For those whose knowledge of Mel Gibson’s career trajectory might have waned, let me offer a brief refresher: for a time, Gibson was the Eighties beau ideal. His image was one of charming meathead, rogueish aspirant; an actor with gleaming pectorals and beaded brow, undaunted at the prospect of playing Hamlet.
Gibson, whose early years had been split between America and Australia, forged an early reputation as the loveable hero of the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon franchises, before starring in historical battlefield dramas Braveheart and The Patriot, romantic comedy What Women Want, and science fiction corn circle thriller Signs, among many others.
Perhaps the first inkling that anything might be awry was his determination to direct 2004’s The Passion of the Christ, an epic account of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, shot in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew and originally intended to screen without subtitles. The film was hugely successful at the box office, but its portrayal of Jewish characters led Gibson, a Catholic, to be accused of antisemitism.