This is what Hollywood actor Mel Gibson had to say about the 1,500 members of the Irish Defence Forces who played his army in the Oscar winning battle movie Braveheart.
As part of our series on the 20th anniversary of the film’s production in Ireland, last week we showed you what it was like for the extras on set every day. This week, we’ve got some insights from the high-profile actors from the movie themselves about the filming in Ireland as well as a now retired Colonel who was charged with taking care of the soldiers and keeping them in line.
In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Colonel Pearse McCorely said the young men who took part in the film were “really great” and came from all over the country and from a variety of different professions. “They had a difficult time – it was hard work, they were up early in the morning, working long hours and it was boring for them at times.”
You may be wondering, if they were so great, why did Gibson think they were a load of “smartasses”? McCorley explained that early on in the shooting, all the men were lined up for some shooting.
He might not have been wrong, if the interviews with some of the extras are anything to go by.
This lad is definitely our favourite:
I’m enjoying myself anyway. I’d stay here the whole time, I might leave altogether, you know, I might be Mel Gibson’s bodyguard…
Best Extras Ever
Despite their messing, several people involved in he film have commented on how well disciplined the extras were, including actor Alun Armstrong, who played the Earl of Mornat:
These must be the best extras I’ve ever worked with, they should have an award for being extras. They’re just so self-disciplined. You look at the hillside and there’s nobody there and you turn away for a couple of minutes and chat and you turn back and suddenly there are 1500 guys there, it’s just unbelievable.
Though there was just a handful of injuries on the set, there were a number of small issues that Colonel McCorley had to work through on behalf of his men.
“Initially, it was very hot and there were a few fellas who suffered from dehydration – though maybe one or two of them had decided to go out the night before,” he said. “So, we actually opened up facilities at the Curragh Rugby Club to make something available. We also started organising water to be brought out.”
There were some issues with showers and with the men being hungry during the long days of shooting but the Colonel said there were meetings every night where any issues could be brought up with the production team and they were quickly addressed.
During the filming, one cause of tension among the men was the terms of the contract as the men were led to believe they would have some weekends off but the nature of the filming meant shooting often ran over.
“It was a result of that that I marched them off the set once,” McCorley told TheJournal.ie. “I said to Mel Gibson: “Look, we’ve given you a number of times to finish this and I turned around and gave the order and 28 platoons marched off the set.'”
Mel Gibson’s mouth dropped. He couldn’t say anything.
But in hindsight, he said he can see now the immense strain the actor must have been working under during the filming, as there were rumours the initial rushes from the film were not being well received in Hollywood.
“He was under a lot of pressure,” he said. “He had invested his own money and he was producing – he was under severe strain.”
Another issue a small number of the young men had occurred on the day McCorley decided to bring his wife on the set, not knowing which scenes were being shot that day.
I was wondering why all the ladies from wardrobe were around that particular day. On my way to the set I saw seven or eight fellows lingering and I called the sergeant major and said “Get them back on set, what’s wrong with them?” He came back to me and he said “Sir they are conscientious objectors, they won’t expose their arses”. He explained to me what the scene was and I said if the didn’t want to do it that was fair enough – the majority of them did obviously.
The men who were involved were not going to let Mel Gibson get away with it so easily, however. When he decided to sit in the director’s chair for the full frontal kilt lift, the extras started shouting at him to come down and join them, which he eventually did.
“The only reason hew was in that scene is because the lads got onto him about it,” McCorley laughed.
If you’re interested in learning more, watch part two of the Defence Force’s documentary behind the scenes of the filming and look out for the noble attempt at a pyramid.
Mel’s son-in-law, blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!
The social media campaign has gone viral over the last two months to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. You may have seen your friends, relatives, coworkers as well as celebrities participate in donating and sharing videos of themselves taking on the challenge.
For more information, please visit ALSA.org to learn more about ways you may contribute to helping others who suffer from this disease, their caretakers and researchers. If you’re able to donate to their research efforts and services, please do so. Many blessings to you!
The cast of Expendables 3 sat down with ABC’s Cameron Mathison for an interview.
We guess his chair was expendable! During a Monday interview with “Good Morning America,” Mel Gibson broke his seat on while promoting his new film, “The Expendables 3.” And, no, it wasn’t out of anger.
The 58-year-old actor was talking about the arms dealer he plays in the film, Conrad Stonebanks, when he leaned back in his chair and it suddenly collapsed. Gibson stood bolt upright, along with co-star Sylvester Stallone, who then allowed the actor to use his lap as a seat.
“And I’ve lost weight, too!” Gibson quipped.
The Oscar winner did in fact change his physique for “The Expendables 3,” the third installment in the franchise about a seasoned group of buff mercenaries that includes Stallone, Antonio Banderas, Terry Crews, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes and Dolph Lundgren, among others.
Gibson told USA Today in 2013 that he worked out for months with a personal trainer three times a week for three hours each day to get in shape. He also changed his diet, substituting pasta, sugar and potatoes for green vegetables and fish.
“Some people say, ‘It’s inconceivable, how can he do that?'” Gibson said. “Well I have always had that body type to do that.”
The Aussie actor admitted that he had never worked out that much before, but that his pants had started to fit better as a result.
“It’s kind of getting rid of the middle-aged tire and sort of promoting circulation, aerobic exercise and blood flow circulation, stuff like that,” he said. “I have been working really hard at it.”
And he didn’t do it just to fit into his pants.
“I just want Sly [Stallone] to look good,” Gibson explained. “And he’s not going to look good if he’s beating up a fat old man.”
So all you chairs out there, watch your backs (and your seats)!
“It’s that rat circus out there, I’m beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I’m one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I’ve got this bronze badge that says that I’m one of the good guys.”
And so we were introduced to the ticking time bomb of fury that is Mel Gibson, at least on screen, in “Mad Max.”
Released 35 years ago this week (on April 12, 1979), George Miller’s film about a near-future cop who turns vigilante when a biker gang kills his partner and his family, made an international star out of Gibson, made Miller an A-list director, and helped put the new wave of Australian cinema on the world map. It also launched a franchise that continues to this day; next year, Miller will finally release the long-gestating “Mad Max: Fury Road,” with Tom Hardy taking over as Max.
While the original “Mad Max” has been an action favorite for decades, there are still some things you may not know about it — the sources of Miller’s inspiration, the truth behind Gibson’s oft-told audition story, the not-entirely-legal methods used to keep the budget low, or the crazy and dangerous stunts that endangered cast and crew alike. Read on to learn the truth behind “Mad Max” lore, and remember: “Speed’s just a question of money. How fast you wanna go?”
1. Before he became a film director, George Miller was an emergency room doctor. It was largely through his medical earnings that he was able to finance “Mad Max.”
2. Miller’s ER work, much of which was spent tending to car accident victims, was also one of the chief inspirations for the movie’s vehicular mayhem.
3. The main character, Max Rockatansky, is apparently named after Carl von Rokitansky, a 19th-century Viennese physician who developed the modern autopsy procedure.
4. Another inspiration was the 1975 movie “A Boy and His Dog,” starring Don Johnson as an anti-hero in a post-apocalyptic landscape marked by fierce competition over scarce resources.
5. Yet another influence was 1974’s “Stone,” an Australian movie that blended the motorcycle-gang movie with the murder mystery. Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, and Vincent Gil, who all played bikers in “Stone,” would go on to play similar roles in “Mad Max.”
How ironic is it that Hollywood studios walk on eggshells with faith-based groups hoping their religious epics like Noah do a fraction of the business Mel Gibson did with The Passion Of The Christ, while those studios continue to shun Gibson like a leper? What better way to commemorate Passion‘s 10th anniversary than journalist Allison Hope Weiner‘s examination of her relationship with Gibson and how it evolved from harsh coverage to the point where she feels strongly enough about his good qualities and recovery to urge Hollywood to consider giving him another chance. Weiner has written about Gibson for Deadline before, as well as The New York Times and other national magazines. – MF
It has been a decade since Mel Gibson made The Passion Of The Christ and watched it become the biggest-grossing independent film with $612 million in worldwide ticket sales. In the years that followed, Gibson made several comments that went public, made him seem anti-Semitic and racist. They made him persona non grata at major studios and agencies, the same ones that work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson, who essentially used his tongue as a lethal weapon. As a journalist who vilified Gibson in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly until my coverage allowed me to get to know him, I want to make the case here that it is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson. Once Hollywood’s biggest movie star whose film Braveheart won five Oscars and whose collective box office totals $3.6 billion, Gibson hasn’t been directly employed by a studio since Passion Of The Christ was released in 2004.
The Gibson I’ve come to know isn’t a man who’ll shout from the rooftops that he’s not anti-Semitic, or hold a press conference to tell media those audiotapes were released as part of a shakedown, and that he never assaulted the mother of his infant daughter. He won’t explain to people that he first got himself into a career spiral because he’s a long struggling alcoholic who fell off the wagon and spewed hateful anti-Semitic remarks to an arresting officer who was Jewish. He won’t tell you that he’s still got a lot to offer Hollywood as a filmmaker.
The fact that he won’t jump to his own defense is part of his problem, but also part of why I have grown to respect him. That is why on the occasion of this 10th anniversary of Passion, a film about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice, I propose to Hollywood that it’s time to forgive Mel Gibson. He has been in the doghouse long enough. It’s time to give the guy another chance.
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Read more at Deadline. As a fan over the last several years of Mel’s career and public controversies, I’ve read so many perspectives written by journalists and bloggers. Allison’s has written an insightful and refreshing article, not only as a journalist , but as a personal friend of Mel.
Actor Mel Gibson helped comedienne Sarah Silverman wriggle out of a $5,000 charity donation at a recent event in Los Angeles by covering the fee for her.
The Jewish funny woman reveals she was coaxed into offering up the amount after her fellow comic and co-host Jim Gaffigan readily agreed to give US$5,000 to the cause, prompting event organizers to turn to Silverman to score a similar contribution from her.
She reluctantly agreed, but jokingly claimed Gibson, who was seated in the front row, would pay off the debt for her – and she was stunned when he willingly opened up his check book.
She told US talk show host Jimmy Fallon, “It’s not that I don’t want to give, I give, I give…! Freaking Jim Gaffigan (offers up) $5,000. I wanted to kill him! He donates $5,000 and everyone’s now looking at me… They’re like, ‘Sarah Silverman?’ I’m like, ‘Ugh, $5,000…’ But then… like, a lightbulb went on over my head and I said, ‘My $5,000 will be paid for by Mel’ – and he did, he paid for it!”
Silverman jokes that Gibson’s generosity is more than enough to forgive him for his infamous 2006 outburst, when he hurled rude remarks at a Jewish police officer during an arrest for driving under the influence.
She quipped, “So hey, he threw out a couple of anti-Semitic barbs… bygones!”
Silverman did not reveal the name of the event she was referring to, but she and Gaffigan were both performers at Jason Patric’s inaugural Stand Up for Gus fundraiser earlier this month, when Gibson was among the guests in the audience. The Braveheart star donated over US$20,000 at the bash, which aimed to benefit fathers struggling to see their kids during nasty custody battles.