By Ray Bennett
LONDON – I’ve spent time with Mel Gibson, who turns 65 today, and always found him to be genial, open and likeable even though he gave me a clue about his demons in an interview in 1984. It’s a shame they got the better of him as he is a good actor and a formidable filmmaker (‘Braveheart’, ‘Apocalypto’).
He had been in Toronto shooting ‘Mrs. Soffel’ with Diane Keaton but we couldn’t sort out a time for me to see him so it ended up a phone interview. He was riding high after ‘The Road Warrior’, ‘Gallipoli’ and ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’ and besides ‘Mrs. Soffel’ he had ‘The Bounty’ with Anthony Hopkins and ‘The River’ with Sissy Spacek due for release. He was friendly and relaxed on the phone until I asked him what he thought of Canada. He said he liked Toronto because it reminded him of Melbourne.
‘The only thing I don’t like about Canada is Bell Canada, the phone company,’ he said ‘They want you to pay the bills before they send you the bill. And if you don’t pay it, they cut you off. Do you believe that bunch of cretins? Unbelievable. They’re mobsters. I even paid my bill and then got cut off, which is doubly distressing. After a little session with them you just want to buy a machine gun and go in there and blast them all. I mean, I wouldn’t do that but I just … you know … they make me so angry.’
I asked if he’d ever had to overcome any particular obstacle in his life. He said, ‘Ha. Well, you have to overcome certain things, everybody does, don’t they?’
‘No, nothing really springs to mind like that. I mean, do you want me to make something up? I had a problem with the bottle.’
‘Now,’ I said, ‘I don’t know if you made that up or not. Did you?