Mel Gibson Said To Show 'True Self' In New Film

Mar 17, 2011, 07:30 by John Steele

Mel Gibson's erratic behavior over the last 2 years has come as a shock to fans who remember a sweet, charismatic movie star. But with anti-Semitic comments, racial slurs and violent, verbal abuse of former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva all caught on tape, this innocent image has been shattered for most viewers.

But Gibson still has one friend left in Hollywood: Actress and Director Jodie Foster. Foster directs and stars in the new film 'The Beaver' with Gibson, a role she believes shows the much-maligned actor's true colors.

"At this particular place, the most beautiful part of Mel, I think, is onscreen," Foster, 48, told PEOPLE Magazine 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."

Audiences won't have much chance to separate the actor from the man as Gibson was sentenced last week to probation and counseling stemming from abuse charges filed by Grigorieva. This ensured that, when 'The Beaver' first premiered to audiences at the South By Southwest Film and Music Festival this week, Gibson's bad behavior would be fresh in people's minds. But Foster remains confident that her co-star and long-time-friend can overcome the bad press.

People would be surprised, she told PEOPLE, 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."

There is certainly room for growth in a role which, critics believe, is a tough sell, even for someone without Gibson's off-screen antics. Gibson plays a husband and father suffering from debilitating depression and losing his grip on reality. But he starts to get it back by speaking through a beaver hand-puppet, allowing himself to at once disassociate from and engage in reality. In this character, Foster says, Gibson is able to face his real-life challenges head-on and give the role an emotional edge.

"Obviously we're playing characters," she said, "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." 

Source: People Magazine