"Y'know, when they made Braveheart, they said 'That's ridiculous, Mel Gibson, playing a Scottish guy. That's not going to be convincing.' Well, look at him now: An alcoholic racist."Mel Gibson is an American-Australian actor, film director and producer and screenwriter. The movies he has acted in have grossed more than two billion dollars in the US alone. Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney when he was 12 years old and later studied acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.Gibson broke through with the Australian cult classic Mad Max series and graduated to the A-List with Lethal Weapon in 1987. He went on to star in a number of films, usually appearing in action or comedic roles. In 1995 he directed and starred in the Academy Award-winning Braveheart, becoming the sixth actor-turned-filmmaker to receive an Academy Award for Best Director. Behind the scenes, Gibson was known as a Three Stooges fan and a notorious on-set prankster.After 2002's Signs, Gibson withdrew from the Hollywood system and focused on his own self-financed productions. In 2004, he directed and produced The Passion Of The Christ, a controversial but successful film that portrayed the last hours of the life of Jesus Christ. He followed up with another ambitious, self-financed project filmed in an obscure language, Apocalypto.A devout Traditionalist Catholic, Gibson became more outspoken with his conservative religious and political beliefs after the release of Passion. He also came under fire with allegations of antisemitism and racism, fueled by his father's beliefs as well as comments he made during a DUI arrest. Gibson's controversial statements have made him the subject of frequent parody in the media. As well as this, he's drawn criticism for his treatment of the British, specifically the English, in some of his historical films, most notably Braveheart, with the British often villainised in exchange for historical accuracy.Gibson returned to the Hollywood scene in 2010 with a starring role in Edge Of Darkness. Soon after the film was released, Gibson again drew controversy when his ex-girlfriend released recordings of his expletive and slur-laden phone conversations and also accused him of domestic abuse.His following film was The Beaver, which tells the story of a man whose life was ruined by alcohol and who finds a very unusual way to get his life back in order—by using a sock puppet beaver as a separate personality. The film didn't do too well at the box office and his future career remains uncertain, although the film mostly served as a venue for Gibson to work through some of his issues.His latest film Get The Gringo (titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation in some countries) bypassed cinemas and opened in the USA on DirectTV but was released to theatres in other countries. It is widely regarded as a good film, so there may be hope yet for ol' Mel.