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Monday, July 31, 2006

USA Today and LATimes discuss effects of Mel's arrest on Apocalypto

First, USA Today asks the logical question:

Is director Mel Gibson's arrest the end of the world for Apocalypto?

A published report that the Lethal Weapon star engaged in an anti-Semitic outburst when Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies took him into custody Friday on suspicion of drunken driving will likely dog him even more than a DUI conviction would. And the first casualty of his behavior - or which he has apologized - could be his ancient-Mayan adventure drama, set to open Dec. 8.


Thompson said Apocalypto will be the first test. "A lot of people are upset by this. (But) people love Mel Gibson. They care about him and want him to do well and get himself back together. There's a lot of that sentiment out there." [full article.]

Second, the LA Times chimes in:

Mel Gibson is rich enough to finance his own movies, including the 2004 blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ" and the upcoming release "Apocalypto." But although riches can buy a certain freedom from creative interference, no man is an island in the movie business.

... "Apocalypto," set for a Dec. 8 release, appears to pose some unique marketing challenges. The film, set against the backdrop of the ancient Mayan empire that mysteriously collapsed centuries before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, is in Mayan dialect and has a cast of relative unknowns. Earlier this year, Gibson described "Apocalypto" as "an action adventure of mythic proportions." He deflected further queries about the plot, although he did say that "Apocalypto" -- a Greek word that translates as "new beginning" -- centers on an Indian family man who "has to overcome tremendous odds to preserve what he values the most."

Principal photography on the film was recently completed. One person who saw Gibson on the set in Vera Cruz said he appeared healthy and in control and did not detect any hint that he had a drinking problem. It is unclear how his arrest might affect his participation in post-production on the film.


As for Gibson, he was said to be huddling with his medical, legal and spiritual advisers over the weekend. Some of his friends, who asked not to be identified, said they hoped that he would seek counseling for his admitted drinking problem. One source said he had already begun rehabilitation, noting that Gibson has long been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

It's impossible to know how much of a long-term impact the incident will have on Gibson's career.


Gibson, who faces a Sept. 28 court appearance on his misdemeanor drunk driving charge, clearly needs Hollywood allies going forward.


If Disney were to bow out of distributing "Apocalypto," there are few other ways Gibson could easily get his movie into theaters. Newmarket is now a part of Time Warner Inc., and, as such, is subject to the same potential boycott pressures that could be directed at Disney. The only truly independent distributor with any real pull is Lionsgate Films, which has a history of distributing films Disney wants no part of. Lionsgate released two films, "Dogma" and "Fahrenheit 9/11," that were originally set to be distributed by the Disney-owned Miramax Films. [full article.]

It would frankly suprise me very much if Disney did indeed bow out of distributing Apocalypto.

Photo: 2004 AP file photo

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