Mel Gibson Joins Machete Sequel, Continues Incredible Non-Complete-Ostracism Streak

Well, this is remarkable: Deadline is reporting that former-movie-star/current-crazy-person Mel Gibson has been offered a role in Machete Kills, Robert Rodriguez’s sequel to the 2010 Danny Trejo vehicle Machete. What’s so remarkable about that, you ask? Who cares if Gibson gets a glorified cameo in a schlocky B-movie satire that originated in a fake trailer, you wonder? Didn’t Rodriguez put Lindsay Lohan in the first one, you point out? Yeah, cool, sure, good points, buddy. What’s remarkable is that once again Mel Gibson has landed work in the aftermath of having done something insane.

The latest bounty for the overflowing “reasons to fear/hate Mel Gibson” pile came to us via Joe Eszterhas, the screenwriter with whom Mel was collaborating on his Maccabees project. When the movie was announced, it was partially presumed that Gibson was taking on the story of the Jewish heroes as an unspoken penance. According to Eszterhas, at least, that’s exactly true: Earlier this month, Joe released a letter to Gibson in which he writes that “I’ve come to the conclusion that you never had, or have, any intention of making a movie about the Maccabees. I believed you announced the project with great fanfare — ‘a Jewish Braveheart’ — in an attempt to deflect continuing charges of anti-semitism.” Eszterhas goes on to catalog a long, bewildering series of Gibson antics: emotional, screaming breakdowns at vacation homes, destruction of his own property, and all manner of, yep, anti-Semitism.

Never doubt the archaic level of this man’s paranoia: “You said that Pope Paul VI wore an ephod, the symbol of the Jewish high priesthood, once worn by Caiphas, the high priest at the time Jesus was crucified. You said that a ‘liberal Jewish conspiracy’ was responsible for the death of Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani, a conspiracy which your father Hutton told me was completed when a cardinal sat on the Pope’s face.” Also: “You said the Holocaust was ‘mostly a load of horseshit.'”

There’s no shortage of reasons to question Eszterhas’s motivation here. As Gibson himself put it in a response letter, “I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script.” Then again: Maybe Joe wanted to get paid, so he put up with Mel until there wasn’t a chance he’d get paid. And it’s not particularly difficult to imagine that what Eszterhas is saying has truth to it considering Gibson’s past and the fact that the allegations now come with recorded audio. (Gibson is considering suing Eszterhas over the recordings.)

People have been declaring the death of the man’s career since that whole “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” thing. But somehow, someway Gibson keeps on ticking. It’s not like the jobs are just pouring in: His next project is Get Him to the Gringo, a movie he had to produce and finance himself, and which won’t be seen in theaters. But that he’s still got enough pals to get work regularly makes you wonder — exactly what would be required out of Mel to get him ostracized for good?

Filed Under: Mel Gibson, Movies

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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