Mel Gibson: ‘Passion Of The Christ renewed my faith’
He is making a comeback in acting in Edge Of Darkness after eight long years and is all excited about it. A humble Gibson thinks it took him so long to realise that he has something to offer to his audience. A legend in himself, he tells NIDHI MITTAL about his spiritual being and his future films as director and actor
What was the reason for such a long hiatus? What kept you busy during that time?
Well, I walked away from acting because I just felt I was stale and it wasn’t ringing my bells. So, I focused on directing and writing and producing and all that kind of stuff, and then it was time to come back. I got the acting bug back because I felt like, all of a sudden, after all these years that I might have something to offer again. That coincided with a very good piece of material — Edge Of Darkness. This was the best thing that I saw in the meantime.
What are the expectations from the Indian Box Office for your film?The story of this film has an emotional core. It is about a father losing his daughter and going on a journey of discovery not only to find out who killed her and why, but also who she really was. So, this storyline will appeal to Indian audiences. And I hope it does well there as well.
According to you, in which stage of an actor’s life are you?
I am not sure how I can divide an actor’s life into stages. But I am at a stage where I have spent 30 years in this profession, yet I feel there is much more to be achieved.
Going back in time to the Passion Of The Christ, did the film leave an impact on you or your way of looking at life? It was a powerful direction.
Thanks for the compliment. Well, you’re not going to get along too far without faith. I was spiritually bankrupt and when that happens, it’s like a spiritual cancer afflicting you. It starts to eat its way through, and if you don’t do something, it’s going to take you. For 12 years I was asking all those Shakespearean Hamlet questions: What’s on the other side? Why am I here? Part of my investigation was reawakening of the faith that I was raised in.So, I simply had to draw a line in the sand. But it wasn’t so much about me making a decision as being backed into a wall. I made Passion of the Christ and it renewed my faith. I believe that faith, for me, if you’re going on a wild ride, it’s kind of like slapping a seat belt on. Not that it’s going to save you here, but that you’ll be able to transcend the madness by appealing to a higher power.
Being father of eight children, how different was Father’s Day for you?
For me, every day is a Father’s Day. So this Father’s Day wasn’t very different. As usual, I was occupied with work.
What are your next films as an actor and as director?
As a director, I am working on Viking movie with Graham King. And I will be acting in How I Spent My Summer Vacation and The Beaver.
How is it working with Leonardo diCaprio?
We have just started and it’s great. He is hugely talented and the right choice for my Viking movie. I want a Viking to scare you. I don’t want a Viking to say, “I’m going to die with a sword in my hand.” I don’t want to hear that. It pulls the rug out from under you. I want to see somebody who I have never seen before speaking low guttural German who scares the living s**t out of me coming up to my house. What is that like? What would that have been like? Whatever the 9th century had to offer, I’m going to give you real. Leonardo DiCaprio is going to have his work cut out for him.
There are reports of you learning hypnotism from Australian expert Rick Collingwood. Is it for work or for personal use? How do you plan to put it to use?
I have not taken up learning hypnotism. If at all I do, I shall announce why and how I intend to use this skill.