* Gibson said his acting had gone "a bit stale"
* Returns to action genre with "Edge of Darkness"
* Believed he "might have something to offer again"
By Iain Blair
LOS ANGELES, Jan 27 Eight years have passed
since Mel Gibson starred in a major Hollywood movie, but not
because of his well-publicized personal problems. Rather, he
said he grew bored with the career that made him a star.
Gibson returns to theaters on Friday in revenge movie "Edge
of Darkness," after being re-energized, he said, and feeling he
had something to offer audiences once again.
"I was a bit stale. I was just tired and bored with it,"
Gibson told reporters recently, about the period immediately
following 2002's "Signs," a tale of aliens invading Earth.
In the interim, the Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart"
directed box office smash "The Passion of the Christ" and
another hit, "Apocalypto." He also produced and directed
episodes of television series "Complete Savages."
But his personal problems brought him wider attention,
perhaps, than his work. A drunk driving charge and anti-Semitic
comments to the arresting officer in 2006 made headlines
worldwide. Gibson publicly apologized and sought counseling.
More recently, his breakup with his wife, a new girlfriend
and a new child put him on the covers of gossip magazines.
But the major box office draw in the 1980s and 1990s
remains popular among moviegoers, and in "Edge of Darkness" he
returns to the action movie genre that he perfected in hits
such as "Mad Max," "Ransom," "Payback" and the "Lethal Weapon"
MURDER & INTRIGUE
Based on the BBC miniseries of the same name and directed
by Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale"), "Edge of Darkness" has
Gibson playing Thomas Craven, a Boston homicide detective and a
single father whose only child, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), is
killed on the steps of his home, right in front of him.
Craven's investigation into his 24-year-old daughter's
murder and the secret life she led, takes him into a shadowy
world of corporate cover-ups and government collusion.
Gibson happily admits to being drawn to characters who've
lost a family member and are fighting for justice. "It's an old
theme and it's a part of most hero myths. Something sets the
spheres wrong, and someone has to right it," he said.
Gibson returned to acting because he thought: "I might have
something to offer again" and he believed the story in "Edge of
Darkness" was a good one to tell. He never made a public
pronouncement about retiring or walking away from acting
because, he said, "I just thought I'd back away for awhile."
Now he has returned with a sort of acting vengeance.
He next stars in dark comedy "The Beaver," directed by Jodi
Foster and set for 2010, about a man who is depressed until
being given a hand puppet that helps him deal with life.
Gibson then will take on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation,"
about an American stuck in a Mexican prison, expected in 2011.
But Gibson seems most excited about making a long-cherished
tale of Vikings, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was the first
idea he ever had about making a film, when he was just 16.
"I do like history," he said. "I like trying to imagine
what it was like, especially when we don't have a clear picture
of what it was, maybe romanticize it, make it compelling for
film, and maybe even push it a little over the top."
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Cynthia Osterman)