Gibson was finished after a running of racist and antisemitic outbursts. But will the second world war drama Hacksaw Ridge prove that there are second acts in Hollywood lives?
It may be hard to believe at the moment, but there was a time in the US when gushing racist and misogynistic loathe speech would damage your career, rather than propelling you to its highest office. Just ask Mel Gibson.
In 2010, records surfaced on the internet of Gibson chiding his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, in the most repulsive terms. Hollywood wasnt happy. Even though the movies Gibson had starred in and directed had stimulated more than$ 2bn worldwide, as well as earning him an Oscar, his talent bureau jettisoned him the day the recordings were made public.
The lead actors in The Hangover Part II rebelled against his casting as a tattooist, and the cameo went to Nick Cassavetes. Gibsons friend Jodie Foster stood by him, but when the film they shot together, The Beaver, was released in 2011, it was an abject flop. Gibson, it seemed, was all washed up.
Not any more. Gibsons grisly new war movie, Hacksaw Ridge, has just opened in the US to decent box office takings ($ 18.5 m so far) and a raft of strong reviews. You may have issues with the stars past history of rage and intolerance, wrote Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. But youll have no issue with Hacksaw Ridge, a movie about a different kind of brave heart. Could an Oscar nomination be next? It is certainly possible: on Sunday, Gibson received the best director trophy at the Hollywood film awards. Hollywood is officially back in the Mel Gibson business.