Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A few words about Gibson's 'Beaver' trailer

Wow, who was it who just said that separating the artist from the art is essential? Gotta love the timing on this one.

Well, I still believe in that statement, but let's be honest - it's not easy. It's not easy at all to appraise the work of a creative person who says or does things that are reprehensible to you, and I have my blind spots that I probably should work at overcoming. That said, I still believe it's the work that matters in the end. Why? Because as creative people, we like to believe that our work will outlive us. Even if the artist is forgotten, the work - if it's good enough - can have a life of its own and can influence future generations. And that's the most we can hope for in this life.

What do we know about The Beaver? The screenplay by Kyle Killen topped the 2008 "Black List" of unproduced screenplays, meaning it was highly sought after. Both Steve Carell and Jim Carrey were attached to the film before Mel Gibson came on board. Insiders on the film tried to stir up some Oscar buzz for Gibson on the belief that The Beaver might be released late this year. And perhaps most notably, director and co-star Jodie Foster, a long-time friend of Gibson's, continues to stand by him.

The trailer itself is intriguing in terms of not only Gibson's performance, but the art-imitating-life factor (especially when Foster's character says "I will continue to fight for you"). It looks like it might have a substantial element of sap running through it as well, though from what I've read from those who have read the screenplay, that's not the case.

Right now, my feeling is that I think I may give it a shot, though more on the basis of Foster's reputation and the much-buzzed-about screenplay than Gibson himself. I think Foster's continued support of Gibson is remarkable and should not be minimized; indeed, I think it's her presence that could mean the difference in how well The Beaver does. I'd be very interested in hearing what other people think about this.

The Beaver (trailer)

- Danny Boyle says Trainspotting 2: Electric Boogaloo is only a matter of time. (Cinematical)
- An interview with Mark Logue, grandson of Lionel Logue, Geoffrey Rush's character in The King's Speech. (Speakeasy)
- Speaking of The King's Speech, has a whispering campaign against it already begun? (Scott Feinberg)
- It's hard out here for a black director. (NPR)
- The facts and the fiction behind Peter Weir's new film The Way Back. (BBC)
- How the MPAA regards the sex in Blue Valentine versus the sex in Black Swan. (LATimes)
- Leonard Maltin talks about the Disney/Dali collaboration Destino. (Movie Crazy)


  1. It's weird, I think a lot of people are having the issues over this which I have with Polanski.

    He's a great filmmaker, but I find it hard to separate the man from his work - it probably helps that he has films like Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby in his filmography, but I have great difficulty even trying to figure out if I should talk about it.

    I think Gibson is talented. I loved Apocalypto. However, he just seems like a horrible person. As you said, at what point do you separate the artist from the art? Maybe it's tougher when they are on-screen.

    By the by, without belittling any of what Gibson has done, I found it interesting that the cast of The Hangover had no difficulty working with Mike Tyson (a rapist who was using his paycheck from the film to buy drugs), but balked at working with Gibson.

    But you're right, Jodie Foster has one hell of an up-hill battle on this one.

  2. I read somewhere not too long ago a theory that Polanski has been able to be forgiven by Hollywood, in large part, because he never expressed the racist attitudes that Gibson has, in particular the anti-Semitism. I don't know how much truth there is to this, but I do believe that it's possible that there's a line within the Hollywood community beyond which forgiveness doesn't come - at least not as easily.

  3. Perhaps in the old days of Hollywood, where the social saturation wasn't as prevalent, Gibson's anti-semitic rant may have never really become public knowledge like it has today. Plus his marriage breakdown (and the fallout) would have been relegated to the gossip and tabloid pages, and most mainstream folks would never have known of it.
    I don't mind Mel as a filmmaker, and as an actor I think he's got a lot to offer, but I feel his credibility as a person leaves a lot to be desired. Darren made mention of Mike Tyson in his above comment, and it's a link I think is pertinent here: where is the line between a rouge bad boy we all love, and a rogue bad boy we all hate. I tend to think raping somebody is a lot worse than screaming down a phone line at your horrible ex-wife, so where do we find Mel more reprehensible than Mike.
    I guess I'd like to see Mel's career return to its pre-ranting glory, but I think his status as a major player in the industry has forever been tainted by a bout of alcoholic-fuelled stupidity. I can't see him recovering from this, and no matter how many comedies or action films he does in the future will absolve him in the eyes of the world's audience. Doesn't mean it's right, but it's just the way it is.

  4. That's a good point, Rodney - if that phone call hadn't been recorded, would we even be aware of Gibson's failing marriage? Maybe, maybe not.

    I keep going back to the anti-Semitism angle, though that's more from an industry perspective than an audience one. I think general audiences, in time, will forget about it - key words being "in time."


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