Mel Gibson takes aim at a comeback
Is Mel Gibson still a movie star? For two decades, his films routinely grossed over $100 million and he was one of Hollywood’s go-to guys for action, comedy, and drama. But ever since 2002’s Signs, which earned more than $200 million, the actor has been better known for his controversial — albeit successful — directing efforts (The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto) and his controversial offscreen antics (a drunken anti-Semitic tirade, a messy split from his wife of 28 years). Edge of Darkness, opening Jan. 29, marks Gibson’s first leading-man role in eight years. Now, with all the tabloid baggage, can the 54-year-old open a movie? ”I don’t think anybody would have gotten involved if they had any doubts about Mel Gibson being a great actor and a movie star,” the film’s producer/financier Graham King tells EW. ”This wasn’t a cheap movie. It’s not like we tried something small to test the waters.” In fact, this $80 million production (an adaptation of a popular BBC miniseries) returns Gibson to the well-worn revenge drama territory that he mined so effectively in both Ransom and the Lethal Weapon franchise. ”It’s a role people love to see him in,” Sue Kroll, president of marketing at Warner Bros., says of Gibson’s character in Darkness. ”He’s a gritty, volcanic badass.” And this time, it’s scripted.
— Nicole Sperling
What’s next for FlashForward?
Is John Cho‘s Demetri Noh going to die on ABC’s FlashForward? Cho won’t dish on the show’s March 18 return, though he did promise that Demetri’s relationship with partner Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) will be on thin ice now that we know it’s Mark’s gun that shoots him in his flash-forward. ”[Benford] may not be allowed to continue in his position,” teases Cho. ”We started out so tight, and things are unraveling.” Unfortunately, you could say the same thing about the freshman drama, which lost 43 percent of its viewers (12.5 million to 7 million) before its December hiatus.
Networks snub Avatar
Titanic drew a whopping 17 million viewers when it debuted on NBC in 2000, but don’t think the Peacock or its broadcast competitors are clamoring to air James Cameron‘s latest blockbuster. It was FX (yes, FX) that stepped up to pay a reported $24 million for the privilege of airing Avatar in mid-2012. FX has also snagged New Moon, Star Trek, and Monsters vs. Aliens — not that the broadcast nets seem to care. ”With pay-per-view and DVDs so available, anyone who really wants to see a movie has seen it before it gets to us,” explains one high-ranking suit. ”Theatricals are not events for the networks anymore.”
— Lynette Rice (additional reporting by Carrie O’Brien)