be very good but there are beheadings, people being torn to pieces and rapes, so it's clearly not appropriate for minors," said lawyer Marco Ramadori of the consumer group Codacons, which will lodge its appeal by the end of the week.

"We are not asking for the most violent scenes to be cut but we want the court to review the case urgently and set restrictions for those under 14."

The film, which Gibson co-wrote, directed and produced, is set during the Mayan civilization in central America.

The main character is Jaguar Paw, a hunter whose idyllic jungle life ends when warriors attack his village, burning huts, raping women and taking men to be human sacrifices. A very bloody battle ensues.

Apocalypto's Italian press agent said only Russia and Italy were screening the film, which is R-rated in the United States and has an age-18 certification in Britain and Germany, without viewer restrictions.

Italian politicians from both the ruling parties and the opposition also voiced concern.

Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli wrote a letter to Eagle Pictures, which is distributing the film in Italy, asking it to alert viewers to the movie's violent content and recommend that minors be accompanied by their parents.

However, he said he agreed with the censors' rating due to the film's "high historical value."

Gibson Deputy Claims Harassment

New year, fresh slate? Not quite when it comes to the Mel Gibson meltdown.

It's been five months since the DUI rant heard round the world and fallout from the incident shows no signs of tapering off.

James Mee, the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was the subject of Gibson's post-arrest tantrum, now claims he's been the victim of harassment and unfairly targeted by his superiors, who purportedly believe Mee leaked the unflattering details of the actor's tequila-fueled bust to the media.

Shortly after Gibson's July 28 arrest, the sheriff's department told reporters that the Apocalypto mastermind had been taken into custody "without incident." Mee's arrest report, however, told a very different story, claiming the Oscar winner was belligerent, attempted to escape custody, spouted a "barrage" of anti-Semitic sentiments and referred to a female officer as "sugar tits."

The report, which the department seemingly planned to quash, quickly found its way onto the entertainment Website While the site has never divulged the source of the leak, Mee asserts that within his department, he has been automatically—and wrongfully—pegged as the snitch.

"His life and career would be a lot different had he not made that arrest," Mee's attorney, Richard Shinee, told the Los Angeles Times in Thursday's edition.

Shinee also said that Mee was almost immediately transferred from his Malibu patrol to a post in the L.A. suburb of Agoura Hills following Gibsongate. The lawyer claims that officials told Mee his transfer was a protective measure because they worried that paparazzi may try to bait the deputy into a money-shot altercation.

Shinee told the Times that since taking on his new assignment, Mee has been routinely singled out and criticized by his supervising officers.

In August, just after the Gibson arrest, Shinee says Mee was written up by his sergeant for failing to arrive at work on time, despite the fact that his schedule had been changed without his knowledge.

On Sept. 13, shortly after his transfer, Shinee claims Mee's home computer and phone records were confiscated and that Mee underwent three hours of interrogation.

Earlier this month, Mee was called in while out on assignment and questioned over why he failed to check a box on a standard report, the lawyer says.

Sheriff's department officials have denied that any undue targeting was taking place, but they did not dispute Shinee's sequence of events.

Department investigators, however, continuing to search for the source of the leak, claiming that whoever passed along the arrest report was likely in violation of department rules.

As for Gibson, he's already on the road to personal—and career—recovery.

The Passion of the Christ director pleaded no contest to the DUI charge and was sentenced to three years' probation.

His mea culpa tour, which included tête-à-têtes with Jewish religious leaders, a public apology and an interview with Diane Sawyer, ended in October with the director claiming the arrest was "kind of a blessing" and crediting it with leading him back to sobriety.

Earlier this month, Gibson proved that despite his "brutal public beating," he still had some pull at the box office, as his Mayan-language epic Apocalypto debuted at number one (ticket sales have since cooled, and the film has grossed just $37.5 million to date) and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film.

Apocalypto Star: Mel's a 'Great Guy'

Rudy Youngblood, 25, worked pretty hard for his big-screen debut -- outrunning a jaguar, jumping off a 15-foot waterfall and mastering the Mayan language – and doing it all with Mel Gibson directing. Still, the Texas-born actor tells PEOPLE that he was up for the challenge after landing the lead role, Jaguar Paw, in Apocalypto. Youngblood, who has performed in music and dance groups, spoke about working with Gibson and what it's like to shoot scenes in a loincloth.

How did you end up meeting with Mel for the role?
I came to California to create a dance production. I was here three months and stumbled upon an open casting call. I went in all cowboy-ed up in my boots and everybody else (was) all GQ. I met with the casting director and then I came back and met with Mel. He had me run around his conference table and he said I ran like an animal and I seemed like a man's man. Later that day he called me and asked if I could get on a plane to Mexico City the next day. I thought I was flying out as a featured extra. I said, "What is this for?" And he laughed and said, "Hasn't anyone told you? This is for the lead of my film; you're the star of my movie."

What was it like to work with him?
Mel is a great guy – very smart. We automatically clicked and came together. He would look at me, and I knew what he wanted. He helped me a lot because this was my first film.

The role is pretty demanding. How did you train for it?
I am a runner, always been a runner. I box. I'm an athlete, you know. If you are a Texas boy, you either play football or you have a tutu on. I made it a point to want to do the stunts. The role involved a lot of movement and I enjoy movement – any kind. It was very demanding, but I love the word "challenge." I wanted to do it, whether it meant I got banged up or not. And I got banged up.

And the jaguar chase scene – was that real?
I ran in front of a live jaguar. It was running, you know. I believe it was from down there (in Mexico). They had wranglers for it. But it's an animal, and you should never take your eyes off an animal. I am from the country and you don't ever let your guard down. It was intense. My heart was racing. I loved it.

You wear a lot of tattoos and piercings, but not much else. How did that feel?
The makeup went on very morning for three and half to four hours. I was there at 1:30 in the morning putting on makeup. And I had to wear that little thong. I was making sure to do my leg lifts and butt exercises.

Then there's all the blue paint.
Oh my god. Whe-ew. It took some getting used to. But after a while you get so used to it, just like me wearing a little thong with my cheeks hanging out. It becomes a part of you. After a while, people didn't recognize me with clothes on.

Mel Gibson: DUI Arrest 'A Gift to Me'

Despite his box-office success with his latest film Apocalypto, Mel Gibson says he is most thankful for the lessons he learned after his fall from grace last summer.

"I got a skinful and mouthed off which is not coming from a good place, but I'm moving on from that," the actor-filmmaker, 50, tells the entertainment news Web site Dark Horizons.

He now looks upon the experience of his no-contest plea for DUI and the exposure of his anti-Semitic drunken rant "as a gift to me, because it's made me really sort of scratch my head and focus on a couple of things that I needed to."

After making a public apology, Gibson reportedly attended rehab, and says the whole ordeal is "working out real positive."

Gibson considers his slip, which provoked worldwide criticism, one of the pitfalls of being human. "Everybody goofs, everybody screws up and I tell ya, if you ask everybody in the world to raise their hand if they never said something vicious, something that they regretted or something stupid, there wouldn't be many people that wouldn't be able to raise their hands," he says.

As for the disease of alcoholism and whatever other demons he or anyone else may possess, he says, "I think that's an ongoing process for your entire life, because everyone's got 'em."

The way he deals, he adds, is to work. "I think in any art form, expression really is a coping mechanism. It's like something has to come out, and if it comes out in art, that's great because you're somehow using what the human condition has made you to put out some kind of evidence that other people can sort of relate to, and I think that's the sharing experience that we need."

Smith finds "Happyness" atop box office

Will Smith's new film is No. 1 with weekend moviegoers, if not with English teachers.

His rags-to-riches tale "The Pursuit of Happyness," a rare foray into fact-based drama for the rapper-turned-comedian, sold about $27 million worth of tickets during its first three days of release across North America, distributor Columbia Pictures said on Sunday.

Also new were the fantasy "Eragon" at No. 2 with $23.4 million, and the children's adaptation "Charlotte's Web" at No. 3 with a modest $12 million. (Figures are for the period beginning December 15.)

Last weekend's champion, Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto," slid to No. 6 with $7.7 million. The 10-day total for the violent saga stands at $27.9 million. Distributor Walt Disney Co. said it was happy with the film's performance, even though its 49 percent drop was easily the steepest in the top 10.

The romantic comedy "The Holiday," which also opened last weekend, fell three places to No. 5 with $8.2 million, down 36 percent. Columbia's Nancy Meyers-directed film, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, has earned $25.3 million to date. Meyers' previous film, 2003's "Something's Gotta Give," had earned $33 million at the same stage in its run.

"The Pursuit of Happyness" marks Columbia's 13th chart-topper this year, extending the record that it set at No. 10. The Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE).-owned studio has grossed a record $1.58 billion so far this year at the domestic box office, also setting a new record, the studio said. Columbia set the previous record of $1.57 billion in 2002, the year that it launched "Spider-Man."

Smith's movie, which the studio said cost just over $50 million to make, is based on the true story of Chris Gardner, a homeless entrepreneur and single father who eventually became a successful stockbroker. Smith's own son, Jaden, plays his on-screen son.

Columbia said it had hoped for an opening in the low $20 million range. The audience was mostly female and older, according to exit polling data provided by the studio.

"Whether he's doing action, adventure or comedy, audiences love him," said Rory Bruer, Columbia's president of domestic theatrical distribution.

"Eragon" is based on Christopher Paolini's fantasy novel about a farm boy and his flying dragon two millennia ago, and accordingly appealed to the same youngsters who flocked to the "Lord of the Rings" movies. The film was released by News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, which said it cost just over $100 million to make. The studio had hoped for an opening in the high-teens.

Paramount Pictures' "Charlotte's Web" cost in the $80 million range to make, and its $12 million opening met the Viacom Inc.-owned studio's expectations. Based on the E.B. White novel, the live-action/computer-animated film revolves around the friendship between the titular spider (voiced by Julia Roberts) and a pig named Wilbur.

.Paramount also opened the acclaimed musical "Dreamgirls" in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco ahead of its national rollout on Christmas Day. The film grossed a staggering $360,000 from 21 screenings, though the tally was boosted by the $25 ticket price. Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and newcomer Jennifer Hudson star in the adaptation of the Broadway musical loosely based on the story of the Supremes.

Gibson to Hollywood: 'Get the hell over it'

The distinctive voice on the other end of the line sounds a grande latte short of being fully awake.

"You got me at the wrong time. I'm probably a bit surly in the morning," Mel Gibson says. "I'm surly early."

Though as mornings go, Thursday cast a soft light on a man more accustomed to glare: Gibson's Apocalypto had just gotten a Golden Globe nomination for foreign-language film and was riding the week out as box office champ.

"Ah yes, the Golden Globs, it's nice, flattering," says Gibson, tweaking the awards' name.

He added that he's not concerned by his film's modest $15 million take. "I knew it wouldn't be like Passion (of the Christ, which earned $610 million worldwide), so this will just take a little more time to make its money back," he says. "I think it's lucky it got to No. 1. It was a soft weekend."

If Gibson sounds vaguely humble, don't be fooled. The director leaves no doubt about his feelings for those who assail his movies or his actions. When it's suggested that perhaps he move away from Hollywood, Gibson doesn't hesitate: "They can move."

Gibson and Tinseltown have been locked in an awkward dance since his double-Oscar triumph for 1995's Braveheart. First came his controversial take on Jesus' final hours and, more recently, a drunken-driving incident in which he railed that Jews were the cause of all wars. Now, with Apocalypto, come charges of excessive violence.

"I don't understand all the heat," says Gibson. "It's less violent than Braveheart, and yet they're calling it blood porn. To make it personal against me, that's a low blow."

Gibson concedes that his pre-Columbian chase scene-cum-love story does have nasty turns, as when a man gets his face chewed off by a jaguar, "but it's appropriate to the subject matter."

He dismisses charges that the film doesn't linger long enough on the cultural contributions of Mayan civilization. "That's on the History Channel, right?" Beat. "Seriously, I show you glyphs and temples and incredible architecture. It's there if you look. In the end, though, the main objective is to tell that story."

With Apocalypto's current success, Gibson's own Hollywood story remains on track, despite calls from the likes of super-agent Ari Emanuel for him to be shunned.

"This place isn't like a club where you're in or you're out," says Gibson. "It's a sprawling place that you make of what you will. It's not a glee club, that's for sure."

He says he feels some empathy for Michael Richards, whose recent comedy club tirade against blacks finds him in the entertainment community's cross hairs. "He snapped, what are you going to do. … You don't always have to be picked to be off the hook."

Gibson says his next project is unknown ("It'll germinate"), and though he'd consider acting, "I'm not really anxious to jump up there again. … Maybe I'll just go get a dartboard tattoo on my chest."

The non- sequitur is revealing; Gibson's thoughts often return to the shake he's getting in his field.

"I'm doing well," he says. "But how many people do you know get a DUI and are kicked around for six months? It's out of proportion. I'm not saying I wasn't at fault. Hey, we're not perfect, we're all human, get over it. I've apologized, done the right thing, now get the hell over it. I'm a work in progress."

With help from a friend, Mel cut to the chase

For Farhad Safinia, Mel Gibson's screenwriter and co-producer on "Apocalypto," it all began with a love for chase scenes.

That in turn led to long, drawn-out film discussions with Gibson that resulted in Safinia, a London-raised mathematician-turned-filmmaker, earning his first writing and producing credit.

For all the controversy surrounding "Apocalypto," which surprised skeptics by opening at No. 1 at the box office last weekend, the production began casually enough. Safinia, who got his start with Gibson in early 2004 when he served as his assistant during the postproduction and marketing odyssey of "The Passion of the Christ," just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

After Gibson took time off following "Passion," the director started having long talks with Safinia about their mutual love of movies and what excites them about moviemaking.

"Mel works by getting ideas and creative sparks wherever they come to him. He's not exclusive in that regard," Safinia says. "We started to talk about what films excite us and what he wanted to do next, and we specifically spent a lot of time on the action-chase genre of filmmaking. Those conversations essentially grew into the skeleton of ('Apocalypto')."

The R-rated film, which centers on one man's struggle to save himself and his family as the Mayan kingdom crumbles around him, reimagines the chase scene. "It's the kernel of the film," Safinia says. "We wanted to update the chase genre by, in fact, not updating it with technology or machinery but stripping it down to its most intense form, which is a man running for his life, and at the same time getting back to something that matters to him."

Safinia and Gibson chose the Mayan civilization as their historical point in time for several reasons. They wanted to explore a pre-Colombian, pre-European native culture, and they chose the Mayans over the Aztecs because of their sophistication and swift downfall.

"The Mayans were far more interesting to us," Safinia says. "You can choose a civilization that is bloodthirsty, or you can show the Mayan civilization that was so sophisticated with an immense knowledge of medicine, science, archaeology and engineering ... but also be able to illuminate the brutal undercurrent and ritual savagery that they practiced. It was a far more interesting world to explore why and what happened to them."

Safinia came to the world of moviemaking a little late in life. Of Iranian heritage, he graduated from Cambridge University in England with an economics degree in game theory, an applied mathematical theory practiced by John Nash (the title character played by Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind"). But Safinia's right brain/left brain intellect also spent a lot of time acting in college, performing as part of the Cambridge Amateurs Dramatics Club, a renowned theater group that launched the careers of such stars as Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and Rachel Weisz.

.Safinia left England and took on jobs working for software companies in the U.S. Then, at age 26, he abandoned the corporate world and poured his savings into an education at New York University's film school with the hopes of launching a career as a filmmaker.

That career got its jump-start with the help of Gibson and because of Safinia's own love of film and ancient civilizations.

"I've always been fascinated with ancient history and how the wars shaped the world we live in today," Safinia says. "The culture we're used to, democracy itself, the world we occupy today, is very much influenced by the turning time in history. I got to dramatize it and create a cool action film around it. What could be more fun?"

2007 Golden Globe Nominations



Top movies at the North American box office

Following are the top 10 movies at the North American box office for the three-day weekend beginning December 8, led by "Apocalypto," according to studio estimates compiled on Sunday by Reuters.

Final data will be issued on Monday.

1 (*) Apocalypto ..... $ 14.2 million
2 (*) The Holiday .... $ 13.5 million
3 (1) Happy Feet ..... $ 12.7 million
4 (2) Casino Royale .. $ 8.8 million
5 (*) Blood Diamond .. $ 8.5 million
6 (*) Unaccompanied Minors .......... $ 6.2 million
7 (3) Deja Vu ........ $ 6.1 million
8 (4) The Nativity Story ............ $ 5.6 million
9 (5) Deck the Halls . $ 3.9 million
10 (6) The Santa Clause 3 ............ $ 3.3 million

NOTE: Last weekend's rankings in parentheses. * denotes new release.

Happy Feet ..... $ 137.7 million
Casino Royale .. $ 128.9 million
The Santa Clause 3 ............ $ 77.2 million
Deja Vu ........ $ 53.0 million
Deck the Halls . $ 30.1 million
The Nativity Story ............ $ 15.8 million
Apocalypto ..... $ 14.2 million
The Holiday .... $ 13.5 million
Blood Diamond .. $ 8.5 million
Unaccompanied Minors .......... $ 6.2 million

"Apocalypto" and "Deja Vu" were released by Touchstone Pictures. "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" was released by Walt Disney Pictures. Both are owned by Walt Disney Co.

"Happy Feet," "Blood Diamond" and "Unaccompanied Minors" were released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc. "Happy Feet" is a 50/50 partnership between the studio and Australian entertainment group Village Roadshow Ltd. "The Nativity Story" was released by New Line Cinema, also a unit of Time Warner.

"The Holiday" and "Casino Royale" were released by Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE).

"Deck the Halls" was released by Twentieth Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.

Mel's Mayan movie leads weekend box office

"Apocalypto," Mel Gibson's first film since his anti-Semitic tirade last summer, led the North American box office with three-day ticket sales of $14.2 million in its first weekend, distributor Walt Disney Co. said on Sunday.

The modest sum paled in comparison to the $84 million bow of the director's last movie, 2004's "The Passion of the Christ." It is also the lowest sum for a No. 1 movie since the traditionally slow weekend of September 8-10, when the low-budget horror film "The Covenant" was tops with $8.9 million.

Three other new films vied for attention with varying degrees of success at a time when many would-be moviegoers are distracted by holiday shopping. Overall sales were down sharply from the year-ago period, when "The Chronicles of Narnia" opened at No. 1 with $66 million.

The romantic comedy "The Holiday" opened at No. 2 with a respectable $13.5 million, the Leonardo DiCaprio action drama "Blood Diamond" at No. 5 with a disappointing $8.5 million, and the kids comedy "Unaccompanied Minors" at No. 6 with $6.2 million.

"Apocalypto," which Gibson also produced and co-wrote, is set during the Mayan civilization and revolves around one man's quest to save himself from human sacrifice so that he can reunite with his family.


Reportedly budgeted in the $40 million range, the film was a tough one to call for box office prognosticators. While it comes from an A-list, Oscar-winning filmmaker, its restrictive R rating, gruesome violence, subtitles and a cast of unknowns are hardly the stuff of a typical Hollywood blockbuster.

Gibson's infamous Malibu meltdown, when he accused the Jews of being responsible for the world's wars after he had been pulled over for drunken driving, further clouded the crystal ball.

Box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said he had expected the film to open in the $13 million to $17 million range but was not surprised that it was No. 1 given the "huge awareness" of the movie. He said the Gibson controversy "definitely helped" sales and noted that Disney was not reluctant to use him in its marketing campaign.

"Without him, a Mayan epic would not necessarily get much attention," said Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers.

Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said Gibson's problems were "literally never an issue" when he was pitching the movie to movie theater owners. He said people would be talking about the movie and was confident it would have a long run.

Many reviews have praised "Apocalypto" as a gripping and visually spectacular work, although one with an exceedingly high quotient of blood and guts. Not surprisingly, 60 percent of the audience was male, Disney reported.


Elsewhere, director Nancy Meyers' $13.5 million opener "The Holiday," starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, performed "respectably," said Rory Bruer, president of distribution at Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE). Again not surprisingly, the audience was mostly female (65 percent) and older (57 percent aged 25 and above).

With its $8.5 million opening, Warner Bros.' "Blood Diamond" earned "slightly less" than the $10 million hoped for by the studio's distribution president, Dan Fellman. With solid exit polling results, he hoped the $100 million movie would build during the holiday period.

The film also had its fair share of human dismemberment -- this time set in war-torn Sierra Leone. DiCaprio stars as a Rhodesian mercenary on the quest for a rare pink diamond hidden by an enslaved fisherman (played by Djimon Hounsou) caught up in the region's civil war. The film raised questions about the morality of buying diamonds that could be used to finance wars and the diamond industry was quick to launch a marketing counteroffensive.

Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., also claimed the No. 3 spot with the penguin cartoon "Happy Feet," which had spent the previous three weekends at No. 1. This time, it earned $12.7 million, taking its total to $137.7 million. Sony's James Bond picture "Casino Royale" fell two places to No. 4 with $8.8 million, also in its fourth weekend; its total rose to $128.9 million.

Hollywood bets on Mel's future as "Apocalypto" opens

"Apocalypto," Mel Gibson's first film since his anti-Semitic tirade last summer, opened on Friday as Hollywood wondered whether his career, like the Mayan civilization the movie depicts, is doomed to collapse or poised for resurrection.

Ushered into a crowded holiday-season marketplace with largely favorable reviews and ample media buzz, "Apocalypto" has defied easy predictions by industry analysts seeking to forecast its commercial potential.

"We have to see whether all this awareness translates into box office. It's tough to call," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracking firm Media By Numbers, who put the film's likely U.S. gross at between $13 million and $17 million through Sunday.

Such a tally would pale in comparison to the $84 million bow of Gibson's last movie, "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004. But in a weekend when the multiplex is bustling with several big box-office contenders, an opening in the mid-teens may be enough to rank as No. 1.

As a hyper-violent, R-rated movie with subtitles and a cast of unknown performers, the movie hardly fits the profile of a typical Hollywood blockbuster.

Many reviews have praised "Apocalypto" as a gripping and visually spectacular work, though one with an exceedingly high quotient of blood and guts.

Film critic Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal on Friday called it "the most obsessively, graphically violent film I'd ever seen." But he went on to hail it as "a visionary work with its own wild integrity." Yet he added: "seeing it once is enough for one lifetime."

The film also is vying for attention against several other wide releases this weekend, including action thriller "Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and the romantic comedy "The Holiday," with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz.

And all those films face formidable competition from the ongoing successful runs of the latest James Bond adventure, "Casino Royale," and the computer-animated dancing penguins of "Happy Feet."


What "Apocalypto" has going for it is an aggressive marketing campaign by distributor Walt Disney Co., with special attention paid to Spanish-language media, and intense hype surrounding the film's pedigree as the latest work produced, directed and co-written by the Oscar-winning Gibson.

His July 28 drunken driving arrest and the public furor sparked by his anti-Semitic rant at police who pulled him over led many in Hollywood to speculate that Gibson may have done irreparable harm to his image and career.

In the immediate aftermath of the scandal, Gibson, 50, issued repeated apologies, re-entered treatment for alcoholism and kept a relatively low profile.

In recent weeks, however, he has gradually ventured back into the public spotlight to plug his film, culminating with Thursday's guest appearance on NBC television's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Gibson has defied the odds before. "The Passion of the Christ," a graphically violent, Aramaic-language dramatization of the final hours in the life of Jesus, exceeded all expectations by grossing $612 million in worldwide ticket sales.

That film's success turned in large part on an unusual promotional campaign aimed at Christian moviegoers and on controversy generated by criticism of the film by Jewish leaders, who feared it would foment anti-Semitism.

Another of Gibson's intensely violent period pieces, his 1995 epic "Braveheart," won five Academy Awards, including Oscars for best picture and best director for Gibson.

Leading online movie ticket service reported "Apocalypto" narrowly leading advance box-office sales for this weekend, accounting for 17 percent of the business as of Friday, compared with 16 percent for "The Holiday."

A Fandango survey of potential moviegoers also found that 74 percent of those interested in seeing "Apocalypto" had previously seen "The Passion."

'Apocalypto' soaks the screen in gore

Apocalypto is undoubtedly the most grisly movie ever released by any arm of the Walt Disney Company.

Co-produced by the company's Touchstone label, it is an action epic co-written and directed by Mel Gibson, whose directorial career has evolved into an essay in blood lust and gratuitous violence.

Gibson's Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ seemed to revel in explicit brutality. And with his latest film, which superficially chronicles the decline of the Mayan civilization, he has plunged into new realms of savagery.

The story begins in the 16th century on what is meant to be a light note. A group of men hunt and kill a tapir. This being a Gibson movie, the animal is impaled brutally, not just speared. There's a bit of comic relief, more clownish than funny, involving an infertile man persuaded by his fellow tribesmen to eat the tapir's testicles.

Shortly thereafter, these peaceful forest-dwellers are attacked by marauding Mayans. Most of the community is viciously attacked, men and children are slain, and women are raped. Several men are taken prisoner to be offered up to the gods. Among them is the film's protagonist, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), who escapes and undertakes a perilous journey to be reunited with his family.

Along the way, there's a litany of barbaric acts, filmed to their fullest shock potential. How can Gibson disgust us? Let us count the ways: There's a face chewed off by a panther, a spear impaling a man's skull, a chest ripped open by a blunt arrowhead and a head spurting blood as if a spigot has been turned on. Then there are the hundreds of rotting corpses that fill the screen for a few harrowing minutes.

You cannot deny that Gibson is inventive in depicting torture. But watching it is excruciating, despite some striking cinematography and Youngblood's expressive performance. The blood and guts obscure whatever power the story could have had.

Certainly the Mayan civilization was not without violence. But the film doesn't even touch on significant Mayan contributions. Advances in mathematics, astronomy, science and writing are ignored in favor of a focus on the Mayans' decadence and barbarism. For Gibson, the Mayans seemed to have been all about decapitated heads and extracted still-beating hearts. The impressive temples they built appear to be of little consequence.

Though the dialogue, in the native language spoken by Mayan descendants in Central America, does create a sense of authenticity, the story itself seems like anthropology lite. We get just a glimpse of tribal customs as the movie devolves into a conventional chase film. What is missing is context. Why does everyone speak the same language if they had not had any prior contact? Or had they had contact but escaped somehow unscathed? We have no idea how long the forest-dwelling tribe has been living peacefully before they are attacked.

The movie is so impressionistic, it obfuscates any sense of history. We expect at least a hint at the causes of the Mayan Empire's demise, but instead we get Mesoamerican Rambo.

Perhaps Gibson is trying to shock us into absorbing the torment and severity of man's inhumanity to man. The tragedy is that the film has the opposite effect: As we are bombarded by savagery, we become inured to it.

Film's challenges run the gamut

Few films arrive in theaters with as many hurdles as Apocalypto, opening Friday.

The tainted talent

Accusations of anti-Semitism have dogged Mel Gibson ever since Jewish leaders feared he was using his 2004 hit The Passion of the Christ to blame their faith for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Add to that Gibson's close relationship with his father, Hutton, who has called the Holocaust "fiction." Gibson's rant during his drunken-driving arrest in July confirmed the worst for many, but he has apologized and denied he is anti-Semitic.

Though Gibson has done few interviews to promote the movie and declined to be interviewed for this story, ads for the film place his name clearly above the title.

How does the industry feel about him? "Nobody doubts Mel Gibson's talent," says Peter Guber, co-host of AMC's Sunday Morning ShootOut. Some may hope Gibson fails, but "we also have to hope that somebody of his caliber of artist can bring that thoughtfulness to his own life in a way that's commensurate with good judgment, taste and ethics."

The language barrier

Subtitled movies rarely hit big in the USA. Apocalypto is in the Mayan dialect of Yucatec, which is still spoken in parts of Mexico and Belize but is different from Spanish.

Gibson's The Passion was in Latin and Aramaic, but that film had the advantage of being a story that many people already knew.

With Apocalypto, Gibson told Entertainment Weekly, "there's not as much need for dialogue."

Some foreign-language films have become popular hits in recent years. Roberto Benigni's dramedy Life Is Beautiful was in Italian, and Ang Lee's mythical action drama Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was in Mandarin Chinese.

Those films took weeks to build a wide audience and had the benefit of Oscar nominations to fuel ticket sales. With divided critics and many Oscar voters finding Gibson distasteful, award prospects are remote.

Extreme violence

Few films are as famous for brutality as Gibson's Braveheart, which won best picture at the 1996 Oscars. And some criticized The Passion for its excruciating details of the flogging and crucifixion of Jesus.

Some critics say Apocalypto is even more gruesome, with men gnawing on fresh-cut animal testicles, men's pulsing hearts being torn out, and an infant being violently swung around by its leg, among other scenes. Gibson told EW: "The world is a violent place. I want people to close their eyes sometimes."

That will certainly alienate some, but could it attract fans of such horror-house hits as the Saw movies and Hostel? Tony Timpone, editor of the horror magazine Fangoria, says, "A movie that has graphic scenes in it, even if it's not horror, will get a rise out of splatter fans … though I doubt they will go to a movie like that just for their 'horror fix.' "

Ethnic worries

Disney has pitched the film strongly to American Indian and Latino moviegoers, hoping the ancient-Mexican elements will appeal. Gibson received an award from the Latin Business Association because the film "celebrates Latino history" and used Latino actors and services during the Mexico shoot.

But Suzan Shown Harjo, a Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee activist, says Gibson's approach minimizes the destructiveness of European explorers. "He's saying, 'These people brought it on themselves. They were killing each other and committing suicide without knowing it.' "

Dennis Rice, spokesman for distributor Disney, counters that screenings for tribal groups have been overwhelmingly positive.

Chris Eyre, who chronicled contemporary Indian life in 1998's Smoke Signals, says, "We can glean a lot from looking at our past, and that's where the movie is valuable. But it does a disservice when audiences only find us valuable in our romantic past."

'Apocalypto' navigating rough waters

Gibson's Apocalypto is not a movie about the end of the world, but it has several plagues trailing it.

The film about an ancient tribesman trying to escape being sacrificed in a Mayan religious ritual opens nationwide Friday. The film's cost has been estimated at $50 million to $80 million. Its performance at the box office will prove which is stronger: Gibson's credentials as a renegade filmmaker or moviegoers' attitudes about his reputation.

"Hollywood has never had a lot of model citizens," says Dennis Rice of The Walt Disney Co., the film's distributor. He says he hopes critics and the public "judge Mel on his artistic merits."

Gibson's personal foibles — he spewed anti-Semitic slurs during a drunken-driving arrest in July — aren't the only obstacles for Apocalypto to overcome. Dialogue is in the Yucatec language with English subtitles. It's R-rated for intense gore, leading some to fear that Gibson exaggerates the unsavory side of history.

"I'm not saying one Indian never killed another Indian, but it's taking the worst suppositions from the most alarmist of the anthropologists," says Indian Country Today columnist Suzan Shown Harjo of footage in trailers and on Disney-owned ABC's behind-the-scenes special.

Disney says Latino and Indian audiences for whom it screened the movie were positive.

It's also unclear whether Christian fans who were won over by The Passion of the Christ will buy tickets for a film about pagans. And he has annoyed conservatives by saying the human-sacrifice story line is an allegory for President Bush "sending guys off to Iraq for no reason."

"My sense is he uses people, and he uses controversy," says Jason Apuzzo, co-founder of the conservative Liberty Film Festival who defended Gibson during The Passion. "The perception is he's a guy gone over the edge."

Supporters say Apocalypto's saving grace may be Gibson's reputation as a visualist.

"I was surprised at what effective filming it was," critic and conservative commentator Michael Medved says. "Mel's supposed to be box office poison. I don't think that's true, though he's not where he was in terms of public esteem. Before that, I'd have been confident this would be a big success."

Can 'Apocalypto' restore Gibson's glory?

"Apocalypto" arrives in theaters Friday with an incongruous challenge — its auteur, Mel Gibson, is both its biggest asset and biggest problem.

Gibson, 50, is coming off two major hits: the phenomenal, $370 million success of his religious epic, "The Passion of the Christ," and the scandalous, anti-Semitic rant he spewed after a drunk-driving arrest in July.

The question is: which hit will prove more powerful? Will moviegoers turn their backs on him or will they turn out at the box-office?

A certified superstar, Gibson has appeared in more than two dozen movies, including the popular "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" series. In 1995, he won two Oscars — best picture and best director — for his Scottish war saga, "Braveheart." He garnered a groundswell of support for the bloody and controversial "Passion of the Christ," which some Jewish leaders claimed was anti-Semitic, by screening the film at churches around the country.

He has used a similar selective screening tactic with "Apocalypto," showing early cuts to Native American audiences.

Though Gibson's name appears on the movie's advertisements and his voice narrates its previews, he is doing few interviews to promote the project — an apparent tacit concession that his personal problems over the summer would dominate such conversations. Gibson declined to be interviewed for this story.

"Apocalypto" is a sweeping adventure about the decline of Mayan civilization. Filled with gruesome slayings, bloody beheadings and a cast of unknowns speaking an obscure language, it's an unconventional film — a tough sell even before its only famous name made international headlines for hateful words. Still, early reviews have been mostly positive.

Most of the industry insiders contacted by The Associated Press said quality speaks for itself and personal feelings about Gibson should have little bearing on the film's success.

"Of course he'll bounce back," said George Miller, who directed Gibson in the three "Mad Max" movies. "I believe his passion is for writing and making movies. Everything he does is interesting. He certainly is quite brave as a filmmaker. I think `Apocalypto' is probably going to prove that."

As with "The Passion," Gibson made "Apocalypto" his way. He directed, co-wrote and co-produced the film, which was financed through his company, Icon Productions. Disney's Touchstone Pictures banner will release it on roughly 2,500 screens.

Disney and Gibson go back at least a decade together. Gibson lent his voice to the animated "Pocahontas" and starred in the 1996 thriller "Ransom" and 2002's "Signs."

Thanks to that relationship and Gibson's Oscar-winning track record, Disney wasn't dissuaded by the violence or subtitles in "Apocalypto," said spokesman Dennis Rice.

"It's not overly violent for the subject matter," he said, calling the film "a flat-out action adventure." "I don't think the subtitles will get in the way. To understand and appreciate the story Mel's telling, you don't need a lot of dialogue."

He added that the film's success shouldn't be diminished by Gibson's personal struggles.

"The success of this picture is completely dependent upon us to generate interest in (it)," he said. "I have been impressed by the public's ability to evaluate the movie on its own artistic merits."

Scandal is nothing new to Hollywood and there seems no way to predict its effect on star power. For example, Winona Ryder's career fizzled after she was arrested for shoplifting in 2001, but Robert Downey, Jr. has continued to thrive on-screen despite a string of high-profile drug arrests and failed rehab attempts in the late 1990s.

"Everyone has very short memories with celebrities," said veteran talent manager Bernie Brillstein. "If people love the movie, I don't think they'll say they didn't like it because of remarks he made. If it's good, it will do very well."

Industry analyst Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations agreed.

"Hollywood is pretty quick to forgive once those box-office numbers roll in," he said. "In Hollywood, you're always as good as your last film, and his last film did beaucoup bucks."

Regardless of how it fares at the ticket counter, "Apocalypto" is already succeeding, Bock said, by shifting the public discussion from Gibson's personal life to his filmmaking skills.

But image expert Michael Levine sees things differently. He said Gibson must succeed to ensure his Hollywood future.

"If this movie fails, the sense will be that he is forever dirtied" by his actions, Levine said. "This is vocational life or death for him. Even if the movie is a home run, I don't think it will fully cleanse him from the crisis. But I think it will help."

Moviegoers will have their say this weekend. Gibson doesn't seem worried.

"The movie will stand on its own," he told Entertainment Weekly magazine recently, "regardless of any unfortunate experience I may have stumbled upon."

Maya say Gibson movie portrays them as savages

Much like his bloody epic about the death of Christ, a new Mel Gibson production about the collapse of the Mayan civilization is angering members of the culture it depicts even before it hits the screen.

The "Passion of Christ" was accused by some of being anti-Semitic -- long before Gibson's career-damaging outbursts against a Jewish policeman in Malibu this year.

Now indigenous activists in Guatemala, once home to a large part of the Mayan empire that built elaborate jungle cities in southern Mexico and northern Central America centuries ago, say his film "Apocalypto" is racist.

Gibson's representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Only trailers for "Apocalypto," which will be released on Friday, have been shown in Guatemala, but leaders say scenes of scary-looking Mayans with bone piercings and scarred faces hurling spears and sacrificing humans promote stereotypes about their culture.

"Gibson replays, in glorious big budget Technicolor, an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserved, in fact, needed, rescue," said Ignacio Ochoa, director of the Nahual Foundation that promotes Mayan culture.

At their height, the Maya built monumental cities in the Peten region of Guatemala, but the civilization went into decline after the 8th century, some say because of overuse of natural resources.

The culture is not thought to have been as blood-thirsty as the neighboring Aztec empire, but some archeologists say human sacrifice was common in the final years before the Spanish conquest.

More than half of Guatemala's population is descended from the original Maya. They face frequent discrimination and most live in poverty with little access to education and social services.

Over 200,000 people, mostly Mayan, were killed during Guatemala's 36-year civil war that ended a decade ago. Some rights groups say the army tried to wipe out the Maya.

Lucio Yaxon, a 23-year-old Mayan human rights activist, said Apocalypto's heart-pounding trailer was unrealistic.

"Basically the director is saying the Mayans are savages," said Yaxon, who speaks Kaqchikel, one of 22 Guatemalan Mayan languages, as well as Spanish.

But Richard Hansen, an archeologist who Gibson consulted on the making of the film, says the director took pains to ensure authenticity and historical accuracy.

The entire script is spoken in Yucatec Maya and the star is a Native American dancer named Rudy Youngblood. Gibson's use of indigenous actors has won praise from Latino and Native American groups in the United States.

"I am a little apprehensive about how the Maya themselves are going to perceive it," said Hansen, who directs an archeological project at the Mirador Basin in northern Guatemala, "but Gibson is trying to make a social statement."

Review: Violent excess mars `Apocalypto'

He hinted at it with Jesus' prolonged, agonizing death in "The Passion of the Christ." With an immeasurable body count and mutilation factor in "Apocalypto," it's confirmed: Mel Gibson is master of the epic snuff film.

Director Gibson applies the same breathtaking production values and attention to detail as he did in "Braveheart" and "The Passion." But he amplifies the violence beyond the brutal of "Braveheart" and the excruciating of "The Passion" to something approaching abhorrent at the height of the carnage in "Apocalypto."

Was pre-Columbian Mayan society a savage place? Sure, at times.

Does Gibson need to repeatedly show us lopped-off heads bouncing like coconuts down the towering stairs of a pyramid to prove it? Not so much.

The blood and gore become so extreme that they provoke titters of ridicule, undermining a simple, stirring story of family devotion as a man races from vile captors to return home and rescue his pregnant wife and their son.

Gibson also strains credulity with his main character's Christlike ability to survive what look to be fatal, or at least incapacitating, piercings by arrows. The suffering the character goes through is not unlike the scourging of Christ.

Then again, Gibson's Martin Riggs survived about a thousand-and-one bullets at the end of "Lethal Weapon 2" and lived to fight again in two more sequels.

Given the furor over "The Passion," whose critics worried that it might stoke anti-Semitism, and Gibson's drunken driving arrest and anti-Semitic ramblings last summer, it's fortuitous for him that his next film was something about as far removed from all that as possible. At least no one can call Gibson a Jew hater for "Apocalypto."

In the vein of the dead languages featured in "The Passion," Gibson, who co-wrote the "Apocalypto" screenplay with Farhad Safinia, has his cast of unknowns talking in Yucatec Maya, spoken today only in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Also like "The Passion," "Apocalypto" is a visual story — long stretches told through pictures, sound effects and music, without need of dialogue. The language is simple and direct, and if you miss a subtitle or two, you won't suffer a moment's confusion as to what's happening.

If harsh jungle existence can be idyllic, that's what life is for the small village Gibson introduces us to in the movie's marvelous opening act, a group of hunter-gatherers living on the fringes of the great Mayan civilization 500 years ago.

Great warmth, fraternity, compassion and sly humor underlie this little society, where Gibson's hero Jaguar Paw (played with fiery fortitude by American Indian Rudy Youngblood) lives surrounded by friends and family.

They're like children of paradise, taking what they need from their surroundings and leaving the rest, dwelling in harmony with nature. We see wonderful glimpses of Jaguar Paw's tenderness toward his pregnant wife (Dalia Hernandez) and their young son, as well as moments of the community's lust for life and laughter, most notably centered on the character of the town's well-meaning oaf Blunted (Jonathan Brewer).

Then invaders from the big city show up, including the fierce warrior leader Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo) and the sadistic Snake Ink (Rodolfo Palacios), who, with their tattoos, facial ornaments and other accouterments, look like refugees from Gibson's "The Road Warrior."

Many of Jaguar Paw's kin are slain, and he and others are captured and led on a forced march, but not before he manages to stash his wife and son away in a safe but temporary hiding place.

Until now, Gibson has shown enough restraint to keep the story engrossing and believable. When captives and conquerers arrive at the Mayan metropolis, the gloves come off, along with a lot of heads.

The panorama and bustle of the city are remarkably visceral, but the only sense Gibson provides of the heart of Mayan culture is that of a society of bloodthirsty lunatics.

The excess of repugnant violence continues during a frequently thrilling jungle chase as Zero Wolf and his men pursue Jaguar Paw. If you've ever wanted to see a jaguar bite off a man's face, this is your movie.

Shot in lush landscapes of Central America, "Apocalypto" shows us a fresh, vital, often beautiful and often terrifying world. And Gibson introduces us to a fearless set of performers who inhabit the loincloth lifestyle with ease and grace.

It's hard to know what to make of some closing images of stiff, pasty Europeans coming ashore, a crucifix prominently displayed. The way Gibson presents it, their arrival in the New World looks mildly comical, though when the chuckles subside, it's pretty ominous stuff given the ravaging of native cultures we know is to come in the subsequent centuries.

On reflection, the closing images hark back uneasily to an epigram from historian Will Durant that opens the film: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

What's Gibson saying? That the Mayans already are rotting on the vine, so it's just as well that self-righteous Europeans move in and start marking off their building lots?

Like the more laughable violence of "Apocalypto," the European arrival probably is best shrugged off and forgotten as just another weird apparition in a filmmaker's grand but cruel and twisted vision.

"Apocalypto," released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures banner, is rated R for for sequences of graphic violence and disturbing images. Running time: 137 minutes. Two stars out of four.

"Apocalypto" -- Mel's Mexican masterpiece

It really began with his "Braveheart" more than a decade ago, though no one really noticed then because it obeyed all the conventions of a big Hollywood epic, albeit a very violent one. But Mel Gibson's career as a film director is becoming one long essay in human cruelty through the ages. Whatever spiritual messages devout Christians took from 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," its violence was pornographic.

In "Apocalypto," Gibson and co-writer Farhad Safinia turn to the Mayan civilization that dominated present-day Mexico and Central America from 2400 B.C. to the 15th century A.D. They ignore its advances in urban planning, mathematics, art, astronomy, agriculture and writing systems to dwell on its utter barbarity. Men hunt men, rape women and sacrifice victims by tearing hearts from quivering bodies with joyful ferocity.

This is no cheesy exploitation movie, though, but a first-rate epic built around one man's will to survive to rescue his family. In other words, in the good Hollywood tradition, it's got a hero, villain, damsel in distress, exotic natives and breathtaking vistas that evoke feelings of awe and dread. The guy knows how to make a heart-pounding movie; he just happens to be a cinematic sadist.

Gibson's well-publicized personal problems, the film's eye-catching key art and critics calling him a sadist probably add up to money in the bank for the Walt Disney Co. "Apocalypto" might not reach the $600 million worldwide grosses of "Passion," but it will attract a considerable international crowd. To his credit, there is never a dull moment.

The movie opens as the Mayan civilization is in its death throes, though no one knows it. We are in a tranquil rain forest where a small community of hunters and baby-makers live in ecological harmony with a nature that provides animals to slaughter and food to gather. Then the village is attacked by marauding mercenary warriors from the capital looking for sacrificial victims to assuage the gods for a drought and plague.

Men and a few women to be sold as slaves or concubines are brutally tied to long poles and marched through the rain forest to the Mayan city. There the men meet their fate atop a pyramid where they are painted blue, draped over an altar stone for an obsidian knife to plunge into the chest and rip out the heart with surgical skill, the heart going into a fire, the head chopped from the body and the corpse flung down the steps to the cackling glee of the assembled townsfolk. Do these guys know how to party or what?

The central figure is family man Jaguar Paw (played by Rudy Youngblood), an expressive, charismatic American Indian with considerable athletic and thespian skills. All the actors are American Indians, and the astute casting is arguably the best thing about this movie. Dalia Hernandez, a Mexican dancer and student, has a lovely face that catches the terror of Jaguar Paw's pregnant wife, who is left behind in the village well that first protects, then traps her and her child.

Canadian Jonathan Brewer plays comical sidekick Blunted, who is the butt of every joke. New Mexican actor Raoul Trujillo makes a sturdy foe as the warrior leader Zero Wolf, who captures Jaguar Paw and his mates. His villainy is trumped by his sadistic underling Snake Ink -- don't you just love these Jacobean names? -- played by Mexican actor Rodolfo Palacios with zeal. And so it goes down to the smallest role, even a busybody mother-in-law instantly recognizable to many a suffering contemporary husband.

For the first 85 minutes, we along with the captives are dragged into a world of chaos and confusion on this frightening, arduous journey. The freshness of this world, nothing like it having appeared on film before, captures our imagination. Then, suddenly, thanks to divine intervention by solar eclipse, Jaguar Paw escapes his captors.

The movie turns into a much more conventional chase movie, with Zero Wolf and his gang racing through the jungle to hunt down and kill Jaguar Paw. Yet the deeper the chase goes into the rain forest, the more the home-court advantage swings to our hero. Soon we have a reverse "Deliverance," where the hillbilly is the good guy and every dreadful fate that befalls his pursuers gets cheers from the popcorn crowd.

Like "Passion," Gibson feels -- and he may be right here -- that ancient languages transport audiences into another time and place. The script has been translated into the Mayan dialect spoken in the Yucatan peninsula today. So the movie comes to us in subtitles, my favorite one being "He's f---ed."

Often, though, the movie feels like an illustrated lecture without the lecture. We witness all sorts of strange cultural and natural phenomena without having a clue as to their meanings. Why does the rain forest tribe have no defense system? What do the tattoos, headpieces and jewelry mean? Why are sacrificial victims painted blue? It's nice to know that there are few university professors who actually understand this movie.

What's really puzzling is that everyone seems to speak the same language, meaning that enough travel and trade exist so our remote village would certainly be aware of the barbarity of the capital city and its roving warriors. So why does everything that happens to them come as a surprise?

Gibson's crew is exemplary in creating this lost world. Cinematographer Dean Semler, shooting digitally with Panavision's new high-definition Genesis camera system, seemingly can get his graceful, fluid camera into just about any place in that rain forest, which he fills with dazzling light. Designer Tom Sanders' constructions convey us into a world of terrifying oddness and savagery. James Horner's score mingles weird, primordial notes with vague Latin sounds and even Sufi music by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Jaguar Paw: Rudy Youngblood
Seven: Dalia Hernandez
Blunted: Jonathan Brewer
Flint Sky: Morris Birdyellowhead
Turtles Run: Carlos Emilio Baez
Curl Nose: Amilcar Ramirez
Smoke Frog: Israel Contreras
Cocoa Leaf: Israel Rios

Director: Mel Gibson; Screenwriters: Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia; Producers: Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey; Executive producers: Ned Down, Vicki Christianson; Director of photography: Dean Semler; Production designer: Tom Sanders; Music: James Horner; Co-producer: Farhad Safinia; Costume designer: Mayes C. Rubeo; Editor: John Wright.

American Indians hail 'Apocalypto' cast

Mel Gibson's effort to find an indigenous cast for his new movie "Apocalypto," which depicts the end of the Mayan civilization, is drawing praise from American Indian leaders.

Gibson wanted an indigenous cast for the project, so the filmmakers found people from the Yucatan, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Xalapa, Veracruz and other spots. Two of the cast members are from the United States, three are from Canada and the rest hail from Central America.

"It is very important to note that Mr. Gibson has gone to great lengths to cast indigenous people in this film," Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said. "This not only helps make the film more realistic, it serves as an inspiration to Native American actors who aspire to perform relevant roles in the film industry."

Gibson screened the movie Friday for a sold-out audience at Chickasaw Nation's Riverwind Casino. Tickets were $55, proceeds going to American Indian health organizations and charities.

Rudy Youngblood, who makes his acting debut as Jaguar Paw, and Raoul Trujillo, who portrays Zero Wolf, arrived in sports utility vehicles and stood on Riverwind's version of the red carpet — a black carpet that led into the theater — to pose for photographers.

Youngblood, a powwow dancer, singer and artist, told reporters he was just there to enjoy the movie, which opens in theaters Dec. 8.

Bloody "Apocalypto" draws good early reviews

Mel Gibson's new movie "Apocalypto" drew several good early reviews on Friday from critics who cautioned the thriller set against the end of an ancient Mayan civilization is also extremely violent.

"Blood-and-guts action audiences should eat this up," said show business newspaper Daily Variety.

"Despite the subject's inherent spectacle, conflict and societal interest, Central America's pre-Columbian history has scarcely been touched by filmmakers," writes Variety critic Todd McCarthy, who also called the film "remarkable."

Another veteran critic, Maxim magazine's Pete Hammond, said he was "blown away by the filmmaking."

"Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but the guy knows how to get the goods up on the screen," Hammond told Reuters. "It's a chase movie; it's an action movie ... it's extremely violent."

"Apocalypto" is being closely followed because of Gibson's arrest this summer on drunken driving charges in Malibu, California, outside Los Angeles, and because of his subsequent anti-Semitic tirade against a police officer.

Gibson, 50, later apologized, and industry watchers are curious to see whether his legions of fans and the general public have forgiven him and will turn out for the movie's December 8 debut in the United States.

"I don't think it's going to matter with the core audience. At it's heart, this is a pure action movie," Hammond said.

The movie is being hyped by its distributor The Walt Disney Co. as a "mythic action-adventure set against turbulent end times of the once-great Mayan civilization."

The main character is Jaguar Paw, a hunter whose idyllic jungle life ends when Mayan warriors attack his village. They burn huts, rape women and take the men to be human sacrifices in a Mayan city that is beset by drought and crop failure.

What ensues is a bloody battle between the Mayan captors and Jaguar Paw as he seeks to escape their clutches and return home to his burned village, pregnant wife and their young son.

The movie is subtitled in English, with the characters speaking in an ancient version of a language called Yucatec.

Gibson has a long history of making violent movies that, in the end, have paid off. His 1995 epic, "Braveheart," another historical thriller, featured many bloody battles and won five Oscars including best picture and best director for Gibson.

More recently, "The Passion of the Christ" raked in $612 million in global box office with a tale of the final hours in the life of Jesus Christ, and it was criticized by some for being too violent in its depictions of Christ's suffering.

Disney says moviegoers will see past Mel's rant

Moviegoers will likely look past Mel Gibson's off-screen behavior when they view his new film "Apocalypto," said Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, the film's distributor, on Thursday.

"I think audiences will distinguish between the professional film making that Mel Gibson's involved in and Mel Gibson's personal life," Cook told the Reuters Media Summit in New York. Walt Disney Studios is a division of Walt Disney Co..

The movie that Gibson directed opens on December 8 and will be his first foray at the box office since being embroiled in a highly public controversy this summer for anti-Semitic comments he made to police in Malibu, California during his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

Gibson has apologized for the incident and said he was not anti-Semitic.

"Mel is one of the great filmmakers of all time," said Cook of Gibson, the star of the popular "Lethal Weapon" movies and director of "The Passion of the Christ."

The Passion of the Christ also stirred heated debate around the world for allegedly being anti-Semitic, but has grossed $612 million.

Cook said there were challenges in marketing "Apocalypto," which has no big stars attached and is a Mayan-language epic about the decline of the native civilization.

"We're marketing the movie in about as straight ahead a way as it can be and keeping the focus on the movie," he said.

"It think we'll be fine in the opening weekend. It's probably the kind of movie that will grow," said Cook, adding he expected the movie's unique qualities to propel it to success.

"The big thing it has going for it, is that audiences are looking for something they haven't seen before and that's something we truly have going for us," he said. "There has never been anything like this before."

He said Disney was using the traditional media mix of billboards, radio and television to promote the film.

Mel Gibson feels Michael Richards' pain

Though he's lost many fans after being captured on video hurling racist epithets at a comedy club audience, Michael Richards has an ally: Mel Gibson. "I felt like sending Michael Richards a note," Gibson says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly's Dec. 8 issue.

"I feel really badly for the guy. He was obviously in a state of stress. You don't need to be inebriated to be bent out of shape. But my heart went out to the guy."

The 50-year-old actor-director added: "They'll probably torture him for a while and then let him go. I like him."

After his Nov. 17 tirade became known, Richards apologized on David Letterman's "Late Show" on CBS, saying his remarks were sparked by anger at being heckled, not bigotry. He also apologized to the Rev. Al Sharpton and on the Rev. Jesse Jackson's syndicated radio program.

Gibson, star of the "Lethal Weapon" movies and director of "The Passion of the Christ," was mired in a scandal of his own this summer for anti-Semitic comments he made to police in Malibu, Calif., during his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. He publicly apologized.

Are people refusing to work with him?

"No, people aren't like that," Gibson tells the magazine. "Those are just the headlines: Mel ostracized by Hollywood! Hollywood is what you make it. There is no great pooh-bah up there saying, `Go! You are condemned!'"

Gibson says he's not anti-Semitic.

"I never have been and never would be," he says. "But (the incident) hit this fear thing in me. My god, I made people afraid. ... And it was a horrible feeling. That's when I said, `My god, I don't want to be that monster.'"

His new movie, "Apocalypto," from The Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone Pictures, opens Dec. 8. It is a Mayan-language epic filmed in Mexico chronicling the decline of the native civilization.

He's confident his past remarks will not hurt the movie at the box office.

"It's primarily entertainment," he says of his production. "An 18-year-old college guy, out with his buddies, he's going to get into the chase. The movie will stand on its own, regardless of any unfortunate experience I may have stumbled upon."


Being surprising, highly charged and controversial are not new ways to describe Mel Gibson or his recent movies - and his new movie "Apocalypto" is no exception. In an all new interview, Diane Sawyer sits down with Gibson to talk in-depth about "Apocalypto," the primal fears explored in the movie and personally, and how he is doing today. John Quiqones also talks to the actor and director about the movie's premise and examines the vanished Mayan civilization and its descendents today. For this special edition, "Primetime" takes a journey with Gibson to investigate one of the greatest mysteries of all time: How is it possible that an entire, great civilization could disappear? Or has it? "Primetime" airs on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (10:10-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Sawyer talks to Gibson about the inspiration behind "Apocalypto" and the minimalist approach he took when directing the film, which consists of unknown Native American and Mexican actors all speaking in "Yucatec," a Mayan dialect. From avoiding poisonous snakes to getting an illness he calls "gringo gut," Gibson shares what daily life was like filming in the jungle and why he says it became a voyage of personal discovery for everyone involved in the movie.

Quiqones then takes viewers to Guatemala, where the mysterious culture thrived -- deep in a primitive jungle -- and explores the sacred rites captured in the film. He goes in search of the secret ceremonies that - until now -- have been off limits to visitors.

After a year of personal crisis and transformation, Gibson speaks candidly with Sawyer about his greatest personal fears he has faced on screen and off. He tells Sawyer what has happened since his infamous arrest and subsequent apology and opens up about a phobia he conquered while filming "Apocalypto."

DIANE SAWYER, CHRIS CUOMO, CYNTHIA McFADDEN and JOHN QUIQONES are the anchors of "Primetime." DAVID SLOAN is the executive producer.

Gibson tops Film Threat's powerless list

Two decades after being chosen as People magazine's first sexiest man alive, Mel Gibson now tops a very different kind of list: Film Threat's annual "Frigid 50: The Coldest People in Hollywood."

The independent film Web site on Friday named Gibson No. 1 among the "least-powerful, least-inspiring, least-intriguing people in all of Tinseltown," following the anti-Semitic remarks he made during his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

"He apologized, he got sick of apologizing, he refused to apologize anymore, he didn't want to address the issue, he spoke on nationally broadcast news shows, he spoke at synagogues, he met with Jewish Officials," Film Threat's editors wrote. "But in the end, in all his `I'm really not anti-Semitic' posturing, he never bothered to address how irresponsible he was for driving under the influence in the first place. And now he's got a new movie opening, `Apocalypto,' and the question becomes: who cares?"

Gibson, 50, the star of the "Lethal Weapon" movies and director of "The Passion of the Christ," was People's sexiest man alive on the magazine's inaugural list in 1985.

Also among Film Threat's "Frigid 50" are Borat ("How can the top box office winner for two straight weeks be on the Frigid 50 already? Simple: There's no future for Borat."), Lindsay Lohan and the Internet phenomenon Lonelygirl15. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who topped the 2005 list, came in at No. 10 — the day before their scheduled gala wedding in Italy.

Previous "winners" include Michael Moore, Russell Crowe and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Gibson gets Latino vision award for "Apocalypto"

Mel Gibson may have few friends left in the Jewish community but his upcoming movie "Apocalypto" could make him a hero with U.S. Latinos.

Gibson received an award from the Los Angeles-based Latin Business Association on Thursday for his "vision and courage" in making his epic tale set in the ancient Mayan Indian empire -- a movie filmed in Mexico and with an all-Hispanic cast.

Showing a conference of Latino business leaders excerpts of the movie, the actor-director described the making of "Apocalypto" as a "badge of honor for the Latino community."

Gibson, who spurred outrage by going on a anti-Semitic rant this summer when arrested for drunk driving, called his Mayan-dialect story of human sacrifice an adventure movie.

He said it was inspired by his own interest in the Mayan civilization, which thrived more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Mexico and Central America. The film is set for release in early December.

He said he spent eight months casting the movie, choosing performers -- some of them Mayans -- who had mostly never acted before. The movie has no star names and most of the crew, including make-up and costume artists and set designers, were also recruited in Mexico.

"It was tantamount to being at the Super Bowl and getting your quarterback from the audience," he admitted. "But they scored touchdown after touchdown. I don't know why no one has gone down there before."


Presenting the award, Latin Business Association chairman Rick Sarmiento said that at a time of anti-Latino rhetoric in the United States, the movie had made him "feel extremely proud of everything to do with our culture."

Latinos are the fastest growing minority in the United States with a population expected to reach 49 million by the end of the decade. But rising Latino influence and purchasing power is clouded by a divisive national debate over illegal immigration, much of it from Latin America.

Gibson's appearance at the luncheon was part of a bid to reach out to a target audience in promoting his $30 million movie, which was seen as a marketing challenge even before his drunken, anti-Semitic outburst in July.

The 50-year-old Oscar winner checked himself to an alcohol rehabilitation center and has apologized, saying he was ashamed of telling police that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Two years ago Gibson had to fight off charges of anti-Semitism surrounding his film "The Passion of the Christ" -- also a deeply personal project -- which despite initial scepticism over its Aramaic and Latin language grossed $611 million worldwide.

Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic, said the Mayan civilization had always intrigued him, although little was known about it in the industrial Western world.

"It is generally a conceit of filmmakers that history only began with Europeans," he said.

"Apocalypto," he said "is not really a Hollywood production. It is a film made by Mexico."

Courtney Love: Mel Gibson Helped Me Get Sober

Courtney Love, now clean and sober for 15 months, says she had some high-profile help on her road to recovery: Mel Gibson.

While she was doing drugs with some men in a posh Beverly Hills hotel room, Love revealed on Tuesday's Good Morning America, the leading man – who himself only recently underwent his own sobering experience – showed up along with addiction counselor Warren Boyd.

"Mel kept coming to the door with this cheesy grin going, 'Hi!'" Love said. "I just kept looking at him going, 'Blank off!' … I know him and he's a nice guy, but it just didn't matter who it was. It could have been Jesus. I didn't care."

But the others doing drugs with her recognized Gibson and left with him to get a cheeseburger – leaving Boyd alone with Love to coax her into rehab.

Love, 42, was ordered into a rehab program in August 2005 after tearfully admitting in court that she'd used drugs in violation of her probation terms. At that point, she knew it was either rehab or jail.

The previous February, Love was sentenced to three years' probation and anger management counseling after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault on a woman at the home of her former boyfriend.

Also on GMA Love admitted to interviewer Diane Sawyer that she once tried out to be a Mouseketeer, though in all likelihood her audition material scuttled her potential: a poem by poet Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide.

As far as her career now is concerned, Love is promoting a recently published memoir, Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love, and working on her new album with veteran music producer and former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry, Billboard recently reported.

In her personal life, Love is determined to stay sober and be the best mom she can to her 14-year-old daughter Frances Bean Cobain, whose father was the late Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain.

"She's fantastic," Love told Sawyer, about her daughter. "She's top of her class, very popular. She hates when I say this, as a matter of fact, she corrects me. I was saying she never kissed a boy. She did kiss a boy, but it was a little kiss. And she's a great sportswoman, and just a great kid all around."

Gibson's "Apocalypto" poses marketing challenge

Talk about a hard sell: this movie stars unknown actors speaking an obscure language and is directed by a man whose off-screen behavior has outraged many.

Figuring out a way to market Mel Gibson's latest movie, "Apocalypto," has many experts scratching their heads.

Unlike "The Passion of the Christ," Gibson's last film, "Apocalypto's" tale of human sacrifice among the ancient Mayans has no built-in audience of millions of Christians to draw on.

The movie also has to overcome months of bad publicity Gibson received after he was arrested for drunk driving and flew into an anti-Semitic rant at the arresting officer.

Gibson has teamed with Walt Disney Co. to market and distribute the film, which debuts on December 8, and he has already begun testing audience reaction by showing unfinished prints to audiences in Oklahoma and Texas.

Disney spokesman Dennis Rice said the studio believes "Apocalypto" will have broad appeal despite the subtitles, subject matter and controversy surrounding Gibson.

"If it's a good movie, people are going to see it," Rice said. "One of the great things about Mel Gibson is that he is a great filmmaker and he has a proven track record," he added, referring to the success Gibson has had with such films as "Passion" and the Oscar-winning "Braveheart."

Rice said Gibson will actively promote the film which will be marketed as "Mel Gibson's Apocalypto." Gibson has publicly apologized for his remarks during the arrest and offered a long interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer to explain what happened.

Gibson has said he hopes to find a wide audience for the film about a pre-Columbian villager who is captured by Mayans to be used as a sacrifice to appease their gods.

"One doesn't ever make a work of art for an elite. I think that is a very selfish and big mistake," Gibson said.

The film, which cost Gibson's Icon Productions an estimated $30 million to make, was shot in Veracruz, Mexico, using local people who had never acted.

A few reviews based on the rough cut screenings have been positive. But industry experts wonder whether the film's association with Gibson would taint it for moviegoers.


Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations, said: "It's not clear who will want to see "Apocalypto. This film is a little more mysterious (than "Passion") which makes it a bit of a marketing challenge."

He added that with all its other marketing drawbacks, the film also must surmount the controversy surrounding its maker.

"I don't know how that cannot be a factor," Dergarabedian said. "His personality has come into play ... but if it's a good movie that will hold it in good stead."

Film historian David Thomson called film marketing "a rather grandiose term for what is really always a gamble."

"Controversy is not a bad way to open a film ... I think the public will be intrigued and I think the current state of his reputation will help, not hurt the film," Thomson said.

Rice said Disney had plans to market the film to Hispanic audiences already familiar with the fall of the Mayan empire.

"We think this movie plays to a wide audience and that there's going to be a tremendous amount of interest generated from the Latino community, especially the Mexican community, because this is a story about their ancestors," Rice said.

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief executive of Enlace Communications and a board member of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, said marketing "Apocalypto" to Latino audiences is "a smart thing to do."

"It's a big film-going community," Newman-Carrasco said. "It's a story that really hasn't been told in any commercial way or public way in the United States and it's a source of great pride obviously to the Mexican community."

Latino moviegoers represent a growing portion of the moviegoing public and are more apt to attend movies on opening weekend, Newman-Carrasco said. They also see more movies per capita than other U.S. ethnic groups, she said.

Borat Skewers Mel Gibson, President Bush

While promoting his newest film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on Friday poked fun at the anti-Semitic comments made by Mel Gibson when he was pulled over for driving under the influence in Malibu.

"I would like to meet the fearless anti-Jew warrior, Melvin Gibson," Cohen, who was playing his character, told reporters at a scripted junket in Santa Monica. "We agree with his comments that the Jews started all wars. We also have proof that they were responsible for killing off all the dinosaurs. And Hurricane Katrina – they did it."

Gibson has since apologized publicly for his anti-Semitic statements, telling Diane Sawyer in a televised interview earlier this month, "Let me be real clear here. I don't believe Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. I mean that's an outrageous, drunken statement."

Gibson was not alone in being lampooned by Cohen, who is Jewish, as he joked about O.J. Simpson, Pamela Anderson (who appears in Borat ) and President Bush. "Kazakhstan very much admires your mighty warlord, George Walter Bush," Cohen said. "He is a very wise man and also a strong man – but perhaps not as strong as his father, Barbara."

Cohen, the controversial star of HBO's Da Ali G Show, has won attention – not all of it positive – for the comedic faux-documentary feature due out Nov. 3.

Cohen, who has previously appeared in Talladega Nights, is doing all interviews for Borat as the film's character, a fake TV journalist from Kazakhstan.

Gibson links "Passion" with anti-Semitic remarks

Actor Mel Gibson says his drunken, anti-Semitic outburst at police this past summer may have stemmed in part from lingering resentment he harbored over the barrage of Jewish criticism leveled at his 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ."

In an interview aired Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Gibson also suggested that his statement to police that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" grew out of his concerns about violence raging between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon at the time.

But the 50-year-old star told interviewer Diane Sawyer he was "ashamed" of the things he said during his July 28 arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Asked by Sawyer, "What are the Jews responsible for?," Gibson replied, "they're not blameless in the (Mideast) conflict," then added: "Now when you're loaded ... the balance of how you see things comes out the wrong way."

"Let me be real clear, here. In sobriety here, in front of you, national television ... that I don't believe that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Gibson told Sawyer. "I mean, that's an outrageous, drunken statement."

And he denied being influenced by the views of his father, Hutton Gibson, a Holocaust skeptic who has said publicly he doubts 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

The interview, run over two days, concluded with Gibson saying he needed to "heal myself" and to "allay the fears of others and heal them if they had any wounds from something I may have said."

Two years ago, Gibson fought off charges of anti-Semitism surrounding his film "The Passion," a blood-soaked portrait of Jesus's crucifixion that Jewish leaders claimed would incite hatred and even violence toward Jews.

"I was subjected to a pretty brutal public beating," Gibson recalled. "The film came out and, you could have heard a pin drop. Not even the crickets weren't chirping. But the other thing I never heard was one single word of apology.

"I thought I dealt with that stuff. But the human heart can bear the scars of resentment, and it will come out when you're overwrought and you take a few drinks," he said.

Reaction from Jewish leaders to Gibson's TV appearance was mixed, with some saying they felt his explanations for his conduct rang hollow.

Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he was heartened by Gibson's closing statement, and particularly touched when the actor said, "the last thing I want to be is that kind of monster."

"But I felt that when Diane Sawyer was probing about why he did it, there was a problem because there is a thin line between explanation and excuses, and some of it came close to excuses," Jacobson said.

Others were more skeptical.

"There is a Yiddish proverb that says that what is on the tongue of a person who is drunk is often in their consciousness when they are sober," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Still Cooper said he was glad Gibson apologized.

"This is a person who can't shrug the whole thing off. He should understand why what he said frightened many people."

Gibson "humiliation" paves way for film campaign

"I'm ashamed that they came out of my mouth," Mel Gibson said to interviewer Diane Sawyer of the anti-Semitic words he uttered during his July drunk-driving arrest in Malibu. "That's not who I am."

Making his first media appearance since the incident, Gibson appeared Thursday in a pretaped, two-part interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" -- the second half was scheduled to air Friday.

Gibson's televised confession, following what he described as his "public humiliation on a global scale," represented not only his first broadcast words on the subject but also a necessary step in clearing the air so that Disney can move forward with marketing plans for his new film, "Apocalypto," which is scheduled for release December 8.

Even before Gibson's arrest, "Apocalypto" posed a tough marketing challenge. Cast with unknowns, the viscerally graphic action movie is told in the Mayan language with subtitles. Gibson, the star and director of such movies as "Braveheart" and "The Patriot," had been expected to be the movie's biggest selling point, but after all the attention paid to his Pacific Coast Highway outburst, separating Gibson's personal baggage from his achievements as a filmmaker also became necessary before the $50 million epic could be released.

"The movie needs to be sold properly," said Alan Nierob, Gibson's press representative. "It couldn't have been sold properly if he didn't do this."

Marketing executives at Disney and Gibson's Icon Prods. are hoping that because the star has made public amends, acknowledging his battle for alcoholism and apologizing for his remarks, they can shift the focus to the upcoming movie.

Some observers might not be ready to absolve Gibson so easily, though.

"Mel Gibson appears to be taking some baby steps in the beginning of a process toward confronting his anti-Semitism," Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman said in response to Thursday's interview. "He's asking the right questions of himself, which is a first step on the road to recovery from prejudice. Gibson still has a ways to go in truly acknowledging his anti-Semitism and the source of the beliefs that led him to utter those hateful words."

Cautioned one prominent Hollywood publicist, who declined to be identified: "It's easy to say that they have to put the DUI (driving under the influence) behind them. (But) ultimately it's not up to them whether it's put behind them. In this town, perception is everything."

At the moment, Disney publicity chief Dennis Rice is waiting for a final print of "Apocalypto" that he can screen for the press. "I want to be able to show the movie when and where possible, so the media can evaluate it on its own merits," he said.

The movie, which was shot in Mexico, isn't finished. Gibson is finalizing the edit, Nierob said, and has to record its score. The studio is planning a wide release but has yet to finalize the number of theaters the movie will play, he said. "Mel Gibson will be active in promoting the movie," Rice said. "Some decisions will be made before November."

Even before his arrest, Gibson planned to launch "Apocalypto" with a game plan similar to the one he developed for his controversial 2004 hit, "The Passion of the Christ." And in the wake of the arrest, he plans to stick to that approach.

For "Passion," Gibson submitted to only three TV interviews. Nierob is now fending off offers from countless TV shows and will be selective, he said.

"Everyone wants to talk to him, which is a nice place to be," he said. But, he added, "anyone who wants to talk to him about issues surrounding his DUI will be referred to ABC for transcripts."

It is unlikely that the director will do a press junket because he hasn't participated in junkets for his most recent films.

Gibson prefers to screen the film for moviegoers and do Q&As afterward, as he did with a two-hour-plus rough cut of "Apocalypto," which he previewed last month -- in Austin, where he showed it at Harry Knowles' Fantastic Film Festival, and in Oklahoma, where he screened it for American Indian groups. "It's his version of test-marketing a movie," Nierob said.

"Show the movie," he said. "You show it like any studio with a good film. That's the reason he showed it as early as he did. Playability is the easy part."

Gibson calls his DUI arrest `a blessing'

Mel Gibson called his DUI arrest "a blessing" and also told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an interview Thursday that he needed "public humiliation on a global scale" to get sober.

But Jewish leaders, addiction experts and media-crisis managers say he must do more to repair his reputation following the torrent of expletives and anti-Semitic remarks he unleashed during his arrest.

Beads of sweat collected on Gibson's upper lip as he denied being an anti-Semite and claimed that alcohol makes people "act, feel and behave in a way that is not you."

The 50-year-old actor-director made international headlines and sparked a Hollywood scandal with his unsavory behavior when he was stopped by police in Malibu in late July. Gibson's two-part taped interview with Sawyer, which continues Friday, is the first time he has publicly discussed the incident, which he said he now sees "as kind of a blessing."

"Sometimes you need a cold bucket of water in the face to sort of snap to, because you're dealing with a sort of malady of the soul, an obsession of the mind and a physical allergy."

He added that "the risk of everything — life, limb, family — it's not enough to keep you from it. That's the hell of it. You are indefensible against it if your nature is one of alcoholism."

Gibson said he has apologized "more than anyone I know."

"It's getting old," he said.

But experts say he hasn't done enough and that Gibson has to accept accountability for his behavior.

"Today was a double, not a home run," said veteran publicist Michael Levine, who has represented Michael Jackson and Charlton Heston, among others. "He did not reach out as he could have."

Part of the problem, Levine said, is that most people believe alcohol is a "truth serum."

"Even in their most drunken moments, they don't utter something that has never crossed their minds," he said.

Richard Rogg, founder of the Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, agreed.

"Our jails are filled with people who did things when they were loaded and they're still responsible for doing them," he said. "Alcohol can make people say things that they don't think consciously but I don't think it can make you say something that somehow isn't in your psyche."

Rogg, who is not involved with Gibson's treatment, said the actor likely "picked up" the anti-Semitic views of his father, Hutton Gibson, who has said the Holocaust was mostly "fiction."

Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, said the issue is one of responsibility.

"The blame was cast on the drinking and not really what he thinks and feels," Diamond said. "I think he has a long way to go in accepting responsibility and confronting the disease of alcoholism."

Rogg said he feels that Gibson's interview with Sawyer is not part of the actor's rehabilitation, but a "well-strategized" career move.

"I don't think it's beneficial toward his recovery," Rogg said. "It's a PR thing."

"Apocalypto," a film Gibson co-wrote, directed and finanaced, will be released by Disney on Dec. 8.

Gibson told Sawyer he has "been angry all my life."

"I try not to have it manifest itself," he said.

He also admitted caring about his appearance in his police mugshot: "The first thing that went through my mind was Nick Nolte's photograph. Vanity won out."

Gibson: I haven't had a drink in 65 days

Mel Gibson calls his anti-Semitic rant following his arrest for drunk driving in July "the stupid ramblings of a drunkard." In an interview with Diane Sawyer set to air on "Good Morning America" on Thursday and Friday, Gibson says that though staying sober is a struggle, he has not had a drink in 65 days.

He adds that he plans to continue making movies and working to heal himself and those he offended.

"All you can do is take another step, keep breathing," he says, according to a partial transcript of the interview released by ABC.

Clean shaven and casually dressed in jeans and a blue checkered shirt, Gibson tells Sawyer he began drinking two months before sheriff's deputies arrested him in Malibu on July 28.

"Years go by, you're fine," he says. "And then all of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose and says, `It's from Oaxaca.' And it's burning its way through your esophagus and you go, `Oh man, what did I do that for? I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.'"

The interview with Sawyer is the first time Gibson has spoken to the media since sparking a scandal by unleashing what he later called "vitriolic and harmful words" during his arrest. Gibson told the arresting officer: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?"

"The last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," he tells Sawyer in the interview.

The 50-year-old actor-director says he knows there are some in Hollywood who will refuse to work with him because of those statements.

"I feel sad because they've obviously been hurt and frightened and offended enough to feel that they have to do that," he says. "Um, and it's their choice. There's nothing I can do about that."

Gibson pleaded no contest to charges of drunken driving on Aug. 17 under a deal in which he will serve three years' probation, pay a fine and attend alcohol rehabilitation classes. He also volunteered to make a public-service announcement about the hazards of drinking and driving.

Gibson tells Sawyer alcohol is `poison'

Mel Gibson calls his anti-Semitic rant following his arrest for drunk driving in July "the stupid ramblings of a drunkard."

In an interview with Diane Sawyer set to air on "Good Morning America" on Thursday and Friday, Gibson says that though staying sober is a struggle, he has not had a drink in 65 days.

He adds that he plans to continue making movies and working to heal himself and those he offended.

"All you can do is take another step, keep breathing," he says, according to a partial transcript of the interview released by ABC.

Clean shaven and casually dressed in jeans and a blue checkered shirt, Gibson tells Sawyer he began drinking two months before sheriff's deputies arrested him in Malibu on July 28.

"Years go by, you're fine," he says. "And then all of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose and says, `It's from Oaxaca.' And it's burning its way through your esophagus and you go, `Oh man, what did I do that for? I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.'"

The interview with Sawyer is the first time Gibson has spoken to the media since sparking a scandal by unleashing what he later called "vitriolic and harmful words" during his arrest. Gibson told the arresting officer: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?"

"The last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," he tells Sawyer in the interview.

The 50-year-old actor-director says he knows there are some in Hollywood who will refuse to work with him because of those statements.

"I feel sad because they've obviously been hurt and frightened and offended enough to feel that they have to do that," he says. "Um, and it's their choice. There's nothing I can do about that."

Gibson pleaded no contest to charges of drunken driving on Aug. 17 under a deal in which he will serve three years' probation, pay a fine and attend alcohol rehabilitation classes. He also volunteered to make a public-service announcement about the hazards of drinking and driving.

Mel Gibson: I Need to Heal Myself

Speaking at length for the first time about his drunk-driving arrest and anti-Semitic comments this summer, Mel Gibson characterizes those remarks as the "stupid rambling of a drunkard."

"The last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," Gibson tells Diane Sawyer in a two-part interview for ABC's Good Morning America, set to air Thursday and Friday mornings.

Gibson also tells Sawyer he is committed to make amends, according to excerpts of the interview on the show's web site. "What I need to do (is) to heal myself and to be assuring and allay the fears of others and to heal them if they had any heart wounds from something I may have said," Gibson says.

Gibson was pulled over shortly after 2 a.m. on July 28 on the Pacific Coast Highway for speeding. He reportedly made anti-Semitic comments during his arrest, for which he later apologized, calling the remarks "despicable."

In August, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving with an elevated blood-alcohol level and was sentenced to three years probation.

Sawyer will ask Gibson about alcoholism and drunk driving in Thursday's portion of the GMA interview. On Friday, she will ask him about his anti-Semitic remarks.

Gibson sorry for anti-Semitic "stupid rambling"

Actor Mel Gibson says his anti-Semitic outburst after a drunk driving arrest last summer was "just the stupid rambling of a drunkard" and he does not want the public to think of him as a monster.

In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer to air on "Good Morning America" on Thursday and Friday, Gibson said he needed to heal himself and "allay the fears of others and to heal them if they had any heart wounds from something I may have said."

"It was just the stupid rambling of a drunkard, you know and ... the last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," he said.

Gibson was arrested in July on suspicion of drunken driving after being caught speeding on a highway in Malibu, California. According to portions of the arrest report that became public, Gibson launched into an anti-Semitic tirade, accusing Jews of starting all wars and demanding to know if his arresting officer was Jewish.

The incident sparked international headlines, drew condemnation from Jewish leaders and led to speculation that Gibson's Hollywood career had been irreparably damaged.

Gibson has since pleaded no contest to drunk driving charges and was ordered to undergo rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. He also issued apologies for his comments through his spokesman.

ABC released some excerpts from its interview with Gibson on Tuesday. He last spoke to Sawyer in 2004 when controversy swirled around whether he or his film "The Passion of the Christ" was anti-Semitic, charges that he strongly denied.

Gibson's latest interview with Sawyer comes as his latest film, "Apocalypto," is due for release in December.

Gibson takes redemption tour to 'GMA'

Mel Gibson's redemption tour is heading to TV. The embattled 50-year-old actor-director, whose high-profile drunken-driving arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic tirade made international headlines over the summer, is set to appear on "Good Morning America" next week.

This follows other efforts by Gibson to mend his personal and professional life, including participating in a recovery program, attending court-ordered alcohol-rehabilitation classes and meeting privately with Jewish leaders to understand the source of his "vicious words," as he described them.

These steps will be followed by the Dec. 8 Disney release of Gibson's new film, "Apocalypto."

Gibson spoke with Diane Sawyer somewhere in Southern California recently for a two-part TV interview scheduled to air on Disney-owned ABC's "Good Morning America" on Oct. 12 and 13. This is the first time he has talked to the media since his arrest.

The interview "will be a segment in the show," said ABC news spokeswoman Bridgette Maney. "It's not going to be the entire `Good Morning America'."

As for what to expect during the discussion, Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, would only say, "We'll have to wait and see."

Gibson has made few public appearances since his July 28 arrest in Malibu, when he told the arresting officer: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?" He also made sexist comments to a female deputy. Gibson later apologized for what he called "vitriolic and harmful words."

Media outlets have clamored for access to the "Lethal Weapon" actor since his arrest. Maney would not address the significance to the show of the interview or how it was secured. Sawyer interviewed Gibson in 2004 about his controversial movie "The Passion of the Christ."

Gibson quietly stepped back into the public eye late last month. He attended two screenings of his new movie in Oklahoma on Sept. 21 and 22. He arrived at the first wearing a mask and wig. He did not speak to reporters.

The actor-director also appeared at a film festival in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 22 where he showed footage from "Apocalypto." He answered questions from fans, who did not ask about his arrest or recovery.

Disney spokesman Dennis Rice would not offer specifics about Gibson's or the studio's plans to market the movie, which chronicles the decline of the Mayan civilization. The subtitled film features a cast of unknown stars speaking in an ancient Mayan language.

"We look at each movie on its own merits and devise a plan from the ground up," he said. "Hopefully it is the best plan that will maximize the opportunity of each picture, and `Apocalypto' is no different."

Some have criticized Gibson, who issued two apologies for his conduct following his arrest, for not doing more outreach toward the Jewish community — especially in light of his recent promotional appearances.

"You would think that he would also find time to say that he wants to address his terrible statements," Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told The Associated Press this week. "His remarks were so anti-Semitic and so hurtful to Jews. You can't make amends for that by talking on the phone to 12 Jews you know from Hollywood."

Nierob said Gibson has met privately with several Jewish leaders, who have been "welcoming and supportive."

Veteran Hollywood publicist David Brokaw said that if Gibson is "really convincing and engaging" during the Sawyer interview, "he could turn it around."

"Mel Gibson, in some form or another, will always be a big star," Brokaw said. "The question is how prophylactic he can or should be about what's happened."

Gibson pleaded no contest to charges of drunken driving on Aug. 17 under a deal in which he'll serve three years' probation, pay a fine and attend alcohol rehabilitation classes. He also volunteered to make a public-service announcement about the hazards of drinking and driving.

He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 17 for a progress report.


SO guess who snagged the very first exclusive with booze-loving, Jew-nonloving Mel Gibson? Everyone wanted it. Television reporters from as far away as downtown Kazakhstan vied for it. Diane Sawyer, who lets no grass and no interview grow under her feet, nailed it. You absolutely must admire that lady. The interview was done earlier this week in Los Angeles, which is why she's been "on assignment" and away from her New York seat on "GMA" this week. Should pull a nifty rating, and it will air in two parts next week, Thursday and Friday.

Tempting Fate

MEL Gibson is doing his best to stay sober - but he's playing with fire by hanging out in bars. The star who last month was caught driving drunk in Malibu and making anti-Semitic slurs to the arresting officer was at an Austin, Texas, watering hole called the Side Bar Friday night. Gibson played pool until 2:30 a.m., but, our spy says, "was only drinking water" and not hitting on the local women as he did before his Malibu bust. Gibson's rep said, "Sounds like Mel."

'Law & Order' Has Chevy Chase, and You Don't

"Law & Order" will do its signature ripped-from-the-headlines take on Mel Gibson's DUI arrest later this season, and the show has signed Chevy Chase to play the Gibson part.

Chase, the "Caddyshack" and "Fletch" star and a two-time Emmy winner, will guest-star on "Law & Order" Friday, Nov. 3 -- the show's first November sweeps episode. NBC says he'll be playing a TV personality who's pulled over for drunken driving "while wearing blood-soaked clothes, and whose religious prejudice comes out after his arrest."

Gibson, of course was charged with DUI in late July after being pulled over in Malibu. As he was being arrested, according to police reports, the actor-director made several anti-Semitic remarks, including "F***ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

He pleaded no contest in August and was sentenced to three years' probation, fined and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The "blood-soaked clothes" part of the "Law & Order" story is the invention of the show's writers.

Chase won an Emmy for his performance on "Saturday Night Live" in 1977 and another the following year for writing on a Paul Simon special. Recent credits include this summer's feature film "Zoom," the Sundance entrant "Ellie Parker" and the indie comedy "Funny Money," which has played at a few festivals this year. The "Law & Order" episode will be his first prime-time TV appearance in a number of years.

Mel campaigns for new movie, against war in Iraq

Mel Gibson has returned to the spotlight to promote his upcoming movie "Apocalypto," and to criticize the war in Iraq, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Almost two months after he railed against Jews when he was arrested for driving drunk in Malibu, the actor made a surprise appearance Friday at Fantastic Fest, an event in Austin, Texas, devoted to new science fiction, horror and fantasy films, the trade paper said in its Monday edition.

He presented a work-in-progress screening of his Mayan adventure tale, and then took questions. About one-third of the full house gathered for the film gave him a standing ovation. The film is scheduled for a December 8 release via Disney.

In describing its portrait of a civilization in decline, Gibson said, "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," drawing parallels between the Mayan civilization on the brink of collapse and America's present situation. "What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"

Appearing alongside Rudy Youngblood, one of the film's actors who hails from the Austin area, Gibson said he plans to make further trims in the film, which ran more than two hours. The print shown did not include sound effects and score, and some visual effects have not yet been added.

Gibson's appearance at the festival, co-founded by Harry Knowles, was reminiscent of a similar appearance he made at Knowles' Butt-Numb-a-Thon, which offered one of the first public previews of "The Passion of the Christ."

Gibson avoids media in Oklahoma visits

Actor and director Mel Gibson visited two Oklahoma towns this week to attend screenings of his new movie, "Apocalypto."

Gibson did not make a public appearance during screenings held at the Riverwind Casino in Goldsby and Cameron University in Lawton. At the entrance of the casino — where the film was shown Friday to a mostly American Indian audience — reporters were kept behind partitions.

He arrived at Cameron on Thursday morning wearing a mask and wig so he wouldn't be noticed, university spokeswoman Amber McNeil said.

Jhane Myers, an Oklahoma City-based publicist who escorted Gibson, issued a statement saying Gibson was "deeply touched by the warm reception he has received while in Oklahoma."

Myers had said earlier in the week that Gibson had canceled the screenings planned for Oklahoma.

Gibson co-wrote and directed "Apocalypto," which is billed as an action-adventure film set in the last days of the Mayan civilization in Mexico. It will be released Dec. 8.

Mel Gibson's Daughter Marries Guitarist

Mel Gibson's daughter, Hannah, married blues and rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd on Saturday in California, the Shreveport Times reports.

Shepherd, 29, who is from Benton, La., proposed to Gibson, 26, on New Year's Eve 2004 in Rome, according to the newspaper.

"She is beautiful," Shreveport-based singer Maggie Warwick, who met Gibson at a concert in the town, told the Times. "She is just a young lady with a sweet personality. She is very sincere. Very mannerly. I think it is a perfect match. It is a special relationship."

Hannah is the oldest of Mel Gibson and wife Robyn's seven kids, and their only daughter.

On his official Web site, Shepherd says he had his first platinum album while he was still in high school (1995's Ledbetter Heights), which he followed with 1997's Grammy-nominated Trouble. His 1999 album Live On also earned a Grammy nod.

Mel Gibson pleads no contest in drunken driving case, gets probation

Mel Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour drunken driving charge Thursday and was sentenced to three years' probation, the district attorney's office said.

Gibson did not appear but entered the plea through his lawyer before Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira, Deputy District Attorney Gina Satriano said in a statement.

Two counts in the original three-count complaint were dismissed.

The arraignment was originally scheduled for Sept. 28 but was moved up at the request of Gibson's lawyer.

Disney confirms distribution of Gibson film

The Walt Disney Co. will distribute "Apocalypto," a Mayan-language film by actor-director Mel Gibson, as planned on December 8, a Walt Disney Studios spokeswoman said on Friday.

That confirmation refutes recent media and Internet reports that family-oriented Disney wanted to sell distribution rights to the film to another studio to distance itself from the controversy over anti-Semitic remarks Gibson made when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving last month in Malibu, California.

"It's not true," Disney spokeswoman Heidi Trotta said of the reports. Disney had no role in producing the film, a thriller with a cast of unknowns that is set in an ancient Mayan settlement and told in the Yucatec dialect with subtitles. Hollywood experts said that until his arrest, it was expected that Gibson would lead the publicity campaign for the film.

Gibson has said the story would be told through the eyes of a Mayan man, his family and village, and would touch on universal themes about "civilizations and what undermines them."

Shortly after Gibson's arrest, Disney-owned ABC television network opted not to produce a miniseries about the Holocaust with his Icon Productions company.

Gibson, 50, has been charged with drunken driving and having an open container of alcohol in his car in connection with the traffic stop, during which he told a sheriff's deputy that Jews "were responsible for all the wars in the world."

The rant prompted some Jewish leaders to call on Hollywood to shun the actor, who holds strong conservative Catholic religious and political views and whose father is a Holocaust denier.

Gibson has apologized and entered an alcohol rehabilitation program.

Gibson's 1994 film "The Passion of the Christ" provoked an outcry from the Jewish community, which saw it as an attempt to inflame anti-Semitic sentiments among Christians.

Kirk Douglas: "Mel's in a Mess"

To put it in movie terms, Spartacus has weighed in on the wreckage wrought by the Road Warrior.

Kirk Douglas took to Daily Variety's Website Thursday night, writing a guest column on the Mel Gibson debacle.

A devout Jew, Douglas, 89, says that while he found The Passion of the Christ to be anti-Semitic when it was released in 2004, he didn't believe Gibson was personally.

"I don't find Mel Gibson anti-Semitic," Douglas said, citing a passage in his new nonfiction book Let's Face It. "He worked with Jews and has many Jewish friends."

But since Gibson's well documented post-DUI arrest outburst, in which he ranted about "f--king Jews" being "responsible for all the wars in the world," Douglas said he had a change of heart.

"There is a Talmudic saying: 'When wine comes in, truth goes out.' I believe that," the cleft-chinned icon wrote. "Within the deep recesses of his mind, there apparently lies a cancerous sore of hatred for the Jews."

Douglas also took issue with Gibson's public mea culpas. "Mel's first apology was too contrite and seemingly not remorseful. His second was an afterthought--oh yes, about those Jews."

Gibson, entered an "ongoing program of recovery" for alcoholism, has insisted he's not a bigot and has vowed to reach out to Jewish leaders for help. But Douglas suggested a different tact:

"He is a Catholic and appears to need some spiritual guidance. Perhaps he should first talk to one of his own faith. Maybe Cardinal Roger Mahony could be a great help,

"This is a serious problem that Mel has to face," Douglas continued. "Whether it is about self-hate, or hatred of others--let's face it--Mel is in a mess."

Douglas is the latest celebrity to offer his take on the Gibson crisis. While some in the industry, including super agent Ari Emanuel, Sony Pictures chairwoman Amy Pascal and comic Rob Schneider, have bashed the erstwhile Lethal Weapon for his anti-Semitic views, others have struck a more compassionate tone. Among the latter group: his Maverick costar Jodie Foster, Patrick Swayze, and most recently, Signs director M. Night Shyamalan, who spoke highly of Gibson during the London premiere of The Lady in the Water.

"He's very kind to everyone around him, he has never treated anyone badly," the filmmaker said, per World Entertainment News Network. "Who he is will always come out and he's an aspiring, sweet guy, so eventually he'll overcome all this."

Also coming to Gibson's defense is one of the religious right's most prominent leaders, Focus on the Family ministry founder James Dobson.

On Thursday, Dobson released a statement of support for the 50-year-old actor-director and suggested that it was time for everybody to move on.

"We certainly do not condone that racially insensitive behavior," Dobson said, "[But] Mel has apologized profusely for the incident and there the matter should rest. Mel has also indicated his willingness to seek help to overcome his alcoholism, and has asked the Jewish community for forgiveness. What more can he do?"

Dobson also sought to separate Gibson's personal ordeal from what his group considers to be the star's greatest screen accomplishment--The Passion of the Christ.

"Our endorsement of it stands as originally stated. We did not believe it was anti-Semitic in 2004, and our views have not changed," Dobson said.

But while Dobson, and no doubt Gibson himself, want people to let it go, the online masses still want to get their licks in.

In addition to a widely circulated South Park episode titled "Mel Gibson Is...Crazy," dozens of amateur video spoofs have hit the Web via video-sharing sites such as YouTube, iFilm, and Google Video.

Several purport to be the unreleased arrest tape. One features a Gibson stand-in (actually former Survivor contestant Rob Cesternino in Braveheart-style face paint) cracking Jewish jokes and interspersing lines from Gibson's filmography, while another, produced by the Laugh Factory comedy club, has Gibson blaming Jews for inventing alcohol, inventing his car and being responsible for the heat wave.

Another Laugh Factory-produced clip, titled Casting for the New Untitled Mel Gibson Project, features two casting directors demanding that the auditioner, Avi Steinberg, act "more Jewish" if he wants a part in the new Gibson movie--in which the Jews control the world. Explains one of the casting directors: "It's a romantic comedy."

James Dobson lends support to Mel Gibson

Focus on the Family ministry founder James Dobson spoke in support Thursday of Mel Gibson and his film, "The Passion of the Christ," saying Gibson's drunken tirade during a traffic stop had nothing to do with "one of the finest films of this era."

Gibson, 50, was arrested for drunken driving Aug. 1 in Malibu, Calif., and launched an anti-Semitic rant toward the arresting deputy. Gibson reportedly said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?"

Dobson said in a statement that "we certainly do not condone that racially insensitive outburst," but added "Mel has apologized profusely for the incident and there the matter should rest."

"Mel has also indicated his willingness to seek help to overcome his alcoholism, and has asked the Jewish community for forgiveness," Dobson said. "What more can he do?"

Gibson has had a troubled relationship with Jewish organizations since his violent 2004 blockbuster about the crucifixion, which some criticized for portraying Jews as responsible for Jesus' death. Supporters, including Dobson, say the movie followed the Gospel story.

"Our endorsement of it stands as originally stated. We did not believe it was anti-Semitic in 2004, and our views have not changed," Dobson said.

Hollywood players debate Gibson and other issues through ads in trade publications

Mel Gibson's drunk-driving arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic tirade provided ample fodder for comedians, bloggers and entertainment-news junkies.

It also kicked off a back-forth among Hollywood insiders expressing their opinions in paid advertisements in the Los Angeles Times and the entertainment trade papers Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

It's a longtime tradition to talk through the trades, said Variety editor Peter Bart, noting that "personal message ads" date back to the 1920s.

"Something like the Mel Gibson attack is the sort of situation that prompts an outbreak of ads," Bart told The Associated Press. "It's a reminder that people like to editorialize personally, whether or not they know how to write."

TV producer Merv Adelson used an Aug. 2 ad in the Los Angeles Times to urge the industry to "make ourselves proud and NOT support this JERK in any way."

On Aug. 3, comedian Rob Schneider, describing himself as "a 1/2 Jew," placed a full-page "open letter to the Hollywood community" in Daily Variety, vowing never to work with Gibson, whom he characterized as an "actor-director-producer-and anti-Semite."

Then came a two-page advertisement from violence expert Gavin de Becker, which appeared in the Aug. 4 edition of the Hollywood Reporter. De Becker wrote a letter beginning "Dear Ari," referring to Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, who posted his own anti-Gibson rant on a blog a few days earlier.

De Becker, who called for forgiveness, said he chose the trade paper as a venue because of Hollywood's impact on people's attitudes.

"The movie business has allowed people all over the world to see into the lives and hearts of other people in a way they never could otherwise," de Becker wrote in an e-mail to the AP. "When I heard a call for revenge against Mel Gibson, asking movie people to refuse to work with him because of assumptions about his beliefs, the trades seemed the best place to offer another view."

As for the cost of these paid missives, it can vary based on specials being offered. But Variety's general rate for a one-page black and white ad run once is $9,980 US. Hollywood Reporter charges $3,500 per page (de Becker's ad ran two pages).

Airing ideas through advertising in trade papers makes sense, said Jonah Bloom, editor of Advertising Age magazine.

"You know that very important people read those trades and you know that you are talking to your peer group, the people you want to influence," Bloom said. "This is a way to get your feelings out there and get some attention for yourself as well."

Advertising is an important part of the "project-driven" entertainment industry, said Tony Uphoff, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter.

Congratulatory ads and those offering stars, shows and movies "for your consideration" during awards season are the most common. But the "open letter" advertisement is nothing new, Uphoff said.

"It's a direct appeal to all the decision-makers who would have a point of view on this," he said. "The concept is very direct marketing and it's as old as the industry itself."

Media-savvy entertainment professionals know that with a paid advertisement they can "shape their message very clearly," said Dave Stewart, chairman of the marketing department at the University of Southern California.

"Left to a press release, you never know what a reporter will do with it," he said. "With an op-ed piece, you never know whether it's going to be picked up and run. This is a way of assuring that you get your point of view out there."

An Aug. 1 ad in Daily Variety for South Park seemed to comment on the Gibson matter, but Comedy Central officials insist it was a push for the show's Emmy-nominated episode.

"C'mon Jews," it read, "show them who really runs Hollywood." The ad showed the four South Park kids standing in front of the Scientology Celebrity Center.

Candidate scraps Mel Gibson fund-raising letter

A California Republican will no longer use a campaign fund-raising letter penned by Mel Gibson following the actor's anti-Semitic outburst during a traffic stop, the candidate's spokesman said on Wednesday.

State Sen. Tom McClintock, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, will stop mailing the letter in light of Gibson's comments after being pulled over for speeding last month, spokesman Stan Devereux said.

Gibson has since been charged with drunk driving amid speculation his rant about Jews causing wars could affect his popularity and Hollywood career. Gibson has apologized and entered an alcohol treatment program.

"Tom was disillusioned by the Gibson incident and his comments and basically directed the campaign not to utilize that letter," Devereux said.

California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres issued a statement saying McClintock should return the funds raised by the letter.

"If McClintock wants his rejection of Gibson's support to be more than an empty gesture, he needs to return the money raised by the letter. Anything less is unacceptable," he said.

Republican political consultant Karen Hanretty said McClintock's Democratic challenger and state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi should not make an issue of the Gibson letter.

"It's not unusual for politicians to be endorsed by entertainers who have problems in their past," Hanretty said.

The entertainment industry has long played a role in California politics, providing campaign funds, activists, candidates and office-holders, including current Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Republican governor and U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Prominent Hollywood Democrats who have mulled bids for the governor's office to unseat Schwarzenegger include actors Warren Beatty and Rob Reiner.

County refuses to release Gibson tapes

Authorities have refused to release video and audio tapes of Mel Gibson's drunken driving arrest, saying the material is part of an "investigatory file" and exempt from the California Public Records Act.

TMZ, a celebrity news Web site, had asked Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca for tapes of the incident in which Gibson uttered obscenity-laced, anti-Semitic comments.

TMZ argued that the tapes should be seen and heard by the public to assess whether the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department gave Gibson preferential treatment.

"The records you have requested are records of the investigation and part of the investigatory file in this matter," replied Gary P. Gross, principal deputy for the county counsel's office. So they must remain sealed, Gross said.

Gross' letter listed basic facts about the arrest but made no mention of Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks at the deputy who pulled him over on Pacific Coast Highway.

No decision has been made on whether to pursue further legal action, the Web site's attorney, Alonzo Wickers IV, said Tuesday.

Harvey Levin, who runs TMZ, said he would wait to see "how the case plays out."

"It could go to trial, and if it does, the tapes would become evidence," Levin said.

Gibson was arrested July 28 after he was stopped shortly after 2:30 a.m. for traveling 87 mph in a 45-mph zone. He was released on his own recognizance later that day.

The 50-year-old actor-director, charged with misdemeanor drunken driving and having an open container of alcohol in his car, is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 28.

If the case is plea bargained, however, obtaining the tapes could become more difficult.

"But there are extenuating circumstances," said Levin. "This puts in context the sheriff's statements about what happened that night."

Questions have been raised about the fact that a Sheriff's Department spokesman initially said Gibson had been arrested "without incident" and made no mention of what Gibson himself latter called his "belligerent" and "despicable" behavior.

The arresting deputy's initial written report, which contained Gibson's controversial statements, was also ordered modified and the comments placed in a supplemental report.


EVEN before Mel Gibson's drunken driving arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic tirade last week, not all residents of Malibu were happy to call their home "Melibu."

Gibson and his wife, Robyn, let some of their seven children roam the tony beach suburb north of Los Angeles unsupervised, and the kids "terrorize" the neighborhood, according to two residents.

One local tells us that Gibson's kids, a daughter, 26, and six sons ranging in age from 7 to 24, "are the holy terrors of Malibu. They do whatever they want."

According to one story repeated by neighbors, Gibson's high-school sons tried to buy two kayaks from a surf shop and demanded the store put them on credit. When told the family didn't have an account there, a source says, "They got very angry and started shouting, 'Don't you know who we are?' " (Staffers at Zuma Jay's and the Malibu Surf Shack, the two kayak stores in Malibu, say they don't recall such an incident.)

Malibu resident Shari Nassimi also finds the Gibson spawn wayward, but in an unspecified way. In a letter to the editor of Surf Rider News, Nassimi writes, "If Mr. Gibson would only pay attention to his own family and children, [who] have had issues of their own . . . he would [stop] perpetuating what he points to in others as evil."

Meanwhile, despite Gibson's apparent dislike of Jews, there are some he likes a lot. His long-time personal bodyguard is an Israeli, Avi Korein, 45, and his publicist, Alan Nierob, is the son of Holocaust survivors.

Now, Gibson has been asked to speak at an L.A. synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, the holiest day of the year. In a letter obtained by, David Baron, the rabbi for the Temple of the Arts, wrote: "In our faith we are commanded to forgive when the offending party takes the necessary steps and offers an apology from the heart."

Fox News entertainment guy Bill McCuddy observes that Gibson's dad is known as a Holocaust denier: "You can't blame Gibson. He's just doing what any good son does. Trying to impress his father."

Swayze: Gibson 'a wonderful human being'

Patrick Swayze has joined several of Mel Gibson's celebrity friends in defending the actor, who in a drunken tirade blamed Jews for the world's wars.

Gibson is "a wonderful human being," Swayze told GMTV in an interview being aired Monday. "He is not anti-Semitic."

Gibson, 50, was arrested on drunken driving charges July 28 on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Calif., where he unleashed an angry anti-Semitic outburst on the arresting deputy.

The "Lethal Weapon" series star and Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart" has apologized twice for his words and acknowledged his long struggle with alcoholism.

Swayze, 53, downplayed his friend's drunken outburst, telling GMTV that "people say stupid things when they happen to have a few, and especially if you don't drink any more, or have limited your drinking for a long time and all of a sudden you decide to have one too many with the boys — you are stupid."

Swayze said most people can behave foolishly without creating a public stir, but stars live under far greater scrutiny.

Swayze, who is starring in the West End production of "Guys and Dolls," said the incident certainly would not end Gibson's career.

"When you are a pit bull, and you love what you do and you are going to continue to grow, that talent will find its way out," Swayze said.

"Talent deserves to be honored. Hands deserve to be slapped if you do something stupid as well, but don't take it too far."

Gibson arrest brings new lawyer to team

Mel Gibson's recent arrest on charges of driving under the influence has brought a veteran Hollywood criminal defense lawyer onto the actor-director's high-powered legal team.

Blair Berk has represented many Hollywood actors, including Queen Latifah, "Saturday Night Live" comedian Tracy Morgan and actress Tracey Gold. She also represented Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens, who in 2004 pleaded guilty to possession of obscene materials and received three years informal probation.

Most recently, Berk teamed up with her partner in Tarlow & Berk, Barry Tarlow, to defend prominent USC geneticist William French Anderson on child molestation charges. In July, Anderson was found guilty by a Pasadena jury of four counts of child molestation.

"It's my only love," said Berk, a Harvard Law School graduate with 15 years of criminal defense experience in California.

Berk isn't just a defense attorney. She is also a staunch opponent of paparazzi and has represented actresses Reese Witherspoon and Lindsay Lohan as witnesses in connection with criminal investigations of shutterbugs who have chased down and frightened the two women. In Lohan's case, one paparazzo collided with her car as she attempted to flee a barrage of cameras on Robertson Blvd. in Los Angeles last year.

Of the Gibson scandal, Berk would only say, "I'm the only lawyer in town who thinks it's inappropriate to talk about a case that is pending."

Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson said Berk's job in defending Gibson is fairly straightforward, "though it's never routine when you have a celebrity," she said.

As a first-time DUI offender, Gibson most likely would get probation plus a fine and perhaps community service. He was charged Wednesday with one count for allegedly driving under the influence on July 28, another after registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 and thus exceeding the legal level of 0.08, and a third count for alleged possession of an open container of alcohol while driving a motor vehicle. His arraignment is September 28 in Malibu Superior Court. If convicted, he faces up to six months in jail.

However, Levenson said Gibson's offensive and anti-Semitic comments at the time of his arrest could prove more troublesome for his legal team.

"It's the transactional lawyers who have to do damage control," Levenson said. "All you have to do is read the op-ed pieces and (advertisements) in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere and you know there are people in Hollywood who don't want to work with Gibson anymore."

Levenson said she wouldn't take Gibson as a client because she is Jewish, but she said that doesn't mean his attorneys should abandon him.

"Lawyers by definition get stuck with difficult clients," she said. "The fact that you have a difficult client doesn't mean you drop them."

Gibson's longtime transactional attorney Tom Hansen and civil litigator George Hedges both declined to comment on Gibson.

The case is People v. Gibson, 6MB01891.

Proposals abound for Mel Gibson's healing process

A Yom Kippur appearance at a synagogue. A trip to Washington's Holocaust museum. A circumcision?

Ever since Mel Gibson said he wanted the Jewish community to help him make amends for his anti-Semitic comments, suggestions have been pouring in, some in jest and some quite serious.

"I don't think he should be totally drummed out of the business," said radio host and comedian Al Franken. "I think he should just have to start all over again." Writing on the Huffington Post blog, he proposed putting Gibson in a movie as an "under-five," an actor who has fewer than five lines.

"Watching the dailies, a producer might say, 'Hey, that busboy who said, 'You dropped your napkin, sir' - he's pretty good.' Then the director will say, 'Of course, he's good. That's Mel Gibson."'

Another talk show host, Joy Behar on ABC's The View, had a more extreme proposal for the actor, whose anti-Jewish tirade during a drunk driving arrest has been a source of incessant talk for a week. "He needs to be welcomed into the Jewish community," Behar said to whoops of audience laughter, "by a public circumcision."

Taking a more serious approach, New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage wrote the actor to propose a visit.

"His apology attracted my attention," museum director David Marwell said in a phone interview. "I thought, if this guy's serious, then we'd be a pretty good first stop." The museum has often worked with juvenile bias crime offenders, teaching them how "words have an impact," Marwell said. Many of its guides are Holocaust survivors.

Susan Estrich, a Fox News commentator and law professor, suggested Gibson visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. "From where I sit, it doesn't matter that he was drunk, but there's no choice but to work with the apology and make the best lemonade you can with it," Estrich wrote on

And a Beverly Hills rabbi invited Gibson to speak on Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, according to TMZ, the celebrity website that broke the initial news of Gibson's arrest and outburst.

"It is one thing to issue a statement but coming directly into the presence of a community is more effective," read a letter from Rabbi David Baron of the Temple of the Arts that was posted on the site. "I feel that Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, would be an appropriate time."

The temple did not immediately return a call for comment.

A more general offer came from the Anti-Defamation League, which had sharply rejected Gibson's first apology but accepted his second, which specifically acknowledged anti-Semitic remarks.

"Once he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse," the group said, it was ready to "help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice."

Bloggers had their own ideas. Adam Hanft, also writing on the Huffington blog, had a list of suggestions for how Gibson could perform community service if necessary, including "three months acting as a tour guide - along with his father - at Auschwitz, where they will take visitors through the concentration camp, paying special attention to the spa; fitness and aromatherapy centre; and breakfast buffet areas." Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, has been quoted as saying the Holocaust was mostly "fiction."

Amid all the talk, some were also focusing on those who weren't talking.

Former TV producer Merv Adelson took out an ad in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times criticizing studio heads for not publicly condemning Gibson. And a columnist at the paper, Patrick

Goldstein, levelled the same charge in a column entitled, The Shame is That So Few Say 'Shame,' singling out Jewish figures such as Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks and Barry Meyer of Warner Bros.

Yet there was debate over whether such figures should be expected to speak publicly.

"Why do we expect them to speak out - because they are Jews?" asked ADL's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, in an interview. "That in itself is stereotypic. These people are in Hollywood because they are writers, producers and actors, not because they are Jews."

Behar, who jokingly suggested the circumcision, said in a phone interview later that it's not just Jews who should be expected to speak. "Any bigoted remarks should be addressed by right-thinking people of all kinds," she said.

One former talent agent saw it all as too public an excoriation of one individual.

"I have difficulty with this public burying of a person," said Alan Kannof, a former chief operating officer at the William Morris Agency. "It's kind of like a mob reaction, a public stoning."

"I myself wouldn't see his movies and I wouldn't hire him," said Kannof, now an independent manager and producer. "But he's an individual, and what he says and does kind of speaks for itself.

Several Hollywood friends defend Mel Gibson in wake of anti-Jewish tirade

Several of Mel Gibson's friends say he's a "different person" when he's drinking, but they do not believe he's anti-Semitic.

Movie producer Dean Devlin said he and his wife are Jewish, and he considers Gibson - who unleashed an anti-Jewish tirade when arrested for drunken driving July 28 - one of his best friends in Hollywood.

"If Mel is an anti-Semite, then he spends a lot of time with us, which makes no sense," Devlin told the Los Angeles Times. He met Gibson while co-producing The Patriot, in which Gibson starred. "But he is an alcoholic, and while that makes no excuse for what he said, because there is no excuse, I believe it was the disease speaking, not the man."

Jodie Foster said she does not believe that drunkenness excuses hurtful remarks, but doubts claims that Gibson is prejudiced against Jews.

"Is he an anti-Semite? Absolutely not," Foster told the newspaper for a story in Friday's editions. "But it's no secret that he has always fought a terrible battle with alcoholism."

Though it was widely believed that Gibson has been sober since the early '90s, some people close to him say he has been on and off the wagon for years.

"I have been with Mel when he has fallen off, and he becomes a completely different person," Devlin said. "It is pretty horrifying."

Gibson was charged this week with two misdemeanour counts of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Foster, who co-starred with Gibson in Maverick, said she believed he will recover from his latest fall.

Gibson "was a shining example of how low you can go when you are young and still pull yourself up," she said. "He took his recovery very seriously, which is why I know he is strong enough to get through this now.

Gibson tirade tapes may not be released

The movie that could be the most important of Mel Gibson's career is one the actor likely will fight to never have released.

The video and audio recording of Gibson's drunken driving arrest could add fuel to the controversy over his anti-Semitic tirade at a deputy who pulled him over and his self-described belligerent behavior when he was brought to a sheriff's station early on July 28.

For now, authorities won't release the tapes.

"They are part of the evidence," said Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore. "Once everything is done and the case is wrapped up we certainly can revisit it."

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said the tapes would not be made public unless they were introduced as evidence at a trial.

"We retain them as part of the investigative file," Robison said. "We do not release them unless they become part of the public record."

However, legal experts agree that it is unlikely that Gibson will ask for a trial.

Gibson's lawyer, Blair Berk, declined to comment on the matter.

TMZ, an Internet celebrity news site that first released leaked sections of Gibson's booking report, is seeking the tapes under the California Public Records Act.

It maintains the tapes should be seen and heard by the public to assess whether the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department gave Gibson preferential treatment.

"We want the tapes not just because of Mel Gibson but because the tape puts the conduct of the sheriff's department in context," said Harvey Levin, head of TMZ.

Questions have been raised about the fact that a sheriff's department spokesman initially said Gibson had been arrested without incident. Also, the arresting deputy's initial written report, which contained Gibson's controversial statements, was ordered modified and the comments were placed in a supplemental report instead.

"Although the sheriff's department has maintained that deputies did not show Mr. Gibson favoritism, the department's prompt release of the requested materials will speak louder than any statement the department's spokesperson can make," TMZ lawyer Alonzo Wickers IV wrote in a letter to the sheriff's department.

Los Angeles' leading First Amendment lawyers said it will be an uphill battle to obtain the tapes before the case is resolved.

But attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said the case is unusual because Gibson has "confessed on the record not only to the charges but to making statements that have nothing to do with the charges."

Boutrous also noted that Sheriff Lee Baca has discussed the contents of the tapes publicly, which may provide a legal argument for their release.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Baca said he believed all evidence had been properly evaluated in prosecutors' decision to charge Gibson with misdemeanor drunken driving.

Baca added that the district attorney's office has said it has received all the appropriate evidence — including the tapes and information on "inappropriate remarks, hateful remarks, anti-Semitic remarks."

Deuce Bigalow vs. Mel Gibson

Rob Schneider's adamant: Mel Gibson has been rubbed out of Deuce Bigalow's black book.

"I, Rob Schneider, a 1/2 Jew, pledge from this day forward to never work with Mel Gibson, actor-director-producer and anti-Semite," vowed an open letter baring the comic actor's signature.

The declaration was published as a full-page ad in Variety on Thursday, an otherwise quiet day on the Gibson nuclear-meltdown watch.

The unsaid joke of the letter is that, up until now, Schneider's and Gibson's paths have never been in danger of crossing. Schneider, the Saturday Night Live alum, makes comedies like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. Gibson, the two-time Oscar winner, makes epics like Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ.

Still, Schneider seems to want to head off any chance collaboration with the blockbuster star who reputedly railed against "f--king Jews" during a drunken-driving arrest last week.

"Even if Mr. Gibson offered me the lead role in Passion of the Christ 2, I, like Bernie Brillstein, would have to say 'NO!'," the Schneider letter declares.

Brillstein is the longtime Hollywood manager who told the Los Angeles Times that, if asked, he would not represent Gibson. "I don't like bigots," Brillstein said.

The Schneider letter evokes Brillstein's name several times, such as when it states that even if Gibson "had a juicy voiceover role in his new flick Apocalypto and I spoke ancient Mayan, I, like Bernie Brillstein would still have to say 'NO!'"

Schneider goes on to rule out potential future work with Gibson's 87-year-old father, Hutton Gibson, who is described as "the Mad Max of Holocaust deniers." And, in a plug for his own upcoming movie, Big Stan, Schneider declares he wouldn't cast the younger Gibson as the film's "Nazi gang leader"--even if he "had a time machine and could go back in time and recast the lead."

Schneider's publicist did not respond to an email Thursday seeking further comment and clarification of the Variety ad. Unknown then was whether a line about a Malibu restaurant ("You won't see ME at Taverna Tony's....anytime soon!!") was Schneider confusing the venue for Moonshadows, another Malibu restaurant, and the one where Gibson reportedly held court in the hours before his DUI arrest.

That Schneider was in any kind of letter-writing form seems to indicate the 42-year-old has recovered sufficiently after collapsing last month on the set of Big Stan. Schneider, who is making his directing debut with the prison comedy, was waylaid by food poisoning and heat exhaustion, his rep said at the time.

Schneider previously practiced his penmanship with an open letter/Variety ad that denounced a newspaper columnist who'd been dismissive of the Deuce Bigalow series.

Gibson, 50, was charged Wednesday with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. In the pair of apologies issued since the July 28 arrest, the star has admitted to driving after drinking, and suffering an alcoholic relapse. He has since begun "an ongoing program of recovery."

Gibson has also begun an ongoing program of recovery, of sorts, with regards to "everyone in the Jewish community." The actor/director has asked for "one-on-one" meetings with Jewish leaders to "discern the appropriate path for healing."

The Anti-Defamation League has accepted Gibson's latest words of contrition. And even Deuce Bigalow has left the door open for a Schneider-Gibson billing.

In the Schneider Variety ad--not to be confused for the South Park Variety ad that seemed to be a Gibson jab, but actually wasn't--the comic writes that if his "financial backers, some of whom share Mr. Gibson's hankering for a good bottle of tequila," think he should work with the Lethal Weapon A-lister, then he might have to heed their advice.

"Because after all, I don't get to call all the shots."

Mel Gibson's rehab choice raises questions

A lot is riding on Mel Gibson's recovery from alcoholism: his health, his image, his reputation and his chance to repair relations with the Jewish community.

But unlike other celebrity alcoholics, Gibson is not checking into a treatment facility. Instead, his publicist says the actor is participating in an outpatient "program of recovery," declining to provide specifics.

Will that be enough?

Many celebrities who have had public problems with alcohol or drugs choose residential rehab facilities. Nick Nolte voluntarily entered a Connecticut clinic four days after his 2002 drug arrest. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-R.I., checked himself into the Mayo Clinic the day after he crashed his car near the Capitol in May. Actor Robert Downey, Jr. was admitted to a live-in treatment center in 2000 after he was released from jail for drug violations.

But a closed-door clinic isn't the only route to recovery, experts say.

Alcoholics Anonymous is an informal society of recovering alcoholics who help one another stay sober by following a 12-step, spiritual approach. Members attend community meetings where they share their personal problems and triumphs.

"We certainly don't say we are the best or the only solution," said Julio, a public information coordinator for the group who asked that his last name not be published. "We only say we have found a solution that works for many of us and we are happy to share information about it with any person interested in not drinking."

Alcoholics Anonymous, known as AA, welcomes alcoholics at any stage of the disease, he said: "The door is always open to anyone who wants to stop drinking."

The Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, which frequently treats celebrities and "people with a level of recognition," offers both inpatient and outpatient programs based on AA's 12-step principle, said executive director Dr. Donna Markus, an addiction medicine specialist.

Doctors assess potential patients to develop individualized treatment plans, she said, which may include pharmacological detox support, individual and group therapy and family counseling.

While "the majority" of Promises patients enroll in the residential program, where their stay could last as long as 30 days, others successfully recover with outpatient treatment, Markus said.

Not everyone needs the structure and supervision an inpatient program provides, said Dr. P. Joseph Frawley, an addiction medicine specialist in Santa Barbara.

Recovery "is a training process," he said, and each addict or alcoholic has specific needs based on their lifestyle, support network and psychological state.

Many alcoholics suffer from "concurring disorders," such as depression or anxiety, said Keith Owens, director of the Irvine, Calif.-based Brookside Institute, where well-heeled substance abusers can clean up for $25,000 a month.

Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and substance abuse at NYU Medical Center/Bellevue, said there are several proven alternatives to residential treatment and AA, such as one-on-one sessions with psychiatrists or psychologists.

A new program developed at NYU, called Network Therapy, combines this therapy with regular meetings with family and friends, said Galanter, author of the book "Network Therapy for Alcohol and Drug Abuse."

"It really depends on the individual and what they want to do," Galanter said. "They have to be interested in not drinking."

Alcoholic celebrities can face additional challenges to recovery, Markus said.

"The foremost challenge is to have a sense of trust and confidence that their privacy will be respected," she said. "They feel like they're under the microscope. They need to know that they're allowed to have their own personal recovery process."

Celebrities must also be willing to abandon their public persona to do the kind of soul-searching required for recovery, she said.

"It's a disease characterized by self-deception and delusion anyway," Markus said. "For a person who is vigilant about maintaining a professional persona, that can certainly compromise (recovery) and make it more difficult."

Mel Gibson charged with misdemeanor DUI

"Passion of the Christ" filmmaker Mel Gibson, who ignited a furor with a drunken, anti-Semitic rant to a sheriff's deputy who stopped him last week along the California coast, was charged on Wednesday with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Gibson, an actor and Oscar-winning director who was at the center of a worldwide controversy over his 2004 blockbuster "Christ," was also accused of driving with an open container of alcohol, Los Angeles County prosecutors said.

The two charges stem from Gibson's arrest early on Friday morning by a sheriff's deputy who saw him speeding along Pacific Coast Highway not far from his home in the exclusive Southern California beach town of Malibu.

If convicted, the 50-year-old film star could face six months in jail, Los Angeles County District Attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. He was scheduled for an arraignment on September 28 in a Malibu courtroom.

Gibson's representatives declined comment on the charges, which accuse him of driving with a blood alcohol count above California's legal limit of .08 percent.

The open container accusation apparently refers to a bottle of tequila found in Gibson's car by the deputy who stopped him and wrote the police report that triggered a media frenzy.

Though Gibson has apologized for his actions that night and offered to meet with Jewish leaders to make amends for the inflammatory remarks, some have called on Hollywood to shun him. Already, ABC has pulled a program about the Holocaust that Gibson, a traditional Catholic who built his own church in Malibu, was producing.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has defended itself against accusations that Gibson was given special treatment because of his fame, though the head of a watchdog agency has pledged to investigate accusations that sheriff's brass tried to cover up the anti-Semitic rant.

Gibson has been one of Hollywood's most bankable stars since starring in the "Lethal Weapon" films of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He won an Academy Award for directing 1995's "Braveheart," which also won the Oscar for best picture.

Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to produce and direct "Christ," which recounts the Biblical tale in which Jesus is betrayed by one of his followers and condemned to die on the cross.

The movie caused a major outcry among Jewish groups who considered it anti-Semitic, and at the time of the film's release they worried the movie could stir up anti-Jewish sentiment.

"Passion of the Jew" Part 2? Not Quite

Sometimes, timing is everything.

Whether it meant to or not, a certain full-page advertisement on the back cover of Daily Variety featuring the four main South Park kids is going to remind people of Mel Gibson just the same.

The Tuesday ad depicts Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny standing in front of a building that's supposed to be L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology Celebrity Center, underneath the tagline, "C'mon, Jews?show them who really runs Hollywood."

While it isn't hard to imagine why Comedy Central has a funny bone to pick with the Church of Scientology, the ad's appearance just a few days after Gibson dinged his reputation by spewing anti-Semitic remarks while being arrested for drunken driving seems too well timed to be true.

And it is, according to Comedy Central.

Since it was designed weeks before, "it was really just a coincidence," network spokesman Tony Fox told E! Online. "We're not above making a clever inside joke at our own expense. We have a sense of humor even about ourselves. With all of our ads we try to have a little edge."

The copy was written by Stephen Kamsler, who also created a Daily Show ad in June that read: "The Daily Show: We had fake news years before CBS hired Katie Couric."

The South Park spread's true purpose was to congratulate creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker for their Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program. And how did Stone and Parker come by that honor? By submitting "Trapped in the Closet," the very episode that Comedy Central X-ed off its rerun schedule in March for reasons officially unknown.

Rumors circulated that the cable network bowed to pressure from Tom Cruise's camp when it yanked the episode--which poked jolly good fun at Cruise, John Travolta, R. Kelly and, now most famously, L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology--from the airwaves. At the time Cruise was busy promoting Paramount's Mission: Impossible III and, with Paramount and Comedy Central both being Viacom-owned entities, Stone told Variety at the time that the M:I:III brass wanted "Trapped in the Closet" to stay on the shelf.

A week after the temporarily shunned episode scored an Emmy nod, however, "Trapped in the Closet" was deemed fit for public consumption again and was re-televised on July 19.

And now there's this accidentally topical inside joke, which touches upon Comedy Central, Scientology, South Park and censorship--but not Mel Gibson.

According to Fox, Comedy Central would never have thought to post an ad like that in reference to Gibson's situation. But does South Park have plans to really spoof the actor, who was charged Tuesday with three DUI-related misdemeanor counts and is already standing trial in the court of public opinion?

"I doubt it," Fox said. "They never go back to the same place twice."

Gibson, of course, has already been grist for the South Park mill. Responding to the controversy over The Passion of the Christ (Gibson's flick was deemed anti-Semitic in some quarters), Stone and Parker penned "The Passion of the Jew" in 2004, in which Stan and Kenny go to see Gibson's cinematic interpretation of Jesus' last day and end up tracking the director down to demand a refund. Additionally, Kyle ends up suggesting that, as Germans did for the Holocaust, the Jewish people should apologize for what they did to Jesus--until Gibson starts acting really nutty and Kyle forgets the whole thing.

We doubt, however, that many people will be forgetting Gibson's real-life nutty behavior quite so easily.

Joy Behar suggests penance for Mel Gibson

Comedian Joy Behar is suggesting a painful way for Mel Gibson to show he's sorry. Behar said on "The View" that Gibson "needs to be welcomed into the Jewish community by a public circumcision." Behar says Gibson's apology won't change him. She says "people like him have it in them to just hate." Earlier this week, Barbara Walters had said she'd never see another Gibson movie again, and she says his second apology hasn't changed her mind.

Mel Gibson not 1st stopped on Malibu road

Mel Gibson is only the latest celebrity to find trouble on an infamous stretch of the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.

A wild-eyed Nick Nolte was immortalized in a 2002 mug shot taken after he was caught weaving along the road under the influence of the drug GHB. Robert Downey Jr. was taken into custody in 1996 after authorities stopped him for speeding on the winding, beach-side highway and found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his car.

With a huge number of celebrity homes nearby and murderously twisty terrain, the PCH, as it's known, has ensnared more than its share of superstars.

Filled with blind spots and hairpin curves wrapped around some of the most beautifully distracting scenery in the country, the PCH has been called an accident waiting to happen.

"At best, stone cold sober, and not fatigued and at 2:30 a.m., it is a difficult road to drive," said Arnold G. York, publisher of the local newspaper, The Malibu Times. "No traffic engineer in his right mind would have designed it this way."

Drivers are supposed to slow to 45 mph through Malibu but — except during rush-hour traffic jams when they have no choice — few ever do.

Not that alcohol, drugs or even bad driving is necessarily involved when a celebrity gets in trouble along Malibu's main drag.

Ben Vereen was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban in June 1993 when he tried to cross the highway in the dark as he walked home from a friend's house. He was badly hurt, but made a full recovery.

Last December, Drake Bell of the hit teen TV show "Drake & Josh" suffered a broken jaw, broken neck and had seven teeth knocked out when his vintage Ford Mustang was struck by another vehicle as he waited to make a left turn from PCH onto another street.

"I was hit head-on at 60 miles per hour while I was at a dead stop," the 20-year-old Bell, who also recovered, told The Associated Press recently.

Authorities say Gibson was traveling at 87 mph, with a bottle of tequila in the car, when his 2006 Lexus LS 430 was stopped Friday morning at 2:36 a.m.

The highway is often pitch dark when people race through the area at night. During the day, with the sparkling Pacific Ocean to the west and sun-dappled cliffs and canyons dotted with multimillion-dollar mansions to the east, there is much to gawk at.

As a result, Hollywood loves PCH. It is a favorite location for television commercials and it was the lead player in the James Garner series "The Rockford Files." Before that, America saw it in the 1960s "Beach Party" movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

Even its pit stops have show business names — there is Dan Blocker State Beach and Michael Landon Community Center, named for the late "Bonanza" TV stars. Leo Carrillo State Park Beach is named for the pioneering Latino actor who played Duncan Renaldo's sidekick in the 1950s TV series "The Cisco Kid."

Almost equally well-known are the sites of some of the highway's more infamous accidents.

Many tourists and locals alike can point out where actresses Shannen Doherty and Bridget Fonda survived traffic accidents.

The highway has even turned at least one person into a celebrity.

Bo Stefan Eriksson, now known in Malibu as the "Ferrari Guy," was driving a rare Ferrari Enzo at 162 mph — about twice as fast as Gibson was going — when he lost control of it one morning last February. He hit a power pole and destroyed a vehicle valued at $1.5 million.

Eriksson, a former executive for a bankrupt European computer game company, is now awaiting trial on charges of grand theft, embezzlement and drunken driving.

"That happened right outside where we live," said 17-year-old Malibu resident Thruv Mehrotra.

Rabbi Invites Gibson As Yom Kippur Speaker

Mel Gibson has received his first invitation to meet with the Jewish community after he issued a statement seeking forgiveness for anti-Semitic remarks he made while drunk.

In response to a plea for help on his "journey through recovery" that the actor issued Tuesday (Aug. 1), a rabbi at a Beverly Hills temple has written Gibson a letter asking him to be a special guest speaker during Yom Kippur.

According to the letter posted on, Rabbi David Baron of the largest entertainment synagogue in America, the Temple of the Arts, annually invites speakers to address reflection, forgiveness or healing -- important issues during that time of year.

"It is one thing to issue a statement but coming directly into the presence of a community is more effective," reads the letter. "To that end I wish to invite you to come and speak in order that you might directly express to the Jewish community your remorse. I feel that Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, would be an appropriate time."

Gibson is invited to either speak on Yom Kippur, Oct. 2, or the previous evening when the 24-hour fast begins. If the filmmaker decides to accept the invitation, he'll be in good company. Last year, Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke about personal forgiveness.

"I have felt that often coming to grips with a deep personal issue of this nature can become a powerful and transformative turning point in a person's life," the rabbi writes. "Key to this issue is the sincerity of the individual and it must be demonstrated in word and deed ... In our faith we are commanded to forgive when the offending party takes the necessary steps and offers an apology from the heart."

Rabbi Baron was recently in Poland to hear Pope Benedict XVI offer prayers at Auschwitz as a gesture toward reconciliation. ABC recently tossed out plans to collaborate with Gibson to develop a miniseries about the Holocaust.

On the Temple of the Arts' official website, the homepage states the synagogue's vision: "To reconnect fellow Jews and all people seeking spiritual enlightenment with the beliefs and traditions of Judaism through the arts. This unique approach allows artists from many diverse backgrounds to create new expressions of Jewish worship and allows for a heightened experience easily accessed by people of any background."

Some have deemed Gibson's apology to the Jewish communities "too late." Rabbi Baron and others at the Temple of the Arts are one of the first to say otherwise.

LATEST: The Anti-Defamation League has also accepted Gibson's attempt at extending the olive branch.

"This is the apology we had sought and requested," states the ADL's National Director Abraham Foxman. "We are glad that Mel Gibson has finally owned up to the fact that he made anti-Semitic remarks, and his apology sounds sincere. We welcome his efforts to repair the damage he has caused, to reach out to the Jewish community, and to seek help. Once he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, we will be ready and willing to help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice."

L.A. watchdog says Gibson arrest seems proper

A Los Angeles sheriff's watchdog said on Tuesday he would investigate whether department brass tried to cover up an anti-Semitic outburst by actor Mel Gibson after his arrest for drunk driving.

Michael Gennaco said a first review of Gibson's arrest suggested it was handled properly by the sheriff's department from the time a deputy saw him speeding along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu on Friday until the evidence was handed over to prosecutors on Monday.

But Gennaco, a former federal prosecutor who heads a county sheriff's oversight agency, told a news conference that he would try to determine if the department "considered how this report would get into the media and was looking for a way to shield that information from the media."

Gennaco said the department would also try to find out who leaked the initial police report to the media, touching off a furor around the actor and Oscar-winning filmmaker.

Gibson, who directed the 2004 blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ," about the last hours of Jesus, apologized on Tuesday for his "vitriolic and harmful words" and asked to meet Jewish leaders to make amends.

Los Angeles County prosecutors were weighing whether to bring charges against Gibson, 50, for driving drunk.

Gennaco said it was already clear that the initial report about the incident filed by the arresting deputy was "modified" by someone at the department's Lost Hills station -- but said that did not necessarily indicate wrongdoing.

That decision appears to have been made at the station level, Gennaco said, and not by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, as some critics have suggested, but he acknowledged that Baca was made aware of Gibson's arrest.

Despite cries of favoritism over the arresting deputy's decision not to handcuff Gibson, Gennaco said that the department did not have a policy requiring handcuffs in all drunk driving cases.

And Gennaco said that, despite concerns over the way information was released to the press, it appeared that Gibson, who was jailed until he could post $5,000 bail, was largely treated like any other drunk driver.

"Fifty years ago he would have been driven home and that would have been it," Gennaco said.

Gibson seeks meeting with Jewish leaders

Mel Gibson on Tuesday apologized for making anti-Semitic remarks after his recent arrest for drunken driving and asked to meet with members of the Jewish community to begin a "path for healing."

"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark," Gibson said in a statement.

"I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested," he added.

Gibson, who directed 2004's blockbuster movie "The Passion of The Christ" about the last hours of the life of Jesus, was caught speeding in his car in the early morning last Friday, and he went on a rant in which he is widely reported to have said "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department report, parts of which have appeared on celebrity Web site, is laced with anti-Semitic statements and expletives said by the actor.

The report said an opened bottle of tequila was found in the car, and that at one point Gibson tried to evade arrest.

But it has been the anti-Semitic remarks that have raised the biggest outcry from members of the Jewish community in and out of Hollywood because before "Passion," the Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart" and star of the "Lethal Weapon" movies denied he or the movie were anti-Semitic.

His statement on Tuesday sought a meeting with Jewish community leaders in which he could explain his actions.

"I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing," Gibson said.

He said he has begun "an ongoing program of recovery," but admitted "I cannot do it alone."

"I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery," Gibson said.

ABC pulls Mel Gibson Holocaust miniseries

The ABC television network said on Tuesday that it has pulled a miniseries about the Holocaust it was developing with Mel Gibson's production company.

The move came after Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving early on Friday and was reported to have launched into a tirade against Jews, asking the arresting officer if he was a Jew and blaming the Jews for starting all wars.

The actor, who holds strong conservative Catholic religious and political views and whose father is a Holocaust denier, apologized on Saturday and has entered a rehabilitation program to treat alcoholism.

But the incident has raised questions about the future of projects Gibson and his Icon Productions company are working on.

A spokeswoman for ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney Co., said an ABC television miniseries based on a memoir about a Dutch Jew during World War II would not go ahead.

"Given that it has been nearly two years and we have yet to see the first draft of a script, we have decided to no longer pursue this project with Icon," said spokeswoman Hope Hartland.

ABC did not give any further reason for its decision to drop the project and Hartland made no comment when asked if the decision was linked to Gibson's behavior at the weekend.

Disney's movie studio arm still plans to release Gibson's self-financed Mayan-language movie "Apocalypto" on December 8, Hollywood's trade papers reported.

The Web site quoted Walt Disney Studios President Oren Aviv as saying he accepted Gibson's apology.

Will Gibson's tirade against Jews hurt his career?

A top film industry agent asked his colleagues on Monday to boycott working with Mel Gibson as Hollywood debated whether the "Lethal Weapon" superstar's career will suffer from anti-Semitic remarks he reportedly made when arrested for suspected drunk driving.

But his comments surprised few in Hollywood, which two years ago wondered whether Gibson "would ever eat lunch in this town again" for making "The Passion of the Christ," a film that triggered debate over whether it was anti-Jewish before it opened.

Once in theaters, "Passion" became a runaway hit and Gibson was back at the top of Hollywood filmmakers.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said on Monday that it sent its full file on Gibson's arrest to the District Attorney to decide if the 50-year-old actor should be charged with drunk driving. At the same time, the department denied allegations it covered up Gibson's remarks, which were revealed by the celebrity Web site

Gibson, whose personal views are far to the right of traditional liberal Hollywood, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving early on Friday and was reported to have launched into a tirade against Jews, asking the arresting officer if he was a Jew and blaming the Jews for starting all wars.

The actor, who holds strong conservative Catholic religious and political views and whose father is a Holocaust denier, apologized on Saturday, saying, "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything said."

He added he had battled alcoholism "for all of my life" and was taking action to prevent another relapse.

A spokesman for Gibson, who won an Oscar for directing "Braveheart," said the actor had entered "an ongoing program of recovery," but declined to give specifics.


Meanwhile, top film industry agent Ari Emanuel issued a statement on in which he called on Hollywood to stop working with Gibson. "At a time of escalating tensions in the world, the entertainment industry cannot idly stand by and allow Mel Gibson to get away with such tragically inflammatory statements," he said, adding:

"People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or Gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line."

Rabbi Marvin Heir, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, called on ABC to reconsider its plans to air a mini-series being made by Gibson about a pair of lovers trapped in the Holocaust.

"If I were ABC I would not have Mel Gibson do a film about the Holocaust. It would be embarrassing," Heir said.

An ABC spokeswoman said the project was at such an early stage that the studio has not even received a first script.

Many in Hollywood debated whether the incident would indeed have an ill effect on Gibson's career, with some saying that they doubted it would because the actor was a money maker for the studios.

"The rule is forgive and forget when you can bring in a film that makes $100 million," one movie insider said.

Film historian David Thomson said Gibson has "been stepping over the line for several years. But the key thing is that he makes money for people and he will not only continue to eat lunch in this town but he will buy lunch."

Deputy hopes Gibson thinks about DUI

The deputy who arrested Mel Gibson on suspicion of drunken driving said Monday that he feels bad for damage to the star's reputation but hopes Gibson thinks twice before drinking and getting behind the wheel.

James Mee, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, told The Associated Press that he considered it a routine arrest and didn't take seriously any comments that Gibson made.

Gibson reportedly unleashed an anti-Semitic tirade and made other offensive comments when he was pulled over, initially for speeding, early Friday along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. He was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Gibson has issued a public apology for his conduct without specifying what he said or did.

"I don't take pride in hurting Mr. Gibson," said Mee, a 17-year deputy who is Jewish. "What I had hoped out of this is that he would think twice before he gets behind the wheel of a car and was drinking. ... I don't want to ruin his career. I don't want to defame him in any way or hurt him."

An official police report on the arrest substantiates claims that Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks and threatened a deputy, officials said earlier Monday.

Sheriff's Department officials sent prosecutors their case, which also says a tequila bottle was found in Gibson's car when he was pulled over.

The entertainment Web site had reported that the sheriff's department was considering eliminating the anti-Semitic remarks from its official report.

The report forwarded to prosecutors cites Gibson as making disparaging comments about Jews, according to the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

TMZ reported that Gibson said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the arresting officer, "Are you a Jew?"

In the interview outside his home, Mee would not comment specifically on what Gibson said.

"That stuff is booze talking," the deputy said. "There's two things that booze does. It amplifies your basic personality. If you are a laid-back kind of person, just an easygoing kind of person, booze is going to amplify that and you'll be just sitting around going how it's a wonderful day.

"But, if you are a high-strung person, it's going to amplify that, and all the bad things are going to come out."

Questions were raised about whether police were covering up Gibson's remarks partly because the actor has a relationship with Sheriff Lee Baca. He has dressed in a sheriff's uniform to film public service announcements for Baca's Star Organization, a charity group that raises scholarships for children of department employees. Gibson also donated $10,000, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

A tentative arraignment date was set for Sept. 28, and a sheriff's spokesman Monday defended the department's handling of the case.

The department was "convinced because of our investigation and because of his own self-illuminating statement that he will be convicted of driving under the influence," Whitmore said.

Gibson, 50, won a best-director Oscar for 1995's "Braveheart," and starred in the "Lethal Weapon" and "Mad Max" films, among others.

Gibson arrest sparks new accusations of anti-Semitism

A sheriff's spokesman Monday defended the handling of Mel Gibson's drunken driving arrest in Malibu last week amid allegations the department covered up anti-Semitic remarks reportedly made by the actor-director as he was being taken into custody.

The allegations of anti-Semitism stemmed from a leaked arrest report that quoted Gibson as saying, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asking a deputy, James Mee, "Are you a Jew?"

The entertainment news Web site TMZ posted what it said were four pages from the original 8-page arrest report.

"This case is going to go to the district attorney," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters Monday at sheriff's headquarters. "In that case file will be his statement, will be our report, will be everything pertinent to his blood-alcohol level. We have done our job. We hope we've done it with not only professionalism and intelligence, but held to the highest standard of legal and moral imperative."

Whitmore said county prosecutors will decide the next step after a review of the case, but that the Sheriff's Department was "convinced because of our investigation and because of his own self-illuminating statement that he will be convicted of driving under the influence."

The mug shot taken of Gibson when he was booked was not released. Whitmore said the case investigator would decide when to release it.

Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, would not elaborate beyond an apology Gibson issued Saturday in which the star admitted he uttered "despicable" things to deputies during his arrest, but made no mention of anti-Semitic remarks.

The county's Office of Independent Review, a civilian panel of attorneys that monitors the Sheriff's Department and allegations of misconduct, has opened an investigation into whether authorities tried to cover up Gibson's alleged inflammatory comments, said its chief attorney, Mike Gennaco.

"Assuming that the report was excised, then the question is was it done for a good reason within regulations," he said.

Gibson, dressed in a sheriff's uniform, has filmed public service announcements for Sheriff Lee Baca's relief committee, the Star Organization. The group raises scholarships for children of department employees.

"There is no cover-up," Baca told the Los Angeles Times. "Our job is not to (focus) on what he said. It's to establish his blood-alcohol level when he was driving and proceed with the case. Trying someone on rumor and innuendo is no way to run an investigation, at least one with integrity."

Gibson's public service announcement spoke about the benefits of the Star Organization and Gibson also donated $10,000 to it, Whitmore said.

Asked if the sheriff's department extended special consideration to Gibson because of that relationship, Whitmore said: "Again, and I will say it as long as you wish me to: absolutely not."

Gibson was arrested after deputies stopped his 2006 Lexus LS 430 for speeding at 2:36 a.m. Friday. Whitmore said deputies clocked him doing 87 mph in a 45 mph zone.

A breath test indicated Gibson's blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent, Whitmore said. In California, a driver is legally intoxicated at 0.08 percent.

Gibson posted $5,000 bail and was released hours later.

In his statement, Gibson said he has struggled with alcoholism and taken steps "to ensure my return to health."

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Gibson's apology "unremorseful and insufficient."

Gibson, 50, won a best-director Oscar for 1995's "Braveheart," and also starred in the "Lethal Weapon" and "Mad Max" films, among others.

In recent years, he has turned his attention to producing films and TV shows through his Icon Productions. His last major starring role was in the 2002 film "Signs." He played a supporting part in the 2003 film, "The Singing Detective," which he also produced.

The hundreds of millions of dollars he made producing the 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" has given the star the ability to finance his own films, giving him a measure of independence from the major studios.

His next project is "Apocalypto," a movie about the decline of the Mayan empire that is being distributed by The Walt Disney Co.

Gibson arrest sparks new accusations of anti-Semitism

The arrest of Mel Gibson for drunk driving prompted renewed accusations on Sunday that the Oscar-winning director and actor harbored anti-Semitic feelings.

Gibson, whose controversial 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" was a major hit, was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning for allegedly driving his 2006 Lexus at 87 mph (140 kph) along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the beach town north of Los Angeles.

Celebrity Web site posted portions of what it called the arresting deputy's original report, which said Gibson was abusive, shouted anti-Jewish slurs and boasted that he "owned Malibu."

The TMZ report quoted Gibson as saying, "F..... Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." He then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

Gibson issued a statement on Saturday in which he apologized for driving while drunk and for his "belligerent behavior" toward the Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs who arrested him.

In his statement the 50-year-old actor said he has "battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."

He added: "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable."

The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement on Sunday that Gibson's response was "unremorseful and insufficient" and that his tirade "finally reveals his true self."

Many Jews and others were upset that "The Passion of the Christ" revived ancient Christian accusations that Jews bore responsibility for Jesus' death.

"It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism," said ADL national director Abraham Foxman.

"We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite," he said.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that a civilian committee overseeing the sheriff's department would investigate whether officers tried to cover up Gibson's behavior and statements to save the star from embarrassment.

Gibson rocketed to fame in the late 1970s in the movie "Mad Max" and scored huge box office hits playing a cop in the "Lethal Weapon" movies.

In 1995, he acted in and directed "Braveheart," about 13th century Scottish rebel William Wallace. The movie earned 10 Oscar nominations and won five of the top film awards, including directing for Gibson and best picture of the year.

Mel Gibson apologizes for DUI arrest, 'despicable' remarks

Mel Gibson issued a lengthy statement Saturday apologizing for his drunk driving arrest and saying he has battled alcoholism throughout his life.

The actor and The Passion of the Christ director also apologized for what he said were "despicable" statements he made to the deputies who arrested him early Friday on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested," he said in a statement issued by his publicist. "I disgraced myself and my family with my behaviour and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."

He said he was taking "necessary steps to ensure my return to health."

Publicist Alan Nierob declined to elaborate beyond Gibson's statement, and sheriff's Sgt. Rich Erickson declined to respond, saying the case was still under investigation.

Gibson, 50, was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol after deputies stopped his 2006 Lexus LS 430 for speeding at 2:36 a.m. Friday. Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said deputies clocked him doing 140 km/h in a 70 km/h zone.

A breath test indicated Gibson's blood-alcohol level was 0.12 per cent, Whitmore said. The legal limit in California is 0.08 per cent.

The actor-director posted $5,000 US bail and was released at 9:45 a.m.

Gibson also apologized Saturday for what he called "my belligerent behaviour" when he was taken into custody.

"The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person," he said.

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable."

Nierob and sheriff's officials declined to discuss what Gibson said.

Gibson won a best-director Oscar for 1995's Braveheart and had a 2004 religious blockbuster with The Passion of the Christ. He also starred in the Lethal Weapon and Mad Max films, What Women Want and The Man Without a Face, among other movies.

Gibson's statement on DUI

The following is the complete text of Mel Gibson's statement regarding his arrest for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol:

"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the L.A. County sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person.

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said.

"Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behaviour. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behaviour and for that I am truly sorry.

"I have battled the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behaviour unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."

Mel Gibson Arrested for DUI

An early-morning drive in Malibu ended in a not so picturesque way for Mel Gibson.

The Oscar-winning star was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving at 2:36 a.m. Friday, according to authorities and online records from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Gibson was detained while driving along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the sheriff's department said. The actor was booked, and later released from custody, Whitmore said.

"Right now, it's an ongoing investigation," Whitmore told E! News.

Gibson's bail was set at $5,000, online records show.

This is at least the second DUI arrest for Gibson, 50, though the first since he was widely reported to have begun attending Alcoholic's Anonymous meetings in the early 1990s. The earlier DUI bust occurred in 1984 in Toronto, where Gibson was filming Mrs. Soffell with Diane Keaton.

Twenty years ago, Gibson responded to his troubles by stepping back from his movie career.

"I wasn't channeling the energy properly," Gibson said in a 2004 CNN profile on the actor. "It was too much in the race, and I didn't have enough Petrol, but I was going for the finish line anyway."

The erstwhile Lethal Weapon will unveil his latest film as a director, Apocalypto, in December.

Mel Gibson said to offer aid to Mexico poor

Mel Gibson, about to wrap up the filming of his new movie "Apocalypto" in the jungles of Mexico's Veracruz state, is donating money to build houses for poor people in the region to thank them for their help and hospitality, government officials announced.

Gibson will give the money through the Rotary Club and Mexico's family-welfare agency. It will be used to construct homes for poor residents of the port city of Veracruz and the city of San Andres Tuxtla, according to a news release issued late Thursday by state officials.

Gibson began filming "Apocalypto" last fall. The movie, set 500 years ago in Central America, will be spoken in an obscure Mayan dialect, in the same way Gibson used Aramaic and Latin for his religious blockbuster, "The Passion of the Christ."

This is not Gibson's first demonstration of generosity in Mexico: Last October, he met with President Vicente Fox to announce that he would donate US$1 million (euro790,000) to help Mexico recover from Hurricane Stan. Hurricane Stan and related storms left more than 1,500 people dead or missing in Central America and Mexico.

EW ranks 'Passion' most controversial film

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" ranks as the most controversial film of all time, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The magazine ranks the 25 films that have most shocked, disgusted and divided moviegoers, in its June 16 issue, on newsstands Monday.

EW writes that Gibson's grisly depiction of Jesus' betrayal and crucifixion ignited "a culture-war firestorm unrivaled in Hollywood history." Despite — or to some degree, because of — the religious uproar, the 2004 film grossed over $370 million at the U.S box office.

Coming in second is Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange." Kubrick's 1971 futuristic film is famous for a violent scene during which "Singin' in the Rain" is played. Reports of copycat crimes led to the movie's withdrawal from distribution in Britain.

Oliver Stone has the unique distinction of landing twice on the list: 1991's "JFK," ranked at No. 5, and 1994's "Natural Born Killers," at No. 8.

"The Da Vinci Code," now in theaters, charts at No. 13 for the debates spawned by its tale of a Catholic cover-up. Another recent film, "United 93," ranks at No. 16 because of concerns that it came too soon after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Also among the 25: "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Deep Throat," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "The Deer Hunter," "Basic Instinct," "Do the Right Thing" and "Kids."

Movie stars can't crack top 10 of L.A.'s richest

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was named the richest man in Los Angeles on Monday by a local newspaper that also ranked filmmaker Steven Spielberg among its 50 most wealthy citizens but largely omitted Hollywood stars.

Kerkorian, an 88-year-old investor, topped the list of the 50 richest people in America's second-largest city, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, which estimated his wealth at $9.3 billion.

He was followed by Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. executive chairman Sumner Redstone, 82, whose fortune the newspaper put at about $7.4 billion, down 11 percent after stock in both companies fell during the past year.

Although Spielberg, one of Hollywood's best-known directors, was pegged at 14th on the lineup with a net worth estimated by the paper at $2.8 billion, few film stars made the list.

In fact only Mel Gibson, who amassed much of his fortune from producing 2004's religious blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ" was able to crack the top 50, landing at No. 47 with a net worth estimated by the newspaper at $850 million.

USA Network joins with Gibson, Grazer on series

USA Network has joined forces with Mel Gibson's production company to develop an Iraq war drama, the cable channel said Tuesday.

"Peace Out," from Gibson's Icon Prods. banner, is envisioned as a six-hour series that tells a fact-based story of two young American men who head out for adventure in Iraq after the fall of Baghdad.

The announcement was made during USA's "upfront" presentation to advertisers. Also on the slate for next season is a limited series based on Gigi Levangie Grazer's best-selling novel "The Starter Wife," about a recent divorcee redefining herself in Hollywood after years of marriage to a studio mogul. (Grazer and moviemaker husband Brian Grazer recently announced they had split up.)

USA's other new projects include "Stuck in Paradise," about a tennis pro who begins work at a tropical resort and finds that he can't leave because of a contract issue; "Burn Notice," about a spy who gets fired and then goes into business for himself while he finds out who set him up; and "To Love and Die in L.A.," about a woman who learns that her long-lost father was an assassin.

USA also intends to dip into telenovelas with two late-night series that will air three nights a week for a 13-week run: "The Hamptons," about the famed Long Island towns, and "Secrets of the Spa," about a desert spa resort.

Flush from its success with a social networking Web site called Show Us Your Character, USA will delve further into digital media by offering a new broadband Flash player that will stream the season premiere of "Monk" and the series premiere of "Psych" on June 30. It will be available on the Web, and as video-on-demand on cable, satellite and through telco offerings.


SANDRA DAY O'Connor, Jay-Z, Melissa Etheridge, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey, the Dalai Lama and Anne Coulter - what do they have in common? All are among those chosen by Time magazine for its annual "Time 100" dinner of movers and shakers on May 8 at Lincoln Center. Jay-Z is listed under "Builders and Titans." Miss Winfrey, Miss Etheridge, the Dalai Lama and Mr. Gibson are among the "Heroes and Icons." Former Supreme Court Justice O'Connor is in the "Thinkers and Scientists" list. Anne Coulter, the flame-breathing conservative writer/talker? She's in - get this - "Artists and Entertainers." So is Sean Penn. One only hopes they are seated at the same table.

Mel Gibson's Mayan epic Apocalypto delayed

Movie fans will have to wait a bit longer to see Mel Gibson's next foray into olden times, the Mayan epic Apocalypto.

The action adventure has been bumped from Aug. 4 release to Dec. 8. A spokesman for Disney, which is releasing Apocalypto, said Sunday the production had fallen behind because of heavy rains in the wilds of Mexico, where Gibson is shooting the film.

Like Gibson's religious blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, which was shot in Aramaic and Latin, Apocalypto is being done in an ancient tongue, Yucatec Maya.

Apocalypto follows the journey of a Mayan hero on the run through the rainforests of pre-Columbian Mexico.

Mel & "Passion" pals ponder "Big Question"

An intriguing if ultimately trivial companion piece to "The Passion of the Christ," "The Big Question" consists simply of interviews with various participants in that film responding to questions about theology, faith, God and the meaning of existence.

But what might have made for an interesting short film lacks the weight to sustain its 75-minute feature length, and even the presence of Mel Gibson, Jim Caviezel (in full bloody Christ mode) and Monica Bellucci is unlikely to attract any but the "Passion" obsessed. The film was released Friday via ThinkFilm.

Directed by Francesco Cabras and Alberto Molinari, who were involved in the production of "Passion," the film presents tightly edited, brief snippets of interviews with various unidentified figures, many of them clad in their period costumes. Responding to such universal queries as "Who is God to you?" and "Do you believe in miracles?" they deliver thoughtful, heartfelt responses, none of which is exactly revelatory.

Needless to say, Gibson's brief segments dominate the documentary, and the actor is indeed quite frank about his own spiritual crisis, admitting that without his fairly recent religious devotion he would have "devolved into chaos."

Adding some necessary but ultimately pretentious stylization to the proceedings are brief, dreamlike interludes in which an ominous white dog prowls around the environs of the "Passion" locations and a musical soundtrack featuring a variety of world music influences.

Gibson to Speak Ancient Tongue at Oscars

Mel Gibson will give audiences a preview of the ancient language spoken in his upcoming movie, "Apocalypto."

During a brief appearance on the Academy Awards on Sunday, Gibson will speak Maya, the only language in the film. His last movie, "The Passion of the Christ," was performed in Latin and Aramaic.

"I wanted to shake up the stale action-adventure genre," Gibson told Time for a story on the magazine's Web site. "So I think we almost had to come up with something utterly different like this."

"Apocalypto" is set in pre-Columbian Mexico and is being shot on the fringe of southern Mexico's rain forests. It addresses the end of civilizations and contains warnings about environmental degradation and political fear-mongering.


Mel Gibson found wife Robyn Moore through a dating agency, and it worked, and it's still working,


Susan Sarandon on Mel Gibson: "[He] is beautiful, but only on the outside."

Mel Gibson planning television miniseries on Holocaust survivors

Mel Gibson stirred passions with his blockbuster Passion of the Christ and might well again with his latest project - a non-fiction television movie set against the backdrop of the Holocaust.

Gibson's Con Artist Productions is developing Flory, based on the true-life love story of a Dutch Jew named Flory Van Beek and her non-Jewish boyfriend who sheltered her from the Nazis.

Gibson's involvement in the project has already raised some eyebrows because critics claimed Passion contained anti-Semitic elements, a charge Gibson has denied. Gibson's father also is on the record denying that the Holocaust took place.

"For him to be associated with this movie is cause for concern," said Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania, and the author of an annual study of Holocaust denial.

"He needs to come clean that he repudiates Holocaust denial, and that he understands the Holocaust was not just another atrocity that occurred in the World War II along with other atrocities."

Gibson was in Mexico working on Disney's Apocalypto and couldn't be reached for comment by the New York Times or Daily Variety.

Quinn Taylor, ABC's senior vice-president in charge of television movies, acknowledged that controversy surrounding Gibson could help publicize the project. But he had a harsh reply for early critics.

"I would tell them to shut up and wait to see the movie, and then judge," said Taylor, who oversaw ABC's Emmy-winning miniseries Anne Frank. "I'm not about to rewrite history. I'm going to explore an amazing love story that we can all learn from and, hopefully, be inspired by."

Flory is based on Van Beek's 1998 memoir, Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death. With her husband, Felix, Van Beek survived the sinking of their ship as they tried to flee to safety in Chile, and three years of hiding during the German occupation of Holland.

They emigrated to the United States in 1948. She now lives in Newport Beach and is in her early 80s.

The movie has not been formally green-lighted and it wouldn't air until at least the 2006-07 season. It's also unclear whether Gibson will be the executive producer.

Flory is being designed as a four-hour miniseries but ABC will make the final decision on the length, said Daniel Sladek, an independent producer who pitched Van Beek's story to the network and is slated to be one of the executive producers.


MEL GIBSON'S film distribution com pany bought U.K. rights to Woody Allen's hotly anticipated film "Match Point." Now they say there were heated arguments over poster design. In Great Britain, movie folks wanted Scarlett Johansson to dominate the promotion. But Woody was said to desire something more abstract and arty. Gibson's people won the day for Scarlett in England. But in the United States, this sexy young girl is hardly recognizable in Woody's preferred version of the ads. In any case, this film, which also stars steamy Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, is rumored to be the fabled director's best, most accessible work in years.

Mel Gibson to shoot epic movie in Mayan language

Actor Mel Gibson, who turned a Latin script on the crucifixion of Christ into box office gold last year, is in Mexico to shoot his latest film: an action movie shot entirely in an ancient Mayan tongue.

The star turned independent director was in the eastern state of Veracruz this week where he is to film "Apocalypto," a thriller set in an ancient Mayan settlement and shot in the Yucatec dialect.

"It's set before the Conquest, so there are no European faces, and we are using mostly indigenous people and actors from Mexico City," Gibson, sporting a long beard, said at a news conference in the port city of Veracruz.

"There's still a lot of mystery to the Mayan culture, but when all is said and done, it's just the backdrop to what I'm doing -- creating an action adventure of mythic proportions," he said, blinking before a bank of flash lights.

Gibson achieved fame with lucrative movies like the epic "Revolution," the sci-fi thriller "Signs" and the "Lethal Weapon" series and has become one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, commanding a fee of $25 million a film.

A devout Roman Catholic, he had the greatest hit of his career with last year's "The Passion of the Christ," which became the most successful independent film ever made despite its impenetrable Latin and Aramaic dialogue and stomach churning flogging sequences.

The 49-year-old star is making "Apocalypto" through his Los Angeles-based Icon production company with an undisclosed budget. It will be distributed by Disney, although the shooting script remains under wraps. Filming starts in November.


The runaway success of "The Passion of the Christ," which grossed more than $600 million worldwide, has given Gibson the financial freedom and industry clout to pursue projects like "Apocalypto."

"Above all, film is a business ...Independence is a really cool thing as you can be a bit more bold, and take a few more chances with what you do," he said.

Gibson said the story would be told through the eyes of a Mayan man, his family and village, and would touch on universal themes about "civilizations and what undermines them," but he declined to go into details about the plot.

He said Mayan myths from the Popol Vuh sacred texts formed part of his research for the film, which also drew on input from indigenous groups and Spanish mission texts from the 1700s and Mayan language translators.

"A lot of it I just made up, and when I checked it out with historians and archeologists, it wasn't that far wrong," he said.

After visiting Guatemala, the Yucatan Peninsula and Costa Rica to scope out locations, he settled on unspoiled jungle in Veracruz to frame the story.

Residents in the rain-swept streets of Veracruz, near where Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes first made landfall in 1519, gave their support to the project.

"It's just great that he's making a film about Mayan culture," marimba player Manuel Guerrera said as he prepared to play with a local street band in the city's colonial square.

"It's a neglected part of our heritage, and it makes us feel really proud," he added.

Gibson's popularity in Mexico has been boosted by his recent donation of $1 million to the victims of hurricanes that hit southern Mexico, including heavily Mayan areas.

Gibson Gives $1M for Mexican Storm Relief

Actor Mel Gibson, sporting a long beard and no socks, met with Mexican President Vicente Fox on Wednesday and donated $1 million to help Mexico recover from Hurricane Stan.

Fox's office said Gibson asked to meet with Fox because he wanted to help after Hurricane Stan hit the Gulf state of Veracruz, where the actor is filming a movie.

The hurricane and related storms left more than 1,500 dead or missing in Central America and Mexico. Another storm, Hurricane Wilma, was expected to come close to hitting Mexico's Yucatan peninsula late this week.

Gibson is filming the movie "Apocalypto," set 500 years ago in Central America.

Dialogue will be spoken in an obscure Mayan dialect, in the same way Gibson used Aramaic and Latin for his religious blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ."

Film review: Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man

Built around a tribute concert that took place at the Sydney Opera House in January, "Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man" is an affectionate and intimate celebration of the acclaimed troubadour in stirring music and words.

Culling 13 performances from the "Came So Far for Beauty" evening, which was produced by concept album maestro Hal Willner, Australian filmmaker Lian Lunson has gracefully woven in testimonials from his musical peers, personal photos and artwork, and alternately candid and amusing self-analysis from the notoriously private man of the hour-and-a-half, himself.

While Cohen's far-reaching fan base will be pleased -- his ruminations on love and loneliness have been embraced by everybody from Diana Ross to punk rockers -- the Lions Gate release also serves as a terrific primer for the as-yet uninitiated.

Among the many musical riches are heartfelt performances of Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel #2" and "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright, who's accompanied on the latter by his sister Martha and Joan Wasser; while "Suzanne" and "I'm Your Man" are done interpretive justice by Nick Cave.

There's also a beautiful rendition of "Anthem" by Perla Battala and Julie Christensen and a delightfully theatrical take on "Death of a Ladies Man" by Jarvis Cocker and Beth Orton.

And, as icing on Cohen's 70th birthday cake, the man whose low, gravelly rumble of a singing voice only grows more intriguing with age is joined by U2 for an eloquent reading of "Tower of Song" produced exclusively for the film.

The only drawback is that many of those terrific performances are subject to requisite cutaways to pertinent images or interview subjects in the interest of pacing and time, but presumably they'll be made available for enjoying uninterrupted and repeatedly on DVD.

Performers: Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Bert Orton, Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Jarvis Cocker, The Handsome Family, Antony, Julie Christensen, Perla Battala, Leonard Cohen and U2

Director: Lian Lunson

Producers: Lian Lunson, Mel Gibson

Executive producers: Erik Nelson, Kevin Beggs, Sandra Stern, Bruce Davey

Cinematographers: Geoff Hall, John Pirozzi, Lian Lunson, Brit Marling

Editor: Mike Cahill

Music: Leonard Cohen

Gibson Asked to Stage Christ's Crucifixion

Hollywood actor-director Mel Gibson has been asked to recreate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the streets of Sydney if the city is selected to host a major Catholic gathering in 2008, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Gibson's staging of the Stations of the Cross, a live interpretation of Christ's final hours, would be part of a bid by the city to secure the Catholic Church's World Youth Day in 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The crucifixion reenactment — similar to scenes from Gibson's hugely successful film "The Passion of the Christ" — would begin with the Last Supper staged at Sydney's landmark Opera House at sunset, and would end with the crucifixion of Christ at St. Mary's Cathedral, according to bid documents the newspaper said it obtained.

The Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, told the newspaper that intermediaries had "started approaches" to Gibson to stage the event. Gibson's involvement with World Youth Day was on the city's "wish list," Pell said.

"He might well be attracted. I think his devotion to Christ is very real," he said.

The venue for the 2008 gathering, expected to attract an estimated 400,000 young Catholics from 160 countries, will be announced by Pope Benedict XVI on Aug. 21, in Cologne, Germany, the newspaper said.

Gibson teams up with Disney on Mayan-language film

Actor-director Mel Gibson is well on his way to cornering a new niche market in Hollywood -- movies written in ancient languages.

A year after breaking box-office records with "The Passion of the Christ," which was shot in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew, Gibson has struck a deal with the Walt Disney Co. to release his next picture in a Mayan dialect.

Gibson is due to begin shooting the film, titled "Apocalypto," on location in Mexico in October and is aiming for a summer 2006 release, spokesman Alan Nierob said on Monday.

As with "Passion," Gibson will direct and produce the Mayan-language film from his own script through his own company, Icon Productions, and he will not appear in the movie.

The film's cast will consist of unknown performers native to the region of Mexico where the film is being shot, Nierob said. Few others details about Gibson's project were revealed.

"He lets his work speak for itself," Nierob said.

The story, which Gibson began writing nine months ago, is described as a "unique adventure" set 500 years in the past. Nierob said the title, "Apocalypto," was taken from the Greek word for an unveiling or new beginning.

A note on the first page of the script says: "The dialogue you are about to read will not be spoken in English." Gibson presumably will have the script translated into Mayan by a scholar of the language and release the film with English subtitles, as he did for "Passion."

A Disney spokeswoman confirmed that the studio had agreed to team up with Icon to handle marketing and distribution for the movie but declined further comment.

Entertainment trade paper Daily Variety reported that at least three studios passed on the film before Disney landed rights to it.

Still, the Disney deal demonstrates how much Gibson's clout in Hollywood has grown since he made "Passion," which was financed entirely out of his own pocket and issued by the small, independent studio Newmarket Films.

At the time, many industry analysts scoffed at what they saw as the commercial folly of making a film in Aramaic about the last hours of Jesus.

But intense media attention and a heavy Christian turnout helped propel the controversial film to well over $600 million in ticket sales worldwide, making it the most successful R-rated movie ever.

It remains to be seen whether Gibson can repeat his success with a subtitled film that lacks a built-in religious-based audience or controversy like the criticism leveled by some Jewish leaders at "Passion."

In the meantime, the "Lethal Weapon" star has put on hold what was to be his next acting project -- the Icon-produced drama "Under and Alone" for director Antoine Fuqua at Warner Bros., Nierob said.

Gibson's "Apocalypto" Is Nigh

In The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson revived the Aramaic language. For his next movie, he'll give new life to an ancient Greek term.

Apocalypto is the title of Gibson's next self-financed epic, Daily Variety reported Friday. Shooting is scheduled to begin in October, and a summer 2006 release is planned.

The film is described as an action picture, set 3,000 years in the past. Details otherwise are sketchy, and that's the way Gibson apparently wants it. According to Variety, the star requested studio execs read the script at his offices, less any pages get leaked.

As Gibson did on Passion, the Oscar-winning multihyphenate is directing, writing and producing, but not starring. Also as was done on Passion, his Icon Productions is footing the bill. While Hollywood studios were reluctant to distribute the religious epic that ended up grossing more than $611 million worldwide--the independent company Newmarket Films handled the honors--Disney beat out rivals for dibs on Apocalypto, the trade paper said.

Apocalypto is a Greek term meaning unveiling. It is not to be confused with Apocalypso, the 2003 album by vocalist Rita Calypso, or apparently even apocalyptic, the adjective of biblical doom. In fact, according to Variety, Gibson's Apocalypto is "not religious in theme."

In Passion, Gibson retold the final hours of Jesus' life, often in excruciating detail. Though movies dealing with religious figures hadn't been welcomed by the masses since the 1950s, Gibson's was, and found itself credited with bringing AWOL audiences back to theaters.

One group Passion didn't click with was Oscar voters. The film, accused sight unseen by some as a work that would fuel anti-Semitism, took home zero awards. Overall, the film earned three nominations, not one of which was for Gibson, who'd won two Oscars for directing and producing Braveheart.

Since the passions over Passion died down, Gibson has focused on television--he produced two short-lived shows last season, Clubhouse and Complete Savages--and fending off a stalker. Outside of a cameo on Complete Savages, and some supporting work in independent films, Gibson, the actor, hasn't starred in a Hollywood movie since 2002's Signs.

Mel Gibson's stalker wanted to pray, sentenced to three years in prison

An Idaho drifter convicted of stalking Mel Gibson was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.

Zack Sinclair, who had confronted Gibson after the release of the actor-director's film The Passion of the Christ, was convicted in March.

Sinclair was arrested in September 2004. Prosecutors said he went to the gate of Gibson's Malibu estate repeatedly that month after evading neighbourhood security and asked to pray with the star.

The 35-year-old Sinclair, dressed in a yellow and blue jail jumpsuit, acted as his own lawyer. He declined to speak during the brief sentencing hearing in Superior Court.

He has remained in custody and will immediately begin serving the sentence.

Gibson, 49, wasn't in court for the sentencing. A message left for his spokesman wasn't immediately returned.

During the trial, Gibson testified that he was attending church services in September when he got up briefly and returned to find Sinclair sitting in his seat. Sinclair moved within a few inches of his face, Gibson said, telling him, "Hi, I'm here to pray with you."

Gibson said Sinclair wasn't "overtly threatening," but he worried about his family's safety.

"My wife was upset and worried. She didn't want to find him in the living room drinking tea," Gibson said.

Oprah's Got the Power

Last month, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise teamed up for a revealing expose on Cruise's extremely real passion for new girlfriend Katie Holmes.

This month, Winfrey and Cruise are linked again with both A-listers achieving top 10 status on Forbes magazine's Celebrity 100 list.

Holmes, on the other hand, didn't make the cut.

The Forbes list ranks famous folk according to their power, which in turn is determined by the size of their paychecks combined with their media presence. Hence the big names of yesteryear (hello, women of Friends) can easily be replaced by a more timely act (hello, women of Desperate Housewives).

Winfrey, whose number one ranking on the list secures her the title of world's most powerful celeb (at least until next year), raked in $225 million in the last 12 months through her reign as Queen of Daytime Television. The talk-show host climbed two rungs from her already lofty number three status of last year.

Cruise dropped a few notches from last year's number four ranking but still managed to pull off a more than respectable standing at number 10 with yearly earnings of $31 million.

Coming at second was Tiger Woods, whose impressive skills on the links were good enough for an $87 million paycheck. Also ranking high in the athletics department was number five, Shaquille O'Neal, whose hoop dreams pulled down $33 million. Mel Gibson, whose religious epic The Passion of the Christ secured him the top spot on the list last year, fell to number three, but pulled in a hefty $185 million thanks to DVD sales.

After being absent from the list last year, George Lucas was back with a vengeance at number four, thanks to the huge box office gross of Star Wars: Episode III--The Revenge of the Sith and a hefty payday of $290 million. Fellow sci-fi aficionado Steven Spielberg, whose War of the Worlds opens next month, came in at number six with yearly earnings of $80 million.

On a musical note, sparring singers Madonna and Elton John are close again, at least when it comes to the list. The Material Girl came in at number eight, while the Rocket Man landed the number nine slot.

Funnymen Will Ferrell and Dave Chappelle cracked up the list for the first time this year, coming in at numbers 18 and 78, respectively. Also appearing on the list for the first time is Denzel Washington, whose $30 million earnings put him at number 31.

Elsewhere on the list, sibling rivalry was the theme as Jessica Simpson (64th) outranked little sis, Ashlee (76th). Both sisters made the list as "personalities" as opposed to "musicians."

Reversing the trend, tennis ace Serena Williams (62nd) outpaced big sister Venus (81st). However, both Williams sisters got served by Maria Sharapova (57th) whose earnings of $18 million made her the highest-paid female athlete on the list.

Jennifer Aniston, who just two years ago topped the list, fell from last year's ranking of number 17 to 37, while her former Friends costars Courteney Cox Arquette and Lisa Kudrow dropped off the list entirely.

Meanwhile, Desperate Housewives stars Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Nicollette Sheridan made the list as a group in the personalities category, coming in at number 25.

In the teen queen race, Lindsay Lohan (52nd) ultimately edged out reputed rival Hilary Duff (54th), but both were outmatched by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen whose combined earnings of $21 million landed them at number 35.

Then there were the famous folk who made the list while their significant others were excluded. Cameron Diaz (66th) made the list, but her boy toy Justin Timberlake didn't. Jennifer Garner (70), yes; daddy-to-be Ben Affleck, no. Will Smith (13th) made the cut; wife Jada Pinkett Smith, not so much. Brad Pitt (11th) on the list; Angelina Jolie--oh wait. Our mistake. They just play a couple in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Right?

Notably absent from the Celebrity 100 this year were perennial list-makers Tom Hanks and Jim Carrey, as well as Today host Katie Couric.

The full Celebrity 100 power list can be found in the latest issue of Forbes magazine, which hits newsstands Friday.

Here's a recap of the top 10 celebs and their earnings:

1. Oprah Winfrey, $225 million
2. Tiger Woods, $87 million
3. Mel Gibson, $185 million
4. George Lucas, $290
5. Shaquille O'Neal, $33 million
6. Steven Spielberg, $80 million
7. Johnny Depp, $37 million
8. Madonna, $50 million
9. Elton John, $44 million
10. Tom Cruise $31 million


THE pope's funeral placed Mel Gibson into divine contem plation. And what he's contemplating is following the movie of Jesus Christ with a movie of John Paul. The Savior played well at the box office but scourging, flogging and crucifying is a tough act to follow. Unless it's "Mary Magdalene: The Musical," there seemed no other religious follow-up idea. Jesus wasn't going to rise again just for a sequel. But then came the mighty pageantry, the millions of pilgrims and the towering power of the Vatican. Mel dispatched a production crew to film the spectacle, crowd scenes, the historic majesty. In other words, the ending of his future film is already in the can. No business like show business.


IF gazing longingly at the scandalously bare feet of male celebrities is your idea of a good time, you might want to hit eBay. There's an auction lot of photos of barefoot actors whose once-innocent agreement to doff their shoes and socks for glossy magazine spreads has now provided fantasy fodder for the discriminating foot fetishist, reports A-list tootsies of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are alongside B-listers like Jean-Claude van Damme. Happy bidding.

'Braveheart' Sword Comes to New York for Tartan Day

The sword used by Scottish independence hero William Wallace, known to many from the film "Braveheart," has left Scotland for the first time to join "Tartan Day" celebrations in New York starting this weekend.

"The sword is a symbol, it's a national icon in Scotland in the same way the original Declaration of Independence is a national icon in the United States," Colin O'Brien, Provost of the Scottish city of Stirling, said on Friday after its arrival in New York.

Tartan Day -- which barely registers on the radar of most Scots -- was invented by the U.S. Senate in 1998 to honor "the outstanding contribution of millions of Scottish-Americans to our great nation."

This year there will be a week of celebrations around Tartan Day on April 6, which marks the anniversary of the 1320 signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland's own declaration of independence from the English.

O'Brien said it was the first time in 700 years that Wallace's sword had traveled beyond Scottish borders.

"This was the sword used by William Wallace when he defeated the English army in the battle of Stirling Bridge (in 1297)," he told Reuters Television. "It laid the foundations for the Scottish nation at that time."

Heavily dependent on tourism, Scotland has never shied away from promoting its heritage, from bagpipes and tartan to whiskey and smoked salmon. This year's New York program promises genealogy seminars to help some of the 12 million Scottish Americans to trace their roots as well as Scottish dancing and fashion -- and of course the sword.

The double-handed weapon, measuring just over 5 feet and weighing 6 pounds, will go on show at New York's Grand Central Station from Saturday as part of a "Scottish Village" exhibition of all things from the tartan nation.

The sword was kept at Dumbarton Castle for 600 years after Wallace's execution in 1305, and was later moved to the Wallace Monument at Stirling. It is due to return home on April 11.

'Buffy' Vet Trachtenberg Takes a 'Dive'

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" co-star Michelle Trachtenberg will play the lead role in "The Dive From Clausen's Pier," Lifetime's adaptation of Ann Packer's novel.

John Wierick adapted Packer's book, which focuses on Carrie Bell (Trachtenberg), a young woman who is having doubts about marrying her high school sweetheart. After he's paralyzed in a diving accident, she's forced to reexamine her life and flees to New York. Once she finds professional success and new love in the Big Apple, she gets to reexamine her life again.

Harry Winer ("Alias," "Veronica Mars") is adapting the production, which comes from Con Artists, the television arm of Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, and Fox Television Studios.

Trachtenberg's new feature film "Ice Princess" opened over the weekend and made roughly $7 million. The star of "Harriet the Spy" and Eurotrip" is still best know as Dawn Summers on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"We are thrilled that Michelle is joining us to bring Ann Packer's celebrated novel to life," Trevor Walton, Lifetime's senior vice president of original movies. "It's an absorbing, suspenseful and sexy story that explores the dilemma of choosing between what you feel you owe to the people who love you and what you owe yourself. We are also delighted that this movie marks our first foray into partnership with Icon Productions and Fox Television Studios."

Gibson's 'Passion' Voted Favorite Movie of 2004

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" may have been snubbed by the Academy, but it's still popular with the American people.

The movie -- currently revisiting theaters in a shorter, less bloody form -- will receive the Consumers Choice for Favorite Movie of 2004 award at the closing ceremony of ShoWest 2005 in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 17.

Coca-Cola's Vice President of Entertainment Partners and Strategic Alliances Kathleen Ciaramello and USA Today's Senior Vice President of Advertising Jacki Kelley will present the award to Gibson, who acted as the film's director, producer and co-writer.

USA Today's print and online readers selected "Passion" as their favorite from the Top 10 grossing movies of the previous year. This marks the first consumer award for movie of the year to be presented at ShoWest.

"Passion," which recounts the final hours in the life of Jesus, was the third highest-grossing film in the U.S. for 2004 earning $370.3 million. It received Oscar nominations for original score, makeup and cinematography.

'Passion' Increased Anti-Semitic Violence in 2004

Predictions that Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" would incite violence against Jews may have come true.

The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith says that ever since the release of the controversial film in 2004, anti-Semitic attacks has increased in Canada, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Whereas only nine incidents in 2003 had religious connotations to the story of Jesus' death, there were 32 such incidents in 2004, nine of them in February when the movie opened and a further 15 in the three months following its release," reads the 2004 B'nai Brith report.

Some of the incidents described in the audit include: a Montreal caller telling a Jewish organization, "We don't need Mel Gibson's film to hate you!"; a minister on Toronto TV claiming that there was "Jewish plot for world control"; and the defacement of a synagogue with crosses.

Frank Dimant, the VP of B'nai Brith Canada, claims the anti-Semitic incidents reached an all-time high in 2004 and were becoming increasingly violent.

Months before "Passion" opened on Ash Wednesday 2004, critics likened it to Medieval Passion plays, claiming that the depiction of Jews as responsible for Christ's death would create anti-Semitic sentiments and actions.

A re-cut of "Passion" is currently in theaters, edited for its bloodier scenes. The film set the box office ablaze in 2004, making it the third highest-grossing film in the U.S. for the year earning $370.3 million. It has received Oscar nominations for original score, makeup and cinematography.

Gibson Resurrects 'The Passion' with Less Gore

Mel Gibson is releasing a recut version of his controversial film "The Passion of The Christ" in Britain over Easter to lure moviegoers who stayed away from the original because of excessive gore.

Gibson said he chopped about six minutes from the two-hour, blood-drenched film about the last hours in the life of Jesus for "The Passion Recut" after people told him they would not have felt comfortable bringing certain friends and family.

"I have softened it somewhat," Gibson said in a video clip on a Web site for the film,

"I maintained the integrity of the film that I wanted to make yet alleviated some of the more horrific aspects of it," added Gibson, who wrote, directed and produced the film that brought charges of blasphemy and anti-Semitism.

"I'm hoping it will attract a wider audience."

Both versions show Jesus, as played by James Caviezel, being brutally beaten for more than half the film. The new version, among other changes, removes a scene depicting a nail driving through Christ's hands, according to media reports.

"No longer do chunks of flesh fly across the screen, though blood still splatters and sprays with the same luxuriant excess as it does in 'Kill Bill: Vol. 1,"' a New York Times critic wrote, comparing it to Quentin Tarantino's martial arts film.

The Passion Recut opened in the United States on March 11. It will be released in Britain on Good Friday, the day that commemorates the crucifixion, which falls on March 25 this year.

It is also set for release in Ireland, Spain and Denmark on March 18, in Australia and the Netherlands on March 24 and in the Czech Republic on March 25.

Though it was snubbed for nominations in high-profile Oscar categories, The Passion proved a surprise blockbuster with more than $600 million of ticket sales worldwide last year thanks to high Christian turnout and media attention over the controversy.

The DVD version also sold well.

Protestants in Northern Ireland, Catholics in France and Jews across Europe and the Middle East were angered by the film.

It even prompted a Texas man to confess to murder, a crime for which he was sentenced to 75 years in prison last August.

'The Passion Recut' goes easier on the gore

It's called The Passion Recut, but there's actually less cutting in the movie this time around.

Mel Gibson's toned-down version of his biblical blockbuster, The Passion of the Christ, removes some of the grisliest images as Jesus is scourged, beaten and crucified. The film is being released in about 952 theaters today, in advance of Easter, March 27.

Gibson, who declined to be interviewed for this story, says on the movie's Web site that the movie is a gift for admirers who had friends or relatives who couldn't stomach the brutality of the original.

About six minutes have been eliminated.

Along with deleting some graphic shots, Recut features some new images that replace the most blood-drenched acts of torture, often by providing a distant view of action that was close-up in the original, says Bob Berney, president of Newmarket Films, which distributes the film.

"There are new shots but no new sequences," he says. "(Gibson) uses different angles. When you make a movie, there are always different shots."

The two sections getting the most trimming: a scene of flagellation (which had a notable shot of a whip ripping skin) and the scene in which Jesus is nailed to the cross, says the Rev. John Bartunek, a Roman Catholic priest and friend of Gibson's who screened the revision last weekend.

"I was surprised because I was expecting only visual alterations, but there were also some audio adjustments," says Bartunek, author of the book Inside The Passion. "I wasn't aware before of how much the sound effects added to the graphic nature of the scenes."

The film is spoken in Latin and Aramaic with English subtitles, and Bartunek says Gibson also softened some of the translations as the soldiers discuss the process of crucifixion.

The Passion of the Christ became a $370-million-grossing phenomenon last year. Its unflinching depiction of torture and death on the cross distinguished it from any other film about Jesus.

Gibson and Newmarket hope to make a theatrical release an annual Easter tradition. Keeping it in theaters is especially important because its brutality makes it unlikely to play on television, says Berney.

Gibson hasn't announced whether The Passion will ever be shown on cable, and "even the cut-down version probably is not going to be on a main network," Berney says.

Bartunek says Gibson's changes haven't softened the story. "The emotional intensity hasn't been turned down. I've seen the movie about 70 times. It still made me cry."

Gibson's Stalker Undergoes Psychiatric Evaluation

A man convicted of stalking Mel Gibson has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Zack Sinclair, a homeless man who acted as his own attorney in the stalking case, will be assessed over the course of 90 days after Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta expressed that Sinclair wasn't fit for state prison, reports the AP. The results of the testing will help determine his sentence.

Sinclair was initially arrested in September for visiting Gibson's Malibu home and pressing the actor-director to pray with him. Gibson had testified that during church services in September 2004, he briefly got up from his seat, but when he returned, it was occupied by Sinclair, who told him, "Hi, I'm here to pray with you."

He was arrested again a month later for violating a restraining order Gibson had filed against him, which barred Sinclair from contacting the actor or coming within 100 yards of Gibson, his family, their home, his work, the children's school and the chapel where he worships.

According to prosecutors, Sinclair is also behind letters sent to the Gibson family that cite biblical verses, praise the director's film "The Passion of the Christ" and detail prayers said for Gibson.

Sinclair was convicted Friday, March 4 of felony stalking and faces up to three years in jail.

Shorter Version of 'The Passion' to Open

Director's cuts are usually longer, beefed up with precious footage — at least in the filmmaker's mind — that ended up on the cutting-room floor the first time around.

But Mel Gibson's "The Passion Recut," in theaters Friday, is actually six minutes shorter than his 127-minute original "The Passion of the Christ," one of last year's biggest films.

The footage Gibson deleted is some of the goriest, which he says he removed to make it more palatable for a wider audience. While "The Passion" grossed more than $370 million in the United States alone, some critics believed its depiction of Jesus Christ's crucifixion was relentlessly, shockingly bloody.

Gibson, the director, producer and co-writer, explains in a video introduction on the film's Web site that he was flooded with responses to "The Passion" after its debut nearly a year ago, many from people who loved the movie. Churches organized group outings for members to see it together, while some Jewish leaders feared the film might foster anti-Semitism.

But Gibson added, "Some of you actually said that you wish you could have taken your Aunt Martha, Uncle Harry or your grandmother or some of your older kids, and you thought that perhaps the intensity of the film was prohibitive to those people. So I listened to that and it inspired me to recut the film to cater to those people that perhaps might not have seen it because of its intensity or brutality."

Bob Berney, president of Newmarket Films, which released "The Passion" last Ash Wednesday, said the distribution company had always considered offering the film annually at Easter.

"We talked about it and decided that instead of rereleasing the original, to put it out instead in this recut version," Berney told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Some of the more extreme moments have been taken out and it does have a change in tone."

It also has a change in rating. When "The Passion" came out last year, it was rated R "for sequences of graphic violence." Newmarket had hoped the recut version would receive a PG-13 rating, but the MPAA ratings board ruled it was still graphic enough to merit an R.

So it's being sent out unrated this weekend to 950 theaters, with Berney saying "it's up to them to put it out with an R" — or to put it out at all. Some theater chains have said they won't show the movie because it has no rating and it's already come out on DVD.

"It's still a really intense film and Mel Gibson feels this is not compromising in any way," Berney said. "It's still a very personal, moving, intense film, but shaded down a bit."

Exhibitors Split Over Unrated 'Passion' Cut

Nearly a year after "The Passion of the Christ" became a boxoffice sensation and a cultural phenomenon, Mel Gibson's retelling of Jesus Christ's last 12 hours is still a tough sell.

Gibson and his distribution partner, Newmarket Films, are releasing a recut version, timed to the Easter season, that features less violence in hopes of luring more moviegoers. However, because the film is being rereleased without a rating and because it also is available on DVD, numerous theater chains have decided not to play the film, which grossed $370 million domestically last year.

Still, according to Newmarket Films president Bob Berney, the film is expected to bow Friday (March 11) on 950 screens, up considerably from the 500-700 theaters originally planned for the rerelease because of demand.

Earlier this year, Gibson and Newmarket decided the director would recut the film, eliminating some of the violence some moviegoers found so disturbing in order to make the film accessible to more consumers. Gibson cut about six minutes from the film, mostly scenes of violence involving Jesus (Jim Caviezel), and resubmitted the film to the MPAA ratings board with hopes of achieving a PG-13 rating. Cuts were made in the flaying and crucifixion scenes.


But the MPAA gave the edited version an R rating, the same it had awarded the film last year. Since it did not want to rerelease the film with a restrictive R rating, Newmarket, which is not an MPAA signatory and therefore doesn't have to comply with MPAA guidelines, decided to release the film unrated.

Marketing materials accompanying the film tout its toned-down violence. In addition, Gibson addresses his fans on a Web site,, explaining in a video statement, "Some of you felt the intensity of the film was prohibitive (to some people). I listened to that, and it inspired me to recut the film to cater to those people who might not have seen it because of its intensity or brutality. Indeed I have softened it somewhat. It's still a hard film. I maintained the integrity of the film that I wanted to make yet alleviated some of the horrific aspects of it."

In England, the recut film received a new rating. While the original was rated 18, meaning no one under 18 could see it, the new version received a 15 rating, permitting anyone 15 and older to view the film.

In the United States, Newmarket was able to book the film in some theater chains, while others have decided not to play the film.


"Because the picture is unrated, each individual theater company will decide if they are going to play the picture and how they deal with the ratings issue if they do play it," said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners. "Some companies have decided not to play it at all. Some companies are going to play it, but for the most part those companies that are playing the picture will treat it as an R-rated picture. NATO recommended to its members that they treat this picture like an R-rated picture because the content of the picture justifies an R rating."

Texas-based Cinemark U.S.A. will not play the film in any of its theaters. "The film is not rated and it's out on DVD," Cinemark spokesperson Terrell Falk said. "We have a policy against playing unrated films. Even though we did quite well with it the first time around, we will not play it now."

Both Loews Cineplex and AMC Theatres will play the film but are planning to enforce the R rating originally issued by the MPAA. According to AMC spokesperson Pam Blase, the second-largest U.S. theater chain will honor the rating "because it's in the best interests of the guests. We always follow MPAA guidelines, and since that is the decision they came down with, we will follow those guidelines even though the film is being released unrated." AMC plans to play the recut film in 186 of its theaters nationwide, though the company says that number may grow as the release date gets closer.


Regal Entertainment Group will not play the film at all, but sources close to the company say those reasons are more about the legal issues Regal has had with Gibson's Icon Entertainment, rather than the rating.

The two companies recently settled a lawsuit, forcing Regal to reduce its fourth-quarter net income by $8.3 million. In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, Regal charged church groups an extra $500 each for private screenings held before the film's opening last year. The charge was for administration fees associated with the screenings, and Gibson is said to be sending checks to hundreds of church groups to reimburse them for the fees.

Regal was not available for comment at press time.

Bay Area-based Century Theatres is considering not playing the film because it is already available on DVD. Fox Home Entertainment has sold 13 million copies of the film since it was released in August. Century had no comment at press time.

For Newmarket and Gibson's Icon, the film's rerelease is an experiment of sorts. The companies are hoping for a four-week run that will extend through Easter Sunday, March 27. If the experiment goes well, Newmarket and Icon would like to release the film annually to coincide with the Christian holiday.

While Newmarket's Berney is upbeat about the movie's prospects over the Easter holiday -- the same period last year marked an upsurge in ticket sales for the film -- he admitted that the film is entering uncharted territory.

"With all the business this film did in theaters and DVD," he said, "it's not easy to guess how this recut version will do."

Man Found Guilty of Stalking Mel Gibson in L.A

A homeless man, who wrote letters to Mel Gibson claiming God had sent him to pray with the director of "The Passion of the Christ," was found guilty on Friday of stalking Gibson.

Zack Sinclair, 34, faces 16 months to three years in prison for felony stalking.

The case received widespread attention this week as Gibson turned up at a Los Angeles courthouse to face his stalker, who represented himself at trial.

A seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated less than three hours before finding Sinclair guilty of other charges that he violated a restraining order barring him from contacting Gibson.

In July of 2004, Sinclair, a transient from Idaho, began sending Gibson letters telling the actor he was sent by God to Los Angeles to pray with him and help strengthen Gibson's religious faith.

In September, Sinclair turned up at Gibson's mansion in Malibu, California, after sneaking past security guards.

He also showed up at Gibson's church, where the celebrity was attending a mass, but was escorted outside by security men.

In October, Sinclair was arrested for violating a permanent restraining order barring him from getting near the actor-director.

Gibson told jurors he was worried Sinclair might harm his wife and family.

Sinclair wrote Gibson a series of 12 letters, in which he said he had spent time in mental health facilities and been in prison for more than two years for stalking a woman.

"I realized we were probably dealing with somebody who was fairly deluded," Gibson told a packed California courtroom at Sinclair's trial on Thursday.

Sinclair, in a gray sport coat and slacks, sat passively throughout the reading of verdict.

Actor Gibson Faces Accused Stalker in Calif. Court

Actor-director Mel Gibson faced his accused stalker in court on Thursday as the filmmaker behind "The Passion of the Christ" said he was worried about his family's safety and was even concerned for the defendant.

Gibson, appearing in a gray sport coat and black shirt, remained calm through much of his 40 minutes of testimony during the trial, speaking in a low voice and occasionally raising his eyebrows or closing his eyes to recall facts.

Zack Sinclair, 34, a native of Idaho, is charged with one count of felony stalking for writing unwanted letters and showing up at Gibson's home and church to pray with the Hollywood star.

At only one point did Gibson appear unsettled. When reading aloud some of the letters from Sinclair, he stopped to ask Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta if it were necessary to go on.

The tough-guy star of such films as "Lethal Weapon" and the Oscar-winning "Braveheart" looked at the accused stalker only once to identify him at the defense table.

Sinclair, who is acting as his own attorney, declined to cross-examine Gibson when Archuleta finished her questioning of the actor. The defendant maintained a steady composure through the testimony, occasionally taking notes.

Archuleta asked Gibson about events that began in July 2004, dating back to the first of Sinclair's 12 letters to Gibson, in which he wrote he "spent a lot of time praying for" the actor and had come to Los Angeles "to build you up and strengthen you in the faith."

In one letter, Sinclair told Gibson he had been treated for mental illness and was jailed in Idaho for more than two years for failing to abide by a restraining order that forbade him from contacting a woman he loved.

"I realized we were probably dealing with somebody who was fairly deluded," Gibson said of the letters.

Gibson also recounted that Sinclair approached him at his church and put his face within about four inches (10 cm) of the actor, asking him to pray.

"Right in the boundary, here," Gibson said, holding his palm near his face. "He wasn't scary or overtly threatening. ... I found it odd somebody would not have a sense of personal boundaries."

The actor said it was his wife and family who were most fearful, especially after Sinclair's series of visits in September outside Gibson's mansion in the seaside enclave of Malibu, California, where he was arrested in early October.

Gibson also said that after obtaining a restraining order against Sinclair and beefing up security at his home, he became somewhat fearful for Sinclair should the man show up again.

"He doesn't seem to understand we want him to stay away," Gibson said. "I think he needs some help, but he worries my wife and other people around me, my family," he added.

Gibson's $15 M Island Purchase Challenged

Mel Gibson may be rich enough to buy an island in Fiji, but the locals are challenging his claim.

A tribe of landless Fijians doesn't approve of the filmmaker's $15 million purchase of Mago Island in northern Fiji, claiming that it historically belongs to them before it was stolen in the 19th century, reports the AP.

"Our island was sold for 2,000 coconut plants, and stories told by our forefathers are that they were forced to leave at gunpoint," says tribal member Timoci Waqalevu.

The 500 tribe members are trying to raise enough to challenge the sale in court, but any legal claim may be difficult to prove. Gibson bought the island from Japan's Tokyu Corp. and is required by law to "honor the sovereignty of Fiji" and explain his reasons for buying it, which according to documents is to turn it into a private getaway.

Gibson, 49, currently has other legal woes. He's in court confronting an overzealous fan who insisted that the "Passion of the Christ" filmmaker pray with him and violated a restraining order.

Gibson's Praying Stalker Acts as Own Attorney

A man accused of stalking Mel Gibson with requests to pray with him has decided to defend himself in court.

Zack Sinclair, 34, stood in a Van Nuys courthouse on Monday, Feb. 28 to begin the jury selection process, reports Court TV.

He was initially arrested in September for visiting Gibson's Malibu home and pressing the actor-director to pray with him. He was arrested again a month later for violating a restraining order Gibson had filed against him, which barred Sinclair from contacting the actor or coming within 100 yards of Gibson, his family, their home, his work, the children's school and the chapel where he worships. Sinclair has been held on $500,000 bail.

According to prosecutors, Sinclair is also behind letters sent to the Gibson family that cite biblical verses, praise the director's film "The Passion of the Christ" and detail prayers said for Gibson.

Sinclair appeared in court on Monday dressed in clothes that his family brought for him: khakis, a light blue dress shirt, navy blazer and tie. His mother, father and stepmother were present to observe his awkward attempts to question the potential jurors.

"Basically, I just wanted to see who -- are there some people who didn't want... " he said. "Would it put anyone in a kind of bind being here? Financially or in their relationships?"

No one raised their hand.

"Anyone who really wants to be here?" Sinclair asked, again to no response. "I don't blame you," he added.

The prosecution cut people who felt they couldn't take Sinclair, a layperson, seriously without additional legal counsel at his side. Other people cut expressed sympathy for Gibson after having watched "The Passion of the Christ" or voiced their dislike of the power celebrities wielded.

Gibson will take the witness stand on Thursday, March 3. If found guilty, Sinclair faces up to three years in jail.

Regal Settles 'Passion' Suit with Gibson's Icon

Regal Entertainment Group, the No. 1 U.S. movie theater chain, on Tuesday said it reached a settlement with Mel Gibson's Icon Distribution Inc. of a lawsuit over box office receipts for "The Passion of the Christ." Regal said the impact of the settlement will reduce its previously reported net income for the fourth quarter and all of 2004 by $8.3 million. Icon, which was formed by actor/director Gibson in 1990, sued Regal in June, claiming the movie theater chain had failed to pay Icon its fair share of receipts for the film.

Mel's 'Passion' Film Resurrected for U.K.

Mel Gibson 's "The Passion of the Christ" has secured a second coming this Easter in British movie theaters after being recut to obtain a lower rating, the filmmaker said Monday.

The new version, to be released March 25, has secured a "15" certificate from the British Board of Film Classification, meaning that no one younger than 15 can see the film. The original version received an "18" certificate when it was first released last year. (In the U.S., the film carried an R rating, requiring that viewers under 17 be accompanied by an adult.)

The recut version has been put together as a "new, slightly 'softer' version of his (Gibson's) film," according to Icon Film Distribution, the U.K. distribution arm for Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon Entertainment.

Gibson said in a statement that he hopes the new version will appeal to cinemagoers who thought "the intensity of the original film was prohibitive. I hope to cater to those people that perhaps might not have seen the original because of its intensity or brutality."

A spokesperson for the BBFC said the filmmakers had "toned down the visual impact of the violence" and had spliced in cutaway shots to reduce some of the more violent scenes, including the flagellation of Christ.

"We think they have removed a lot of what we call 'the processed violence' from the film. It's still at the high end of '15' but they have made enough alterations," the BBFC spokesperson said.

A spokesman at Icon in London said the rerelease would not go as wide as the original rollout in March last year, which hit around 350 screens. The original theatrical run in the U.K. grossed more than 11 million pounds ($21.1 million).

Directed, produced and co-written by Gibson, the movie stars Jim Caviezel as Jesus of Nazareth and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene.

Gibson Recuts 'Passion,' Drains Bloodier Scenes

With every new year come resolutions to cut back, and Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is following suit.

The film about the final hours in the life of Jesus will have many of its gorier scenes edited for violence, report news sources. The decision comes just in time for the film's re-release on Friday, March 11 on 500 to 750 screens for the Easter season.

The controversial surprise hit of 2004 created a stir even before its release for what was deemed an anti-Semitic depiction of the Jews in the film. Once the film opened, however, additional concerns were voiced about the bloodier aspects of the film and how violence was glorified.

In response, Gibson has trimmed five to six minutes of the film, in particular gentling the scene in which Jesus, played by Jim Caviezel, is scourged by Roman troops. "The Passion Recut" is unrated.

The original cut of "Passion" earned $370.3 at the domestic box office and was the third-highest grossing film of 2004.

Gibson's 'Passion' Nominated for Epiphany Prize

People's Choice winner Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is poised to take home the John Templeton Foundation's Epiphany Prize.

Bestowed upon popular yet inspirational movies and TV programs that help "increase man's understanding and love of God," the prestigious prize has been raised from $25,000 to $50,000 to encourage producers to create more of this type of programming.

Though "Passion" is a likely lock for the prize, its contenders include: the firefighting drama "Ladder 49," the 14th-century murder-mystery "The Reckoning" starring Paul Bettany, the documentary collection of stories "America's Heart and Soul" and "I Am David," about a 12-year-old boy's travels across Europe. "David" is the second film that features Jim Caviezel, who also plays Jesus in Gibson's "Passion."

Television programs competing for the prize include: Kelsey Grammer's version of the musical "A Christmas Carol," the "Happy Trails" episode of PAX TV's weekly drama "Doc," Hallmark's "Love's Enduring Promise" based on Janette Oke's novel, the Liam Neeson-narrated "Patrick" about Saint Patrick, the documentary "The Question of God" and "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story," the Jamie Foxx-starring movie about a reformed gang leader.

Previous winners in the film category include "The Gospel of John," David Mamet's "The Winslow Boy" and the David Duchovny-Minnie Driver romantic drama "Return to Me."

Winners will be announced Thursday, Feb. 24 at the Beverly Hilton in Hollywood. For more information, visit

Gibson's "Passion" set the box office ablaze in 2004, making it the third highest-grossing film in the U.S. for the year earning $370.3 million. It has received Oscar nominations for original score, makeup and cinematography.

ABC Wipes Out 'Savages'

Reporters at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour returned to their hotel rooms during the week to discover a DVD holding episodes of ABC's "Complete Savages" and a note from the show's creators Julie and Mike Scully.

"We feel 'Complete Savages' has a place on TV," the letter reads. "Right now, unfortunately, that place is No. 82. That's where you come in."

The DVDs seem to have arrived too late. ABC announced late Tuesday (Jan. 25) that "Complete Savages" has been pulled from the network's schedule effective immediately. In its place, the network will air repeats of "8 Simple Rules" through at least the end of the February sweeps period.

"Complete Savages" is expected to return in March, though the show's order has reportedly been reduced to 19 episodes.

Despite having Mel Gibson has an executive producer, occasional director and one-time guest star, "Complete Savages" has failed to stir up any viewer passion at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday nights. Through its first 14 episodes, the comedy, which stars Keith Carradine as a single father raising a brood of sons, have averaged 6.09 million viewers, which actually makes it the No. 94 show on network television.

Oscar Snubs Michael Moore, Mel Gibson

Michael Moore's attempt to turn voters against President Bush failed and on Tuesday he lost his gamble as well for a coveted best-picture Oscar nomination for his incendiary documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

The omission from the coveted category marks a major misfire for the liberal firebrand who withdrew his anti-Bush polemic from contention in the documentary category, which he won two years ago with "Bowling for Columbine," in order to focus on the big prize. No documentary has ever won the best picture Oscar.

Conservative filmmaker Mel Gibson, who performed a miracle by turning an Aramaic-speaking Jesus into a worldwide box office star with "The Passion of the Christ," also was shut out of the major award categories.

The Biblical saga generated zero buzz among Oscar prognosticators, and Gibson declined to campaign for the film he directed and funded with his own money after all the studios passed. It did, however, land three minor Oscar nominations for makeup, cinematography and score.

Earlier this month, "Passion" won a lowly People's Choice Award for best film drama to go with the two Oscars Gibson won in 1996 for producing and directing "Braveheart."

Frank Pierson, the president the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that awards the Oscars, declined to comment on what Moore's reaction would be, saying, "I'll have to call him and ask."

As for Gibson, Pierson noted that while the Australian-raised actor did not get nominated for a major prize he earned enough money from "Passion" to "set up his own studio."

The Moore snub does not mean that Hollywood has suddenly dumped its liberal orthodoxy, said conservative commentator Mark Smith.

"Perhaps Hollywood decided, 'We don't want to be reminded of our bitter defeat in November (in the presidential election), and the best way to forget it is not to talk about Michael Moore at this year's Oscars,"' said Smith, author of "The Official Handbook of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."

Moore and Gibson were not the only notable omissions when the Academy Award contenders were announced at daybreak.

Golden Globe nominee Paul Giamatti was not nominated for his lead role as a grumpy oenophile in "Sideways," even though Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen were cited for their supporting roles in the comedy.

Both Church and Madsen said they were deeply disappointed as he was key to the film's success.

While "Finding Neverland" tied with "Ray" for second place among nominees with seven nods, its Swiss director, Marc Forster, did not make the cut. Forster and "Closer" Director Mike Nichols were the only Golden Globe nominees shut out of the Oscar race.

Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey had campaigned aggressively for his Bobby Darin movie, "Beyond the Sea," a labor of love he directed, produced, co-wrote and starred in. But Oscar was deaf to Spacey this time.

List of 77th annual Academy Award nominations

Cinematography: The Aviator, House of Flying Daggers, The Passion of the Christ, The Phantom of the Opera, A Very Long Engagement.

Makeup: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Passion of the Christ, The Sea Inside.

Original Score: Finding Neverland, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Passion of the Christ, The Village.

The winners of 77th Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 27, and will be telecast live by ABC from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.

'Hotel Rwanda,' 'Sideways' Win at IPA Awards

"Hotel Rwanda," "Sideways" and a surprise win for Mel Gibson dominated the International Press Academy Awards Sunday (Jan. 23.)

"Hotel Rwanda" won best drama, star Don Cheadle won best dramatic actor and Wyclef Jean won for best original song, "Million Voices," in the film about the African genocide that occurred a decade ago.

The best comedy or musical went to "Sideways," along with a best supporting win for Thomas Haden Church, who plays a cad who flirts with a woman during a final road trip before his wedding.

Reflecting the wide-open Oscar race, Mel Gibson won the only award for "The Passion of the Christ," beating out a best director list that included Martin Scorsese for "The Aviator," Taylor Hackford for "Ray," Alexander Payne for "Sideways," Joshua Marston for "Maria Full of Grace" and Bill Condon for "Kinsey."

Jamie Foxx won for best actor in a comedy or musical for "Ray," as well as best actor in a mini-series or movie made for TV for FX's "Redemption: The Story of Stan Tookie Williams." The Ray Charles biopic also won best supporting actress for Regina King and best original screenplay.

The awards are handed out by the 200-member international group of film reviewers, who also honored Jerry Lewis and Susan Sarandon at the black-tie awards dinner held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"I'm quite proud of this award," says Lewis, who won the Tesla Award for technical achievement in cinema for his little-known work on the "video assist" technology for cameras. "After Dean [Martin] and I were over, in order for me to direct myself I had to have a technical tool for myself, and Paramount allowed me to fiddle around with cameras."

He used the first video assist on his 1964 film "The Bellboy," and the technology is still being used today.

Sarandon, who won the Mary Pickford Award for her humanitarian and acting efforts, was snowed-in in New York, but her partner Tim Robbins was in Los Angeles and accepted the honor.

"What people don't know about Susan is that she puts her whole heart and soul into her family, and when she says she's going to be at a Little League game, she's there," Robbins says. "She oftentimes has turned down work because it would take time from home and she'd be away too long and she hasn't ever been away from home for more than two weeks."

Robbins added, "I just talked to her a few minutes ago and she's almost finished shoveling the driveway."

A moment of silence for Johnny Carson, who died Sunday morning, kicked off the ninth annual awards which honors achievement in movies, film, DVD, games and other new media.

"Desperate Housewives" won best comedy TV series, but both comedy/musical actor and actress awards went to "Arrested Development" stars Jason Bateman and Portia De Rossi.

Best TV drama went to "Nip/Tuck" with Matthew Fox of "Lost" winning best TV dramatic actor and Laurel Holloman winning best actress for "The L Word."

"I hope my 11-week-old daughter will know the show someday," Holloman said of the Showtime series that focuses on several Los Angeles lesbians when she accepted the award.

Outstanding action game went to Activision's "Doom 3" and best overall DVD went to "Spider-Man 2" while best documentary and best DVD documentary went to the fast-food-bashing "Super Size Me."

Mel Gibson loses bid to save tax as officials reject his 'farm land' claim

Mel Gibson has lost his bid to have a portion of his Connecticut estate classified as a farm.

The director of The Passion of the Christ asked to have about seven hectares of his 30 hectares in Greenwich taxed as farm land, but town officials rejected the request.

"Anyone can have a few pigs in their back yard, but a viable farm is more than having something for personal use," town assessor John Gwartney said. "It's about producing a viable product."

Gibson would have saved about $10,000 US per year in property taxes on his $17.7 million estate if granted the exemption for owners of working farms. His annual property tax bill is about $137,000, the Greenwich Time reported Thursday.

Besides a 28-room mansion, pool, tennis court and two guest houses, the property includes a barn where Gibson has kept sheep, donkeys and possibly chickens, town officials said.

Gwartney, in a letter to Gibson's representatives in November, ruled that Gibson's property was "not being used as a bona fide productive farming activity."

Mel's 'Passion' Gets a Rare Nomination

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is finally getting some respect in Hollywood.

The American Society of Cinematographers on Tuesday became the industry's first professional organization to include the gritty box office champ among its list of honorees. The film has been snubbed by Hollywood's actors, directors and producers, but it did win a People's Choice Award on Sunday.

"Passion" cameraman Caleb Deschanel was among the feature film nominees for the ASC's 19th annual awards, which will take place Feb. 13 at the Grand Ballroom in the Hollywood & Highland complex. (The event was previously scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Century Plaza Hotel.)

Other nominees include first-time contenders Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron, for "Collateral"; Bruno Delbonnel, for "A Very Long Engagement"; Pawel Edelman, for "Ray"; and Robert Richardson, for "The Aviator."

Deschanel is the only previous ASC winner. He won for 2000's "The Patriot" and was nominated for 1996's "Fly Away Home." He received Academy Award nominations for those two films, as well as for "The Natural" and "The Right Stuff," but has never won the Oscar.

Richardson was previously nominated by the ASC for "Born on the Fourth of July," "JFK," "A Few Good Men," "Heaven & Earth," "The Horse Whisperer" and "Snow Falling on Cedars." He won the Academy Award for "JFK," and was Oscar-nominated for "Born," "Snow" and "Platoon."

Delbonnel was previously nominated by both the ASC and the Academy for "Amelie," and Edelman by both groups for "The Pianist."

Last year's ASC winner was John Schwartzman for "Seabiscuit," although the cinematography Oscar went to ASC nominee Russell Boyd for "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World."

Kidman, Gibson Join Ranks of 'Who's Who'

In case you've been living under a rather large and heavy rock and don't know who Nicole Kidman is, now you can check out her bio in the 157th annual edition of "Who's Who."

The 37-year-old actress is one of 1,000 new additions to the book, which is used as a reference worldwide, reports the BBC.

Other celebrities worthy of entries in the 2005 edition include fellow Aussie and "The Passion of the Christ" director Mel Gibson, "The English Patient" actress Kristin Scott Thomas, "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, "Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver and musician Eric Clapton.

Kidman's biography is now one of 32,000 entries for "noteworthy and influential individuals" in "Who's Who," which began as the first biographical book of its kind in 1849.

"Who's Who 2005" was published on Monday (Jan. 10) and is available in print and online editions.

Kidman won an Oscar for her leading role in 2002's "The Hours." She recently starred in "Cold Mountain," "The Stepford Wives" remake and "Birth." Her upcoming films include the thriller "The Interpreter" and the big-screen remake of "Bewitched" opposite Will Ferrell.

Odd Couple Gibson, Moore Exchange Praise

Mel Gibson and Michael Moore have been used as shorthand for cultural and political divisions among Americans, but how do the filmmakers feel about each other? Cue the Hollywood ending — it's hugs all around.

"I saw the film. I liked it," Gibson told AP Radio Sunday at the 31st Annual People's Choice Awards, countering the contention that "Fahrenheit 9/11" fans and "The Passion of the Christ" enthusiasts are mutually exclusive groups.

Moore's critique of President Bush's policies since the Sept. 11 attacks and Gibson's film about Jesus Christ's final hours were huge hits at the box office in 2004, and both won People's Choice awards Sunday. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was named favorite movie and "The Passion of the Christ" was the favorite drama.

"I feel a kind of strange kinship with Michael," Gibson said. I mean, they're trying to pit us against each other in the press, but this is all just a hologram, you know. They've really got nothing to do with one another. They were used as some kind of divisive left-right thing."

Moore said he saw Gibson's film twice, and even took his father to see it.

"I thought it was a powerful piece of filmmaking," Moore told AP Radio Sunday. "I'm a practicing Catholic, and you know I think Mel and I may be from different wings of the Catholic Church. My film might have been called 'The Compassion of the Christ.'"

2005 People's Choice Winners

Drama motion picture: "The Passion of the Christ"

Aussies Kidman and Gibson Say 'G'Day LA'

Nicole Kidman and her Aussie showbiz mate Mel Gibson will bring the taste of Down Under to the City of Angels.

The stars will be honored at the Penfolds Gala dinner on Saturday, Jan. 15, the headline event kicking off the second annual G'Day LA: Australia Week in Los Angeles.

"Nicole Kidman's creativity, talent and elegance have made her one of the world's most successful and popular actors," says Australian Consul General the Hon. John Olsen, adding, "Mel Gibson's achievements are virtually unparalleled in his field. He is a product of both Australia and America and his career reflects the influence of both his home countries."

Australia Week will last till Jan. 23 and celebrates all things Australian: food, wine, film, art, fashion, business and travel. The Penfolds Gala dinner will feature musical talent from Down Under and a menu created by chef Neil Perry, who is leading the Mod Oz cuisine movement.

Multi-platinum recording star Keith Urban will also be honored alongside his fellow countrymen for his achievements in country music. Celebs honored at 2003's gala dinner are "The Aviator" actress Cate Blanchett, "Without a Trace" star Anthony LaPaglia and "Moulin Rouge!" director Baz Luhrmann.

Gibson, 48, had a huge year in film even without appearing on screen. The "Braveheart" star wrote, produced and directed the third highest-grossing film in the U.S., the controversial and powerful "The Passion of the Christ," a chronicle of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus.

Kidman, 37, starred in the comedic remake of "The Stepford Wives" and the eerie drama "Birth" this year. The Oscar winner is keeping busy with a full slate that includes the upcoming thriller "The Interpreter," the sitcom adaptation of "Bewitched" and "Eucalyptus," which she will shoot opposite fellow Aussie Russell Crowe.

'Complete Savages' Set Free for a Full Season

It could be the Mel effect, divine intervention or the ever-changing fortunes of television, but for husband-and-wife producers Mike Scully and Julie Thacker-Scully, getting a full-season order for their ABC comedy "Complete Savages" is all about finding the funny.

"Our arc," Thacker-Scully says, "is 'funny in the beginning, funny in the middle and funny at the end.'"

"We're not in this to be a cult hit," Scully says. "We want mainstream success."

Launched this fall as one of three pilots from Mel Gibson's Icon Productions -- the others being UPN's "Kevin Hill" and CBS quickly shelved "Clubhouse" -- "Complete Savages" airs as part of ABC's Friday "TGIF" lineup.

Keith Carradine ("Deadwood") stars as Nick Savage, a firefighter whose wife took off and left him to raise five sons (Shaun Sipos, Erik von Detten, Andrew Eiden, Evan Ellingson, Jason Dolley). On hand but not especially helpful is Nick's freewheeling single brother, Jimmy (Vincent Ventresca), also a firefighter.

The call came in the week before Thanksgiving informing the producers that their show got its "back nine" order, fleshing out the original order of 13 episodes.

"I think it's because the shows are good," Thacker-Scully says. "It can't be the ratings numbers."

According to Thacker-Scully and her husband, general jubilation broke out in the writing offices at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

"People prefer to be employed," Thacker-Scully says.

"I think people immediately saw a few more presents under the Christmas tree," Scully adds.

But in the week prior to that, when the show is shooting "Thanksgiving With the Savages," the atmosphere is merely cautiously hopeful.

On Monday morning at 10 a.m., producers and actors gather around a table in a large meeting room, surrounded by chairs, many holding network executives.

Also on hand are guest stars Lane Davies ("Santa Barbara," "General Hospital"), Shelley Long ("Cheers"), June Lockhart ("Lassie," "Lost in Space") and Mike Hagerty ("Inspector Gadget") as the daffy family of Angela (Autumn Reeser), girlfriend of Eiden's character, Sam.

And there is Gibson, who reprises his role as mustachioed TV personality Officer Steve Cox in the episode. Although he tapes his bit during the week, Gibson does come for the live taping on Friday night, as he often does. On the script, Cox is listed as being played by "TBD," short for To Be Determined.

"That's his rap name," Davies quips.

It's the show's weekly table read, in which everyone gets the first pass at a new script. After the reading, the actors will scatter to allow the network to offer suggestions.

Scully begins by recounting the ratings from the previous week -- not great, but steady and slowly growing -- and offers a pep talk.

They then begin reading, with Scully doing the gobbles of the doomed turkey (it dies of natural causes) running loose in the Savage household.

"Have you ever worked with a live turkey?" asks Lockhart. "We had one on 'Lassie' for several shows. They don't hit their marks, and they get very tense after the director yells 'Cut.'"

Even without the actual turkey for inspiration, the actors punch up their lines as if they were performing on camera.

"We train [the boys] from the very beginning," Thacker-Scully says after the network meeting, "that every table read is a performance. We're still performing for the network. Until we find our audience, until we find our ratings, we are always performing.

"It's better, all the way around, to be professional from the moment you open that script until you say good night to everybody on Friday."

Part of this also comes from the producers' past experience, which includes a stint on the animated sitcom "The Simpsons." Animation relies a lot on strong vocal performances.

"It's huge in animation," Scully says, "but it's important in comedy in general. People underestimate the power of voice or inflection or taking a slight pause before you say something."

Gibson also makes a direct contribution. Of his three shows, this is the one he is most hands-on with. As the father of seven children -- six of them boys -- it's definitely something he relates to.

Also, Gibson is an Academy Award-winning director, so that helps. He proved he could marshal Irish soldiers into a movie army in "Braveheart," then corralled more soldiers and quite a passel of youngsters -- including Gregory Smith ("Everwood") and Logan Lerman ("Jack & Bobby") - as a father of seven fighting in the Revolutionary War in "The Patriot."

And that's not even to mention one Messiah, 12 apostles and hordes of Romans and Judeans in "The Passion of the Christ."

"Mel has directed three of our first 10 episodes," Scully says. "He didn't want them acting like sitcom kids, yet still find the funniness. We've left the directing pretty much in-house. Mel directed three, Julie's directed three, and now this is Daniel Stern's second time."

"It keeps it consistent," Thacker-Scully says. "The kids learn to trust you. And Mel's very rough-and-tumble."

That appears to be part of the show's appeal as well. "What's really cool about this show for me," Ventresca says, "is it is rough-and-tumble, and yet you know they love each other."

"There's a difference between chaos and dysfunction," Carradine says. "We're wholesome in a stone-ground sort of way."

Mel's 'Passion' in Play at Golden Globes

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," filmed in Latin and Aramaic, is among the 49 films deemed eligible for a foreign-language Golden Globe. The Globes, which unlike the Academy Awards allow multiple films to represent individual countries, also qualified a number of other films that did not make the Academy's qualifying foreign-language list. The Globe qualifiers include Spain's "Bad Education," Brazil's "The Motorcycle Diaries," France's "A Very Long Engagement" and the United States' "Maria Full of Grace." Nominees will be announced Monday at 5:30 a.m. PST by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which organizes the annual bash. Winners will be announced on Jan. 16.


WEDNESDAY at 9 p.m., ABC-TV airs Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinat ing People of 2004 special. They are Mel Gibson; Oprah Winfrey; Donald Trump; Usher, who even showed off some hip moves at the Hit Factory; Google guy Sergey Brin, who travels on Rollerblades and lives in a rented flat, and fellow Googler Larry Page, who drives a $24,000 Toyota Prius and doesn't know from supermodels; "Jeopardy" winner Ken Jennings; Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who showed up two days after surgery and came with his crutches and wheelchair, then talked about his four kids and wife, Shonda, who's beaten Stage 2 melanoma; Michael "me-me-me-me" Moore; and Paris "me-me-me" Hilton, who sported a high-neck, long-sleeve Chanel suit, black pumps, not a bellybutton in sight.

Judge rules man who stalked Mel Gibson must stand trial

A 34-year-old drifter was ordered to stand trial for allegedly stalking Mel Gibson. Superior Court Judge Leland Harris ruled Thursday there is enough evidence to try Zack Sinclair on a felony count of stalking. The defendant remained jailed on $500,000 bail pending a Dec. 16 arraignment. A call to Gibson's publicist seeking comment was not immediately returned. Sinclair was arrested in September for investigation of stalking the actor-director. He allegedly went to the gate of Gibson's Malibu, Calif., estate repeatedly that month after evading neighbourhood security and asked to pray with the actor. Sinclair was rearrested Oct. 7 after allegedly violating a court order to stay away from Gibson and his family. In a court filing, Gibson said the man also interrupted his worship Sept. 19 at a chapel and "demanded that I pray with him" before the filmmaker's bodyguard escorted him out. Sinclair is also suspected of sending letters to Gibson and his family in which he recounted his prayers for the actor, cited biblical verse and praised Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ.

Gibson Taking Oscar High Road for 'The Passion'

Mel Gibson has sworn off using paid advertisements to seek Oscars for his blockbuster, "The Passion of the Christ," and instead is putting his faith in the merits of the work as it vies for the film industry's top honors.

Breaking with a growing Hollywood practice of heavy-handed pre-Oscar marketing, Gibson and his Icon Productions partner Bruce Davey have vowed not to spend a cent on television, radio or print ads hawking "Passion" for Academy Award consideration, a spokesman said on Friday.

However, Icon is presenting promotional screenings of "The Passion" and plans to send out thousands of DVD copies to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other industry groups that present year-end film awards.

"This film should be judged on its artistic merit, not on who spends more money for advertising. That's really what the academy was meant to be and to celebrate," Davey said in a statement issued through Icon's publicist, Alan Nierob.

Gibson, who wrote, directed and produced the blood-drenched film about the last hours in the life of Jesus, likewise spent relatively little on commercial advertising to promote "The Passion" before its theatrical release.

Instead, Icon relied on a marketing campaign centered on special screenings for Christian churches. The R-rated film also benefited from media scrutiny after some Jewish leaders expressed concern that the movie could incite anti-Semitism.

"The Passion" went on to gross well over $600 million in worldwide ticket sales.


Nominations for the 2004 Academy Awards are two months away, and with no clear favorites having yet emerged the Oscar contest is expected to be especially heated this year.

"The studios that have films in the race are going to be out there doing everything they can to get attention for their films," said Gregg Kilday, film editor for The Hollywood Reporter.

Oscar marketing has grown into a multimillion-dollar exercise for major studios and production companies, which spend lavishly on advertising, parties and publicity campaigns to raise the profile of their movies during the run-up to the Academy Awards and other year-end film prizes.

In recent years, promotional blitzes have taken on a nasty edge, with rival movie executives accusing each other of trying to buy academy votes or fomenting whisper campaigns.

Academy officials thought the situation had gotten so out of hand that last year they formed a committee to tighten guidelines governing the promotion of Oscar-eligible films.

Academy President Frank Pierson praised Gibson for working to restore the Oscars as a "celebration and appreciation of excellence" and resisting the "crass commercialism that was threatening the integrity of the award."

The stakes are high. An Oscar nomination or award carries tremendous prestige for a film's producers and talent while often translating into a commercial windfall for those movies that are still in theaters or in DVD release.

"The Passion" has little to gain commercially from Oscar recognition at this point, having already completed its global theatrical run and DVD release.

ABC OKs 'Rodney,' 'Savages'

ABC, which is enjoying a strong start to the season thanks to the new dramas "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," has given a thumbs up to its two rookie comedies, "Rodney" and "Complete Savages."

The network has ordered nine additional episodes for each show, bringing their total orders to a full-season complement of 22 segments each. "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" have already received full pickups for the season.

By picking up "Rodney" and "Complete Savages," ABC joins CBS as a network that has picked up additional episodes of all of its freshman comedy series.

"Rodney" has done respectable, if not impressive, business behind the Tuesday 9 p.m. anchor "According to Jim." Averaging a 3.8 rating/9 share among adults 18-49, "Rodney" has ranked as the top 18-49 program in the 9:30 p.m. slot against regular competition. After a slow start behind "8 Simple Rules" on Friday, "Complete Savages" has improved a bit, logging a series high 2.3 rating in adults 18-49 for the past three weeks.

Mel Gibson Takes on Hollywood Over Stem-Cell Research

Determined Mel Gibson is taking on some of Hollywood's biggest stars in a monumental political battle.

The outspoken actor has a new passion--challenging Brad Pitt, Michael J. Fox and the legacy of Christopher Reeve in a struggle over government funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

The "Braveheart" star went to war against a proposition on California's November 2 ballot--asking the state's taxpayers to approve a $3 billion bond to fund stem-cell research.

Mel, a devout Roman Catholic, is against recovering stem cells from embryos.

Brad, Michael and other big names supported the proposal. "And Christopher Reeve fought for the funding of stem-cell research until his dying breath," said a source.

"But Mel is not one to shy away from controversy. Because of his religious convictions, he opposed the bond."

The "Passion of the Christ" director was so committed to shooting down "Prop 71," he even went on "Good Morning America" to tackle the issue.

Brad Pitt also weighed in, telling "Today" that he backs government funding of stem-cell research.

"Brad is furious because he thinks Mel is insensitive to Christopher Reeve's memory and to Michael J. Fox, who is fighting a valiant battle with Parkinson's disease," said an insider.

"It's a bold move on Mel's part. "Hollywood power brokers have always tended to see eye-to-eye on political matters, but in the past few years Hollywood has splintered.

"Mel is not afraid to take on the powers that be."

The stem-cell feud shows no signs of stopping.

"There is a lot at stake over this fight," said the source.

"Mel truly believes in what he's preaching, but fighting the entertainment establishment has always been a dicey proposition.

"This is Round One in what promises to be one of Hollywood's fiercest battles. We haven't heard the last from any of these stars."

Globes Open to 'Passion'; 'Fahrenheit' Is Out

Two of this year's most-talked-about films have hit snags on the road to awards season, specifically in their quest to secure nominations for the Golden Globes. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is out of the running, while Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" cannot compete in the best-drama category.

"Fahrenheit" (Lions Gate/IFC/Fellowship Adventure Group) will not be eligible in any Globes categories because it is a documentary. The rules of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which administers the Globes, state that docus are ineligible for consideration in the top film award categories; there is not a separate documentary category.

"Passion" (Newmarket) cannot compete for best drama because it is considered a foreign-language film. The HFPA considers any feature with a non-English dialogue track to be a foreign film. The organization's rules reserve the best picture awards for movies in English.

"Passion," in which much of the dialogue is spoken in Aramaic, can be considered for best foreign film and under the rules can compete in all other categories.

Nominations for the 62nd annual Golden Globe Awards will be announced Dec. 13, with the winners revealed in a Jan. 16 ceremony to be telecast live on NBC.

'Passion', 'Joan' Gets Catholic Group's Award

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and the CBS television show "Joan of Arcadia" were celebrated Sunday at an awards ceremony by a Catholic group founded to honor entertainment projects that uplift and inspire.

More than 500 people attended the luncheon organized by Catholics in Media.

Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," presented this year's film award to producer-director Mel Gibson and producer Steve McEveety.

Actor Joe Mantegna, who plays Will Girardi on "Joan of Arcadia," presented the television award to the show's creator and producer, Barbara Hall.

Jane Wyatt Ward, best known for her role as Margaret Anderson on "Father Knows Best," received the lifetime achievement award for her career and charitable work.


MEL Gibson is so against stem-cell research that he called WABC radio host Laura Ingraham Thursday night to rage over the hot-button issue. Gibson is irate that a California proposal would shell out $6 billion in taxpayer money for research involving embryonic cloning for stem-cell harvesting. "I was all for stem-cell research funding before I found out that this proposal actually does involve cloning," Gibson told Ingraham. "This is a raping of the California taxpayers." Gibson is facing an uphill battle: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brad Pitt and Michael J. Fox are campaigning for the stem cell/cloning measure. On the success of his movie "The Passion of the Christ," Gibson said he wasn't holding his breath for apologies from detractors and that he had forgiven even his most vicious critics. His final thoughts were on culture wars: "If you see a big scary Philistine standing there with a massive army behind you, and you're only about five feet tall and you've got a rock, you run at him, and you drop that mother on his a - - ."

Gibson Against Stem Cell Ballot Measure

Mel Gibson has questions about a ballot measure that he hopes his friend, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will discuss with him.

The "Passion of the Christ" filmmaker isn't pleased with Proposition 71, a measure supported by the governor that would fund human embryonic stem cell research, reports the AP.

"I found that the cloning of human embryos will be used in the process and that, for me, I have an ethical problem with that," says Gibson. "Why do I, as a taxpayer, have to fund something I believe is unethical?"

Faced with an issue that challenges his Roman Catholic faith, Gibson decided to consult his friend.

"I called Governor Schwarzenegger last night to talk about this very issue," says Gibson on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Oct. 28. But when Gibson brought up the issue, the governor said he'd have to call him back.

"Well, Arnold, I'm still waiting for your call," Gibson says.

Gibson, 48, recently received the producer of the year award at the Hollywood Film Festival.

Mel Gibson Puts Passion Into TV Sitcom

Mel Gibson leans forward, scrutinizing a monitor showing a rehearsal for his latest project. He's not directing a sweeping battle a la his Oscar-winning "Braveheart." It's not a scene with the transcendent suffering of his "The Passion of the Christ."

In this run-through for "Complete Savages," the conflict is between five brothers and the cantankerous neighbor (Betty White) who's holding hostage a prized family basketball.

They beg and plead. She assaults them with her cane.

"Comedy," Gibson murmurs with satisfaction.

Yes, it's comedy and small-screen comedy, to boot — "Complete Savages" is a freshman sitcom for ABC (8:30 p.m. EDT Friday). Keith Carradine stars as a single father trying to keep order among his teenage boys.

Gibson is giving the show everything he's got as executive producer and, for several episodes, as director.

He's even pulling triple duty in this week's episode with a cameo. When one of the boys decides to get a motorcycle, dad Nick Savage forces him to endure a highway-safety video with Gibson playing it tongue-in-cheek as Officer Cox.

On Stage 41 at NBC Universal Studios, Gibson is a multitasker. He chuckles at punch lines, then jumps up to gently prod an actor into crisper delivery. He redesigns the props ("Could we have a cane that's smaller?"). And he sets an easygoing tone.

Chatting with a crew member between takes, Gibson jokingly describes his low-carb lunch entree: "I had the double bacon-and-amphetamine burger."

"Don't hurt each other," Gibson warns the young actors playing the Savage kids during a backyard scene in which they're slapping a ball around with garden rakes.

"OK, now you can hurt each other," he tells them when the rehearsal stops.

Carradine describes Gibson as a sitcom novice but a natural. While dark violence has imbued his dramatic films, Gibson has effectively played for laughs in "Maverick" and "What Women Want" and even on "Saturday Night Live."

"He has an incredible comedic sense. His brain for comedy seems to be wired halfway between the Three Stooges and Chuck Jones," Carradine said, referring to the late animator behind Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and other cartoon classics.

Julie Thacker-Scully and Mike Scully, who were producers on "The Simpsons," created "Complete Savages" and serve as executive producers with Gibson and his partner, Bruce Davey. The husband-and-wife team say Gibson is delighting in the work.

(Doing everything for his sitcom but drumming up publicity, Gibson has declined interviews, an ABC spokeswoman said.)

"I think this is a lot of fun for him. He comes here and he knows he's going to have some laughs, guaranteed laughs all week long," said Thacker-Scully.

After the intense debate over "The Passion of the Christ," the sitcom represents "a no-controversy zone," she said. "It's family here. We have a good time."

Adds Mike Scully: "He's a great collaborator. He doesn't walk around with a beret and riding crop and saying, 'Do it my way.'"

A jeans and T-shirt are Gibson's garb on the set, similar to the outfit he wears as the cover boy for Entertainment Weekly's annual Hollywood power issue. No business suit is needed to advertise his clout.

Gibson, who scored an unexpected blockbuster with the self-financed "Passion," which some observers called anti-Semitic, reportedly earned $400 million-plus from its theatrical release and DVDs.

The film's success quashed speculation that Gibson was risking his career. He was honored as producer of the year this week at the Hollywood Film Awards and, as one studio executive told Entertainment Weekly: "He's an entity now — a (Steven) Spielberg, a (Jerry) Bruckheimer."

Gibson's focus for the moment is on television. His Icon Productions company is behind the new dramas "Clubhouse" on CBS and "Kevin Hill" on UPN as well as "Complete Savages."

Of the two major network series, neither is burning up the Nielsen ratings. "Complete Savages" drew 5.3 million viewers last week while "Clubhouse" had an audience of 8.4 million — compared to 18 million for top-ranked comedy "Everybody Loves Raymond" on CBS and 20.9 million for the new hit ABC drama "Desperate Housewives."

In the Scullys' view, the success of "Desperate Housewives" and another new ABC drama, "Lost," is part of the reason their show is struggling. The two hourlong shows received heavy promotion; "Complete Savages" got relatively little.

Asked how he feels about his sitcom's performance, Scully plays it droll: "Is it out? I've been so busy watching `Desperate Housewives' and `Lost' I didn't notice."

"The lack of focus on comedy right now for ABC has been disappointing to us," he continued, "but we understand their need to launch a hit drama this year. Now that they've done it so successfully we're ..."

"Ready to ride their coattails," said Thacker-Scully, finishing the sentence.

A better time slot and more compatible shows — "8 Simple Rules" and "Hope and Faith," which bracket "Complete Savages," are more female-oriented — would be ideal, said the Scullys.

"I feel like we're a thong in grandma's underwear drawer right now," is how Thacker-Scully puts it.

The couple became friendly with Gibson while working on a fund-raiser for Malibu High School (Scully and Gibson children were enrolled there). They share a familiarity with big broods like the one in "Complete Savages": The Scullys have five kids, Gibson and his wife, Robyn, have seven.

Whether Gibson's heavyweight status can help the series relocate, or survive, is unclear. Other Hollywood top dogs have seen their low-rated TV shows unceremoniously dumped, including "Titanic" director James Cameron ("Dark Angel") and Bruckheimer ("Skin").

Uncertainty aside, the project that was intended to be fun for all has lived up to the goal, the Scullys said. Gibson would seem to agree.

"I see blue skies," he croons during rehearsal, a smile on his face.

Magazine's Power Rankings Feature Gibson

Mel Gibson, the maker of the controversial "The Passion of the Christ," dominates Entertainment Weekly's annual power issue.

"What once seemed like a zealous bit of risky business (Gibson even said God was directing the movie through him) has proved to be one of the most successful power plays in Hollywood history," the magazine says, "with $610 million in global sales."

Though featured prominently, Gibson doesn't top Entertainment Weekly's 15th annual power rankings because the magazine replaced its traditional numerical list with a rundown on "the movers and shakers whose careers and lives changed dramatically in the last 12 months."

Now on newsstands, the issue offers a rundown of those who gained and lost power in films, music and television in the past year, with separate lists for creative figures and "suits."

"We were interested in the people who had the most interesting power stories to tell," Los Angeles bureau chief Ben Svetkey told The Associated Press by phone Thursday.

Gibson is featured on the cover, and the magazine proclaims his next project as a "Must-Have."

"When you consider that he spent $25 million of his own money on a film in ancient Aramaic, it's incredible what he's done," Svetkey told the AP.

Besides Gibson, those who have the power, according to the magazine, include Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Michael Moore and Lindsay Lohan, with Harvey Weinstein, Janet Jackson, Larry and Andy Wachowski, Vin Diesel and the Olsen twins among those on the slide.

Gibson Has Complete Passion for 'Savages' Cameo

Having Mel Gibson as an executive producer hasn't helped ABC's family comedy "Complete Savages" get off to a fast ratings start. In an effort to boost ratings for the struggling Friday series, Gibson will make his first cameo on the show's Oct. 22 episode.

The installment, titled "Car Jack" finds Jack (Shaun Sipos) angling to get a car, but when he comes home with a motorcycle instead, Nick (Keith Carradine) sits the family down in front of a retro "Blood on the Highway"-style road safety video. But don't blink, because Gibson appears in the safety film as a '70s cop named Officer Cox.

The episode will be directed by actor-helmer Robby Benson from a script by Adam Lorenzo.

Through its first three episodes, "Complete Savages" is averaging only 5.61 million viewers per episode, below both its lead-in ("8 Simple Rules") and its lead-out ("Hope & Faith"), which are also down from last season.

In addition to his executive producing duties, Gibson has directed two episodes of "Savages" including the show's pilot.

"Passion"-ate Fan Faces New Charge

Mel Gibson's alleged stalker reputedly has struck again.

Zack Sinclair, 34, was being held Tuesday in a Los Angeles jail on $500,000 bail after being charged with felony stalking, Los Angeles' City News Service reported.

Sinclair's hot water got hotter last Thursday when he was arrested in Malibu on suspicion of stalking in violation of a temporary restraining order, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department records show.

While the details surrounding the arrest were not known, it is known that last Wednesday--the day before his Malibu bust--a judge extended a Gibson-requested temporary restraining order against Sinclair.

In a complaint, Gibson accused Sinclair of requesting prayer sessions with the Passion of the Christ purveyor via a series of "harassing" letters and a personal confrontation at the actor-director's church, City News Service reported.

The beefed-up restraining order called for Sinclair to stay at least 100 yards away from the Oscar-winning star and his family for three years, the wire service said.

Sinclair was not present in court for last Wednesday's hearing. That's because records show he was still in custody for an arrest back on Sept. 20 in which he was accused of loitering at Gibson's Malibu home.

Sinclair was sprung from jail on the first arrest late Wednesday, and picked up just 18 hours later on the new stalking charge, the records appear to show.

A preliminary hearing on the felony charge was set for Oct. 29, City News Service said.

Mel Gibson Gives $10 Mln to L.A. Child Hospitals

Actor Mel Gibson gave $10 million to two Los Angeles hospitals on Tuesday to help children with serious medical problems who cannot afford treatment or get proper care in their own countries.

The actor, whose Christian-themed movie "The Passion of the Christ" was a box office smash this year, gave $5 million to the Mattel Children's Hospital at the University of California Los Angeles, and $5 million to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a statement from the hospitals said.

The money is for children from around the world who will be identified by a nonprofit group, Healing the Children, which Gibson and his family have previously supported.

Gibson is the actor and director whose movies include the Oscar-winning "Braveheart" and the "Lethal Weapon" franchise.

Last year he funded the production of "The Passion of the Christ" with some $25 million of his own money. Since its release last spring, it has grossed more than $600 million worldwide.

Mel Gibson Granted Restraining Order

Mel Gibson obtained a three-year restraining order Wednesday against a homeless man who allegedly showed up at his estate and the chapel he attends, demanding they pray together.

Zack Sinclair, 34, has pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts that include trespassing and disorderly conduct, district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

He remained in jail Wednesday without bail pending an Oct. 12 hearing.

Superior Court Judge Linda Lefkowitz extended the temporary restraining order during a brief hearing.

The order, originally issued a day after Sinclair's Sept. 20 arrest, bars him from coming within 100 yards of Gibson, his wife or their seven children, their home, Gibson's work, the children's school and the chapel. He also cannot contact the actor.

Gibson's attorney, Jeffery McFarland, declined to comment.

Sinclair allegedly went to the gate of Gibson's Malibu estate repeatedly in September after evading neighborhood security and asked to pray with the actor. He was first ordered away and then detained.

In a court filing, Gibson added that the man interrupted his worship on Sept. 19 at an Agoura chapel before the filmmaker's bodyguard escorted him out.

Sinclair also allegedly sent letters to Gibson and his family in which he recounted his prayers for the actor, cited biblical verse and praised Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ."

Mel Gibson Gets Court Order Against Praying Fan

Mel Gibson, producer and director of "The Passion of the Christ," has obtained a restraining order against a man he says stalked him to demand that they pray together, according to court papers.

Zack Sinclair, a 34-year-old homeless man, also has sent a number of letters that Gibson described in a court declaration filed on Sept. 21 as "alarming, harassing and annoying."

Gibson said Sinclair came to his Malibu home on two consecutive days last month and "demanded to see me, saying that he wanted to pray with me."

After he was "told to leave and not return," Sinclair showed up at Gibson's church the following day and "approached me, interrupted my worship, stood extremely close (approximately six inches) from me and demanded that I pray with him," Gibson said in the statement.

When Sinclair returned to the actor's home again the next day, Gibson's wife called police and had him arrested.

Sinclair was still in jail on Friday on charges of disorderly conduct and misdemeanor loitering on private property, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

The temporary restraining order prevents Sinclair from approaching Gibson or his family. A hearing on the matter is set for Wednesday.

'Passion' Debuts in Israel on Christmas Eve

"The Passion of the Christ" will finally be seen in Israel albeit in a limited capacity. Tel Aviv Cinematheque director Alon Garbuz says that Mel Gibson's controversial film about the final hours of Jesus' life will screen once, on Christmas Eve, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The private screening, however, will only be attended by Cinematheque members and invited guests. Besides the obvious religious theme, "Passion" has courted controversy for its graphic depiction of violence. "Passion," starring Jim Caviezel and Monica Bellucci, has earned more than $600 million worldwide.

TV Review: 'Complete Savages'

From Mel Gibson -- the man who brought us "The Passion of the Christ" -- comes a new situation comedy with a father and five sons but nary a holy spirit in sight.

ABC's "Complete Savages" is the anti-single-parent comedy, a rude 'n' crude, high-pitched, frenzied half-hour of bratty high jinks set in a sort of suburban hell.

The show comes across a little bit like "Married ... With Children" on speed (and without the mother) in a premiere that's exec produced and energetically directed by Gibson himself.

The irony is that a series from Mr. Passion should have to lock horns with "Joan of Arcadia" on CBS. It remains to be seen if "Savages" is any funnier than that acclaimed second-year drama. Early signs are inconclusive.

The show, which also is exec produced by onetime "Simpsons" showrunner Mike Scully and his wife, Julie Thacker-Scully, stars Keith Carradine as Nick Savage, a single firefighter raising five unruly teenage boys all by his lonesome. It's a tossup as to where he has to douse the most blazes -- at home or outdoors. Divorced for reasons that aren't fully explained in the pilot, he's got his hands more than full taming this handful of wild, testosterone-fueled beasts: Sam (Andrew Elden), the semi-responsible one; Jack (Shaun Sipos), the cool, guitar-playing one; Chris (Erik von Detten (news)), the gullible, athletic one; Kyle (Evan Ellingson), the shallow, self-centered one; and T.J. (Jason Dolley), the youngest and therefore most abused one.

Only Sam's character receives much definition in the opener, which finds him being mercilessly teased by his brothers about how best to ask the girl of his fancy to a school dance. Also in the first stanza, the brood's umpteenth maid up and quits, dousing their clothes in gasoline and setting them afire on her way out the door. That settles it: The guys will just have to keep house themselves, Dad decides. Sure thing. To show their displeasure, the boys allow the trash to pile up so high that it requires its own ZIP code.

In the intermittently amusing teleplay penned by Scully and Thacker-Scully, Carradine displays a nice, biting cynicism while struggling to save his five slobs from themselves. Then again, he's just as uncivilized in his own way as are they, drinking his coffee straight out of the pot and allowing the family dog to eat at the dinner table right along with them. But it's that very unrefined nature that helps give his Nick the necessary brutal edge.

While "Complete Savages" has received rave notices from many critics and does indeed carry off its "family from hell" style with a certain wiggy charm, this new "TGIF" entry initially fails to pass the believability test. It's hard to imagine much that goes down in the premiere actually happening. In reality, Dad would probably be in therapy and the boys in regular legal and moral peril. It also doesn't yet produce the requisite abundant laughs it will require to survive the primetime jungle. But the characters have a nice chemistry, potentially boding well for something special down the road.

Executive producers: Julie Thacker-Scully, Mike Scully, Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey; Producers: Nancy Cotton, Ken Ornstein; Associate producer: Bruce Rand Berman; Director: Mel Gibson; Writers: Julie Thacker-Scully, Mike Scully; Director of photography: Richard Brown; Production designer: Sharon Busse; Costume designer: Simon Tuke; Set decorator: Donna Stamps; Editor: Robert Bramwell; Music: Eric Speier; Sound mixer: Brentley Walton; Casting: Sally Stiner, Barbie Block.

Cast: Nick Savage: Keith Carradine; Sam Savage: Andrew Elden; Jack: Shaun Sipos; Chris: Erik von Detten; Kyle: Evan Ellingson; T.J.: Jason Dolley; Jimmy: Vincent Ventresca.

Hollywood Fest Has Passion for Gibson

Backed by the success of "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson will be feted by the Hollywood Film Festival with the Hollywood Producer of the Year Award.

Gibson will receive the trophy Oct. 18 at the festival's closing-night awards gala, to take place at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The Hollywood Film Festival's board of advisers, co-chaired by Paula Wagner, made the announcement Tuesday.

"Mel Gibson's career exemplifies extraordinary ability, craftsmanship and determination," festival founder Carlos de Abreu said. "He is an excellent example of a highly talented filmmaker whose work and creative vision are to be honored."

Known around the world for his work in front of the camera, Gibson launched his producing career with Bruce Davey and formed Icon Prods. Their first project was the Gibson starrer "Hamlet" in 1990.

Their projects have included "Forever Young," "Maverick," "Payback," "What Women Want" and "The Man Without a Face." More recently, Gibson produced the current release "Paparazzi" and last year's "The Singing Detective." His "Passion," which he wrote, directed and produced, has earned more than $370 million at the domestic boxoffice.

The 2004 Hollywood Film Festival will take place Oct. 12-18 at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. Also set to be honored at the gala awards are John Travolta, Michael Mann, Bob Berney, Jamie Foxx and Keira Knightley, among others.

'Passion' Tops 'Rings' Record in Debut Week

"The Passion of the Christ" sold nearly 9 million combined DVD and VHS units during its first week in release on home video, according to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment executives.

That marks the biggest debut week ever for a live-action title, topping New Line's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

"Passion" took the top slot at the rental counter during the same frame, generating an estimated $9.45 million in gross rental revenue, according to Video Store magazine.

The film sold more than 4.1 million combined DVD and VHS units in its first day of release, according to Fox, the video's distributor.

Paramount's "Twisted," starring Ashley Judd, debuted as the third-best-selling DVD last week and was the nation's No. 2 rental title, generating an estimated $9.13 million, or 36.2% of its domestic box office take, according to VideoScan and Video Store magazine, respectively.

Disney's debut of the special edition of "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" was the nation's second-best-selling DVD and VHS, according to VideoScan. "Simba's Pride" did not appear on Video Store magazine's top 20 rental titles for the same frame.

Lions Gate's "Dogville," starring Nicole Kidman, has generated $3.7 million, or 246% of its domestic box office gross, during its first 12 days at the rental counter, according to Video Store magazine.

Duking It Out

THE hottest boxing matches aren't in Las Vegas - they're on the set of Sylvester Stallone's new TV show, "The Contender." A Stallone pal explained, "We have fight nights every week where the contenders battle it out. Sylvester started inviting a few friends and word got out and now we are ambushed every day with phone calls from people begging to get in." So far, Mel Gibson, James Caan, Melanie Griffith, Burt Reynolds, Wyclef Jean, James Brolin, Elliot Gould, David Carradine, Chuck Norris, Burt Young, William Shatner, Baby Face, Mr. T, Lee Majors, Roma Downey, Tony Danza and Chris Matthews have made the cut and high-tailed it down to the secret Pasadena location. There, the celebs and pals watch Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard work the fighters before having a catered dinner on the set.

'Passion' Sells 4.1M Copies in One Day

The second coming of Mel Gibson's biblical epic "The Passion of the Christ" sold 4.1 million DVD copies by Wednesday after only one day in stores.

While the figure from distributor Fox Home Entertainment is high, it's not quite a record breaker.

"Finding Nemo" holds the No. 1 overall spot for one-day DVD sales with about 8 million. For a live-action movie, "Spider-Man" holds the one-day record with 7 million.

Although "The Passion" fell short of that, Fox Home Entertainment said it did inaugurate several secondary industry records.

In terms of one-day sales, Fox is describing the movie as the best-selling R-rated film of all time and best-selling non-English language film of all time. Most DVD sales trackers, however, only divide rankings between animation and live-action.

"The Passion," starring Jim Caviezel (news) as Jesus, earned more than $370 million at the North American box office, making it the year's second-most popular movie behind "Shrek 2," which earned $436.7 million.

Gibson's film was also one of the most controversial movies in years. Besides its violent depiction of the crucifixion, some Jewish organizations complained it might spark a rise in anti-Semitism by blaming ancient Jewish people for killing Christ.

"The Passion" DVD is on track to sell as well as Hollywood blockbusters such as "Spider-Man" and "The Lord of the Rings" movies, which topped out between 15 million and 18 million total disc sales, said Scott Hettrick, editor in chief of DVD Exclusive magazine.

Churches and religious groups were active in trying to promote the movie to their congregations, sometimes buying huge blocks of theater tickets for sale to parishioners. Many DVDs were paid for well in advance and picked up Tuesday.

Filmed in Aramaic and Latin, the movie was sold with English subtitles on VHS for $24.98, and English and Spanish subtitles on DVD for $29.98. Many retailers are cutting the price to $15 to $20, Hettrick said.

Since the "Passion" that went on sale Tuesday includes only the movie — no bonus features or documentaries that are common on most discs — a more fully loaded version of the DVD is likely in the future.

Passion of the Christ DVD racks up brisk sales on first day of release

The DVD of Mel Gibson's biblical epic The Passion of the Christ went on sale Tuesday and sold 2.4 million copies by midday.

"We think a lot of the consumers will be going in after work to pick it up," said Steve Feldstein, spokesman for Fox Home Entertainment, which is distributing the DVD. Total one-day sales figures for the movie were expected Wednesday.

The Passion, starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, earned more than $370 million US at the North American box office, making it the second-most popular movie of the year behind Shrek 2.

The film was also one of the most controversial movies in years. Besides its violent depiction of the crucifixion, some Jewish organizations complained it might spark a rise in anti-Semitism by blaming ancient Jewish people for killing Christ.

Finding Nemo holds the record for one-day DVD sales with about eight million but it's unclear how that movie was selling by midday on the day of its release, said Scott Hettrick, editor in chief of DVD Exclusive magazine.

"This is really good but it's really hard to do an apple-to-apple comparison," he said.

"It's been less than a handful of movies that have done first-day sales reporting."

He said The Passion is on track to sell as well as other Hollywood blockbusters such as Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings movies, which topped out between 15 million and 18 million total DVD sales.

Churches and religious groups were active in trying to promote the movie to their congregations, sometimes buying huge blocks of theatre tickets for sale to parishioners. Many DVDs were paid for well in advance and picked up Tuesday.

Fox Home Entertainment reported each customer bought an average of 1.8 copies of the DVD.

Filmed in Aramaic and Latin, the movie was sold with English subtitles on VHS for $24.98 and English and Spanish subtitles on DVD for $29.98.

'Paparazzi' - A View from the Other Side of the Lens

An A-list superstar and her boyfriend vacations on an exotic island. The bounty for a photograph of this particular actress is $100,000-plus, much more if they're caught nude sunbathing. So if you are a member of the paparazzi and you want the shot, what do you do? You rent a submarine, move in on the island underwater, surface and shoot -- with your giant telephoto lens.

This is only one of the crazy stories "Paparazzi" director Paul Abascal came across while doing research for the movie which stars Cole Hauser ("2 Fast 2 Furious") and Robin Tunney ("The Craft.")

It's no secret that some paparazzi turn into stalkers to get the moneymaking snapshot. "Every celebrity has a paparazzi story," says the first-time feature director. "Everyone remembers the punch with Sean Penn, and Alec Baldwin had a similar incident, and obviously the Lady Di thing. All of the things in the movie are spawned from incidents that have actually happened."

"Paparazzi" is based around fictitious rising action star, Bo Laramie, (Hauser) whose life quickly becomes front-page tabloid material after a quartet of pushy photographers target his family. Bo's bid to evade the snap-happy crew leads to a high-speed car chase that sends Bo's wife, Abby, (Tunney) into intensive care and their 6-year-old son, Zach, into a coma. Laramie soon takes matters into his own hands and seeks revenge on his paparazzi stalkers.

"It's probably the dream of a lot of actors and artists to live out this kind of revenge," smiles Hauser.

Tom Sizemore ("Black Hawk Down") and Daniel Baldwin ("Born on the Fourth of July") feature in the film as part of the die-hard paparazzi. Sizemore, who plays the ambitious paparazzo Rex, was once engaged to Hollywood madam, Heidi Fleiss and has been the focus of photographers himself.

In 2003, the 42-year-old actor was convicted of physically abusing Fleiss. In August, he was arrested after police charged him with drug possession at his West Hollywood home. These widely publicized events have left Sizemore particularly familiar with the tabloid sting.

"Sizemore is out doing us some publicity," the director says with an empathetic smile. "He's having a bit of bad luck right now. I wish him the best."

The four paparazzi in the film are not your average photographer. They are unrelenting, ruthless and -- at times -- pure criminals.

"These guys are scumbags with a capital S," remarks Tunney, who next stars in a thriller about the Zodiac Killer, "In Control of all Things." "They get murdered -- and you're happy when they are -- but it's entertainment, it's not a documentary. It's not supposed to be based in reality. It's a heightened reality," she explains.

However, there are obvious parallels between the car accident in the film and the car crash that resulted in Princess Diana's death.. The director reveals, "That was my own sort of take on what that must have been like, and I made the attempt to sort of dizzy the audience in there; to put them behind the wheel of the car."

The crash scene is shot with quick edits and close-ups from inside the car, and results in a realistic moment. It seems to bring up old wounds that people blame Diana's death on the media. The director doesn't see this film as Hollywood's revenge against the paparazzi.

"We didn't set out to make a kind of statement that -- 'This is the paparazzi, and poor celebrities,' " he explains.

The director says he thinks some paparazzi may enjoy the 15 minutes of fame their profession gets in the film while others may get offended. Hauser is more hopeful, saying, "I actually ran into a paparazzo the other day, and he was really excited about the movie. He was excited that they were doing a movie about him."

Hauser's not yet the superstar of his character in the film, although his next role is fatherhood -- like his character in the movie. His first child, a boy, is due in September. He will be seen next in the action flick, "Cave," with Morris Chestnut and Piper Perabo, about divers who get trapped.

The actor adds, "It's just no longer you [the audience] looking in, it's you [the audience] looking out." That point of view has a lot to do Mel Gibson being one of the film's producers.

"Mel has been in it for 30 years so he has gone from A to Z with the paparazzi. He was a rich source of information," says the director, who has known Gibson for 15 years.

Although Gibson's presence on set was limited, due to his filming "The Passion of the Christ, Hauser recalls the superstar visiting the set six or seven times and says he was laid back and watched from the sidelines. Gibson, who is known for his on-set antics, didn't pull any pranks during the filming of "Paparazzi."

Gibson says he hopes that the audience "enjoys the movie and understands that what really comes across is that the tongue is firmly implanted in the cheek."

With a sprinkling of high-calibre cameos in the film, such as Chris Rock, Matthew McConaughey and Gibson himself, it ensure the often-dark film doesn't take itself too seriously.

The director warns, "Any one of us could go out and become a paparazzi. It's not like you have to go to school for it, you just have to have the tenacity."

For the perfect bounty shot, all you need is a camera and access to a submarine, or a tabloid paper that will pay for it.

"Paparazzi," which also stars Dennis Farina ("Midnight Run"), opens nationwide on Friday, Sept. 3.

Gibson's controversial but highly profitable Passion of the Christ on video

For those few who may have stayed away from Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (Equinoxe/Warner) due to the reported graphic nature of its brutal content, it may help to say the violence and bloodshed is no worse than that seen in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. On the other hand, that may not be much of a comfort.

It seems Gibson is trying to say that if one of the world's major religions is constructed on a premise of pain and suffering so extreme, that perhaps we should stop pussyfooting around it and come to terms with it. On the surface, Passion's blood-soaked imagery is a sado-masochist's dream. But underneath, star Jim Caviezel is effectively coping with the fascinating contradictions in the story of Jesus' last 12 hours of life, in which he seems both aware and surprised at the profound betrayal inflicted on him by Judas, his people and perhaps his own Father.

Gibson shoots most scenes in a sandy sepia befitting the time and place and while the authenticity is impressive, the decision to have all dialogue in Aramaic and Latin can be unnecessarily annoying. When the guards who arrest Jesus speak Aramaic, it sounds an awful lot like Klingon.

The DVD is barebones. . .not a single extra, not an audio commentary, not even a trailer (no, not even an Easter egg!). For those who thought the sequences Gibson reportedly cut prior to theatrical release to avoid offending too many people might show up as deleted scenes here, no luck. While apparently there are plans for a more elaborate issue some time in the future, the only frivolous bit on this one involves the chapter selections being offered in Roman numerals. There is, however, a rare optional release on cassette in the D-VHS format.

Jesus Christ Superstar (Special Edition) (Universal) - And to think THIS version of the Christ tale was considered controversial back in 1973. Norman Jewison directed this timely DVD release of the Oscar-nominated Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Tim Rice Broadway musical that was shot in the large-format Todd-AO process and which seemed designed to appeal to the hippie culture of the day.

Freaks (Warner) - Seventy years later one thing remains profoundly true. Anyone who has ever seen Tod Browning's Freaks has not forgotten it. Its images have an unnerving ability to seep into one's daydreams and nightmares long afterwards.

Coming off the success of helming the original Bela Lugosi version of Dracula, Browning - who also made a series of silent films with Lon Chaney, Sr. - wanted to go a step further than Chaney's celebrated performances of the deformed and tortured. So in late 1931 he hired real circus side-show freaks for his story of love, betrayal and revenge on the sawdust trail. He was Fellini-esque long before Fellini as he spun a rather normal soap opera tale in an abnormal setting that over the years was repeatedly banned and censored across the world. Although just over an hour in length, it often had more than 30 minutes cut from it. After disappearing for decades it surfaced in the 1960s as an art-house and campus favourite and even if the grotesque characters were bad actors, a mood of pure horror was created by its cast of "the abnormal and the unwanted."

The print Warner is releasing here on DVD (It was originally an MGM title) is remarkably pristine and the disc comes with excellent behind-the-scenes content.

We meet not just midgets, the strongman and the bearded lady, but the torso man, the walking skeleton and the only mentally retarded creatures in the group, the microencephalics, or "pinheads".

Even today it's difficult to say if Browning was really trying to present a sympathetic portrait of his "freaks" or if he was exploiting them for lurid purposes like the circuses and carnivals themselves used to do. Unforgettable.

Twisted (Paramount) - Newly-promoted San Francisco homicide detective Ashley Judd is on her first case - a string of grisly murders - when she begins to realize the clues are pointing to HER as the killer. Each of the victims is a man she had sex with. And she has been having these blackouts. While insisting to the department shrink that she's just fine, her life is a true mess. She's drinking heavily, having casual sex with bar pickups and there's a disturbing violent streak in the way she handles male perps. Under Philip Kaufman's helmsmanship, the film does what this kind of film is supposed to do - it keeps viewers off-balance, rocking them back and forth between two or three prime suspects. Is it her mentor Samuel L. Jackson? Is it her new partner Andy Garcia? Or that hostile fellow detective who resents her sudden promotion? Or the other hostile fellow detective she slept with once but has blown off?

Twisted came and went theatrically without making many ripples but it certainly accomplishes what it sets out to do. And the authentic location shooting which makes foggy Frisco one of the main characters makes it a serviceable thriller, handicapped, perhaps, by the fact the heroine is just not very likeable, even if we believe she is innocent when she's not so sure herself.

Ike: Countdown to D-Day (Columbia) - Tom Selleck as Eisenhower? Makeup artists can accomplish anything these days and they actually pull this one off, right down to shaving Magnum P.I's dome for this A&E movie that played on TV last June. There's no epic battle sequence here, just the drama of how Ike managed to pull together the D-Day invasion plans by overcoming the petty rivalries of the Montys and Pattons under his leadership. Solid wartime historical drama.

Also new: Lion King 2: Simba's Pride Special Edition (Disney); Videodrome (Morningstar); 24th Day (Universal); Relentless and Relentless 2: Dead On (Columbia/Tri-Star); Annie: A Royal Adventure (Columbia); One Eyed King (Velocity); Clifford's Really Big Movie (Warner); Trekkies 2 (Paramount); Strawberry Shortcake: Adventures on Ice Cream Island and Best Pets Yet (Fox).

Mel Gibson's new film takes aim at paparazzi

Mel Gibson so despises paparazzi that he dreamed up a movie about killing them - and hired his former hairdresser to direct it.

Paparazzi, which opens Sept. 3, is financed by Gibson's Icon Entertainment (the same company that produced The Passion of the Christ). It tells the story of Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser), an on-the-rise Gibson-like action star who's pursued mercilessly by three sleazy paparazzi, played by real-life paparazzi plaything Tom Sizemore, British actor Tom Hollander and Daniel Baldwin, brother of paparazzi-hating star Alec.

When a high-speed chase ends with Bo's wife and son critically injured, Laramie plots revenge.

First-time feature director Paul Abascal met Gibson when he was hired to style the superstar's hair on the Lethal Weapon films. Abascal says he routinely declined paparazzi payoffs to spill the beans on such famous clients as Gibson, Bruce Willis and Madonna.

"It's a greasy little world to dip into," says Abascal, who interviewed several real-life paparazzi before making his film. "There are teams out there who are having strategy meetings and greasing palms around town every day."

Gibson cameos in the movie, and he persuaded celebrity friends Chris Rock,Vince Vaughnand Matthew McConaughey to put in appearances.

The film's car crash might remind moviegoers of the one that killed Princess Diana seven years ago. In both instances, the paparazzi seize the opportunity to photograph the dying or dead. But Abascal says Gibson is not trying to exploit that tragedy.

"Mel's certainly had his (own) run-ins with the paparazzi," says Abascal. "His family has been pursued. People have come around to his house. He's going to let the movie speak for itself."

End Quote

"I adored The Passion of the Christ, especially the flagellation scenes, which were done so tastefully. I suggested the idea of that film to Mel [Gibson] years ago, inspired by a little book I found in the drawer of my hotel nightstand." — Drag diva Dame Edna Everage in September's issue of Out

Passion of the Christ moves man to admit killing girlfriend

A man who said the movie The Passion of the Christ prompted him to confess to strangling his girlfriend pleaded guilty Wednesday.

"I take full responsibility for my actions, and I plead guilty," Dan Leach II told State District Judge Brady Elliott.

Despite the confession, Leach had pleaded innocent, and his murder trial had begun Tuesday with jury selection. After he switched his plea Wednesday, the jury immediately began hearing the punishment phase of the trial. He faces from five years to life in prison.

Ashley Nicole Wilson, 19, was found dead in her apartment in January. It appeared she had hanged herself, and the Harris County medical examiner's office ruled the death a suicide.

Two months later, Leach, 21, said he came forward after seeing Mel Gibson's movie depicting the last hours of Jesus.

Police said Leach strangled Wilson because she was pregnant with his child and he wanted nothing to do with the mother or the unborn baby. Though she believed she was pregnant, an autopsy showed no evidence of pregnancy, authorities have said.

Leach described an elaborate plan to make the death look like a suicide, officers said. He said he told Wilson to write him a letter describing everything that was bad in her life, then strangled her with the cord from her high school graduation gown, police said.

The cord was wrapped around her neck and tied to the headboard of a bed, and police interpreted the letter as a suicide note.

Prosecutors Wednesday urged jurors to sentence Leach to life.

"It's time to think of Ashley Wilson and the life she was deprived of," prosecu