Jodie Foster Shooed Mel Gibson Away From 'Beaver' Premiere; Missed Opportunity?
By Rob Shuter Posted Mar 17th 2011 09:10AM
Mel Gibson was noticeably absent from the South by Southwest Film Festival last night when 'The Beaver,' his long-delayed dark comedy directed by friend Jodie Foster, premiered to an excited audience. While Jodie was singing his praises on the red carpet, Mel took the evening off to get booked in his criminal battery case, but I'm told that even if he wasn't doing some housekeeping, the film's top brass didn't want the guy there.
"Having him attend was just going to be too big of a risk. He could have gotten booed on the red carpet before the film even began," an insider tells me. "Everyone including Jodie decided it would be better if Mel didn't attend."
I'm told Jodie and the film's producers were jittery about the prospect of the audience heckling the sight of Mel appearing on the screen, though that turned out to be silliness because by all accounts, festival-goers loved the flick.
"Jodie got up and introduced the film and got a huge round of applause, but that didn't mean the film executives were not sweating what would happen the first time Mel came on screen."
The beloved actress-director flew into Austin for the screening and to answer questions after the film, where it was very obvious to everyone attending that everyone was nervous. Fortunately for them, no one booed, and now there's rampant second-guessing going on as to whether they missed an opportunity to give Mel a brief morale boost after months of (deservedly) horrid press.
Jodie did do her best to prop her friend up and was asked some very direct questions following the screening, including if the delay in the film's release was because of Mel's recent troubles.
"I was very lucky to work with him (Mel) and have him as part of the movie," Jodie answered. "No regrets at all having him in the movie."
Let's see if the public outside the insiders attending the festival are as forgiving.
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