Mel Colmcille Gerard Gibson (born January 3, 1956) is an American film actor, director, producer and screenwriter born in Peekskill, New York. He 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. The movies he has acted in have grossed more than two billion dollars in the US alone. 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 and effectively ostracized him from the Hollywood system for years.
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 was notable for its Reality Subtext, but did little to shift Gibson's career direction. Gibson's next film, Get the Gringo (titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation in some countries) started a small renaissance. Though the film bypassed American cinemas and opened in the USA on DirectTV, it was well-received and helped raise Gibson's stock. He followed up with appearances in Machete Kills and The Expendables 3 as the main villains. His fifth directorial effort, Hacksaw Ridge, was released in 2016 to critical and commercial success. While no longer the draw he once was, he has managed to salvage his career to an extent.
Mel Gibson films on TV Tropes:
- I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977) (uncredited)
- Mad Max (1979)
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
- Gallipoli (1981)
- Attack Force Z (1982)
- The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
- The Bounty (1984)
- Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
- Lethal Weapon
- Bird on a Wire (1990)
- Forever Young (1992)
- The Man Without a Face (1993) (also directed)
- Maverick (1994)
- Braveheart (1995) (also directed)
- Casper (1995) (cameo)
- Pocahontas (1995) (voice)
- Ransom (1996)
- Conspiracy Theory (1997)
- Payback (1999)
- Chicken Run (2000) (voice)
- The Patriot (2000)
- What Women Want (2000)
- Signs (2002)
- We Were Soldiers (2002)
- The Singing Detective (2003) (also produced)
- The Passion of the Christ (2004) (directed only)
- Apocalypto (2006) (directed only)
- Edge of Darkness (2010)
- The Beaver (2011)
- Get the Gringo (2012)
- Machete Kills (2013)
- The Expendables 3 (2014)
- Blood Father (2016)
- Hacksaw Ridge (2016) (directed only)
- Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
- Dragged Across Concrete (2018)
- Force of Nature (2020)
- Fatman (2020)
- Boss Level (2021)
- The Continental (2023)
- The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection (TBA) (directed only)
Tropes in the work of Mel Gibson:
- Actor/Role Confusion: Gibson's fans have often assumed that, in real life, he is just like the tough, fearless action heroes he has played in films like Mad Max and Lethal Weapon. Gibson has openly admitted that, although he'd like to be, he isn't. In an interview, he described receiving letters from people saying they'd like to be more like him. Gibson said, "I can understand that. I'd like to be more like me, too. I wish I was more me than I am."
- Author Appeal: His characters like dogs, along with occasional references to The Three Stooges in his films, such as in Lethal Weapon. Also, even before The Passion, many of the characters he played display Catholic tendencies.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: Considered a modern pioneer of this trope with his work on Braveheart, which significantly raised the bar for cinematic battle scenes. Hacksaw Ridge also contains several large scale battle scenes, as it portrays the Battle of Okinawa.
- Career Resurrection: After a controversy-prone period in the Noughties, Hacksaw Ridge served as this for Gibson in addition to being Oscar-nominated to the point that actors and agencies becoming eager to work with him again.
- Doing It for the Art: The Passion of the Christ and its marketing was funded out of his own pocket, when regular studios wouldn't touch it due to the controversy surrounding the film. Likewise, his intentionally avoiding Translation Convention in the film's dialog was technically unnecessary.
- Gorn: Common in the films he's directed, the most stand-out examples being The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto.
- Manly Tears: He has made this an art form, with Lethal Weapon and Signs being notable examples.
- Meta Casting: The Beaver almost reads like his own life, and this was certainly intentional.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: His natural Australian accent is very prominent in his early Hollywood roles (for example, the first Lethal Weapon). Although he's completely switched over to an American accent even when not acting, traces of Australia still come through.
- Papa Wolf: Typical Mel Gibson role is the Retired Badass who just wants a quiet life with his family. Then someone messes with his family...
- So My Kids Can Watch: The reason he voiced John Smith in Pocahontas.
- What Could Have Been: Gibson almost starred in a comic book film. He was offered the role of Bruce Wayne in Batman (1989) but turned it down due to scheduling issues. Another was Odin from Thor but declined the offer.