Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mel Gibson (born January 3, 1956) is an American-born Australian-reared actor, director and producer best known for either acting in the Mad Max movie series, the Lethal Weapon series, Braveheart or directing The Passion of the Christ.
Gibson was born with a physical anomaly called "Horseshoe kidney ". His two kidneys are fused at the base into a U shape. This fusion anomaly occurs in about one of every 400 people.
Although he maintained his United States citizenship, he was raised in Australia from the age of twelve. Following a victory on the TV game show Jeopardy!, Gibson's father, Hutton, moved his family to Australia in 1968 in protest of the Vietnam War and because he believed that changes in American society were immoral. Some people have attacked Hutton Gibson for religious views that he says are based on traditional Catholicism, and on his political opinions. A member of a Roman Catholic breakaway church that chooses not to follow current Church teachings deriving from Vatican II, Mel Gibson has donated money to finance the construction of a traditional Catholic chapel in Malibu, California, called Holy Family.
In early 2005, Mago Island was purchased by Gibson. Natives to the island plan to protest Gibson's plans to turn the island into a private getaway. Gibson purchased the island from Japan's Tokyu corporation for $15 million.
Gibson and the movies
He made his Australian movie debut as the leather-clad post-apocalyptic survivor in George Miller's Mad Max, which later became a cult hit and launched two of its own sequels. His international profile increased through Peter Weir's anti-war First World War film Gallipoli. In 1984, he made his U.S. movie debut, starring as Fletcher Christian in The Bounty. Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins played opposite Gibson as Captain Bligh.
Lethal Weapon and Hamlet
Gibson moved to more mainstream filmmaking with the popular Lethal Weapon series, where he starred as a maverick and violent cop, Martin Riggs, in a buddy relationship with his older and more conservative partner played by Danny Glover. Gibson surprisingly moved to the classical genre, playing the melancholy Danish prince in Franco Zeffirelli's movie of Shakespeare's Hamlet (1990). Gibson has been equally successful as a comedy actor, in movies such as Maverick (1994) and What Women Want (2000).
In 1996, Gibson received two Academy Awards (Best Director and Best Picture) for Braveheart (1995), loosely based on the life of Sir William Wallace, a thirteenth century Scottish warlord who fought the English.
The Passion of the Christ
In 2004, Gibson released The Passion of the Christ, a movie in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin, which recounts what Gibson describes as the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. The movie has received praise from many Christians and a number of politically conservative Jews (e.g., Michael Medved, David Horowitz, Steven Waldman).
The movie has been criticised by some Christian and Jewish scholars, some of whom have claimed it may promote anti-Semitism, as it relies on passion-play images that have traditionally incited anti-Semitic incidents. The movie has been criticised by many Christian scholars for taking liberties with the New Testament storylines; a significant number of scenes and details in the movie are original ideas from an 19th century Catholic nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich, in her book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (online).
Gibson was asked if his movie would be offensive to Jews today; his response was "It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible. But when you look at the reasons Christ came, he was crucified—he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind. So that, really, anyone who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability." He also stated in an interview in The New Yorker, that he trimmed a scene from The Passion of the Christ involving the Jewish high priest Caiaphas because if he did not, "they'd be coming after me at my house, they'd come to kill me."
For a further discussion, see a separate article on The Passion of Christ.
When the Carmelite nuns at the convent in Coimbra, Portugal got word out that they wanted to see a copy of the film before it was released on DVD, Gibson personally arranged for a special digital screening off of one inch tape and shipped in a projector and screens to view it and introduced the film in person. Later, he stopped by again to have a private meeting with the convent's most famous nun, Sister Lucia who was 98 and was the last survivor of the three children who saw the vision of the Virgin Mary and were said to have been given secrets by her, known as the Fatima Secrets.
Gibson's politics and opinions
Gibson's political viewpoints are lauded by middle America. But some gay rights groups have accused him of homophobia for his conservative Catholic views on homosexuality, and for allegedly depicting homosexuals as villains (The Man without a Face, Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ).
On occasion he has spoken plainly to the press about his views. "They take it up the ass," Gibson told a Spanish publication El Pais in a January 1992 interview, referring to homosexuals as he bent over and pointed to his rear-end. "This is only for taking a shit."
His conservative political views and support of "Traditional Catholic" beliefs have led to charges of anti-Semitism by Jewish leaders, charges that increased following his making of the Gospel-based movie The Passion of the Christ. One scene in the movie which angered Jews included a Jewish crowd expressing support for the crucifixion of Christ by shouting His blood be on us and on our children! (Matthew 27:25), a verse that has been historically used to justify hatred towards Jews. In response to criticism, Gibson removed the subtitle for this line, but left the line itself in the movie.
Gibson went further and placed the Jewish priests at the torture of Jesus, witnessing the torture without response. He also included a scene in which the Jewish guards cruelly fling Jesus off of a bridge, catching him by his chains. Neither artistic choice is reflected in the New Testament.
Not everyone agrees that the movie is anti-Semitic. Reviewer Michael Medved, who is Jewish, commented after viewing a rough cut that "the film seemed to me so obviously free of anti-Semitic intent." Even some liberals have come out in support for Gibson, claiming that traditional Catholicism is not in itself anti-Semitic, and Gibson has no record of intolerance towards Jews or other ethnic groups. Many Evangelical Christian pastors who have seen the film have applauded Gibson's film as being faithful to the text.
For more information, see The Passion of the Christ.
- "Vatican II corrupted the institution of the church. Look at the main fruits: dwindling numbers and pedophilia." - Time, January 27, 2003
- "Why are they calling her a Nazi? ... Because modern secular Judaism wants to blame the Holocaust on the Catholic Church. And it's a lie. And it's revisionism. And they've been working on that one for a while." - On criticism of Anne Catherine Emmerich, an eighteenth-century nun whose writings influenced his portrayal of Jesus' death and also featured heavy anti-Semitic overtones. The New Yorker, September 15, 2003
- "That's bullshit...I don't want to be dissing my father. He never denied the Holocaust; he just said there were fewer than six million. I don't want them having me dissing my father. I mean, he's my father." - On allegations that his father is a Holocaust denier. The New Yorker, September 15, 2003
- "I wanted it in... My brother said I was wimping out if I didn't include it. It happened; it was said. But, man, if I included that in there, they'd be coming after me at my house, they'd come kill me." - On his removal of a scene showing a Jewish mob proclaiming "His blood be on us and on our children." Who exactly "they" are is unclear. The New Yorker, September 15, 2003.
- The Passion of the Christ (2004, produced and directed)
- The Singing Detective (2003)
- Signs (2002)
- We Were Soldiers (2002)
- Chicken Run (2000), (voice)
- The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
- The Patriot (2000)
- What Women Want (2000)
- Payback (1999)
- Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
- Conspiracy Theory (1997)
- (1997, uncredited)
- Father's Day (1997, uncredited)
- Ransom (1996)
- Braveheart (1995, also directed)
- Pocahontas (1995, voice)
- Maverick (1994)
- The Man Without a Face (1993, also directed)
- Forever Young (1992)
- Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
- Air America (1990)
- Bird on a Wire (1990)
- Hamlet (1990)
- Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
- Tequila Sunrise (1988)
- Lethal Weapon (1987)
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
- The Bounty (1984)
- Mrs. Soffel (1984)
- The River (1984)
- Attack Force Z (1982)
- The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
- Gallipoli (1981)
- Mad Max (1979)
- Tim (1979)
- Summer City (1977)
Awards & accomplishments
- Best Actor in a Lead Role, TIM (1979)
- Australian Film Institute: Best Actor in a Lead Role, GALLIPOLI (1981)
- People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (1991)
- MTV Movie Awards: Best Action Sequence, LETHAL WEAPON 3 (1993)
- MTV Movie Awards: Best On-Screen Duo, LETHAL WEAPON 3 (1993) - shared with Danny Glover
- ShoWest Award : Male Star of the Year (1993)
- National Board of Review : Special Achievement in Filmmaking, BRAVEHEART (1995)
- American Cinematheque Gala Tribute : American Cinematheque Award (1995)
- ShoWest Award: Director of the Year (1996)
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards : Best Director, BRAVEHEART (1996)
- Golden Globe Awards: Best Director, BRAVEHEART (1996)
- Academy Awards: Best Director, BRAVEHEART (1996)
- Academy Awards: Best Picture, BRAVEHEART (1996)
- People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (1997)
- Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Man of the Year (1997)
- Blockbuster Entertainment Awards : Favorite Actor - Suspense, RANSOM (1997)
- Blockbuster Entertainment Awards: Favorite Actor - Suspense, CONSPIRACY THEORY (1998)
- People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama (2001)
- People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (2001)
- Blockbuster Entertainment Awards: Favorite Actor - Drama, THE PATRIOT (2001)
- Australian Film Institute: Global Achievement Award (2002)
- People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (2003)
- People's Choice Awards: Favorite Motion Picture Actor (2004)
- Named as the world's most powerful celebrity by US business magazine Forbes (2004)
- Mel Gibson Directory
- The Unauthorized Mel Gibson Web Site
- Religion News Blog (news and news archive on Mel Gibson)
- snopes.com story about Mel Gibson and his fatherArticle Mel Gibson, wronged for his 'Passion'
- Jewish civil rights leader says actor Mel Gibson espouses anti-Semitic views
- Support Mel Gibson.Com
- Mel Gibson Actor Site
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