Gibson versus Tyson? Is Hollywood hypocrisy in casting criminal?
News came just yesterday that Mel Gibson was to start his return to the big screen in a cameo role in The Hangover 2. It sounded an appropriate return. Then something happened. The cast and crew apparently complained about his appearance in the film and refused to act next to him, and he was taken out of the film and replaced with Liam Neeson.
What a bizarre action. In a film where the cast and crew are more than happy appearing next to a convicted rapist, they won't stand next to Mel Gibson.
It highlighted the strange reaction of Hollywood to stars who have been accused and convicted of crimes, some repeatedly, a few seriously. It seems there's almost a level of hypocrisy with regards celebrity and the law, and no standards from actor to actress.
It's strange behaviour when you look at some of the big name stars who have committed crimes and still worked.
”I thought Mel would have been great in the movie...But I realise film-making is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew.”
It seems he wasn't alone, Jeff Robinov, the president of Warner Bros., was also keen for Mel Gibson to star. However some of the cast and crew seem not to have been keen, and I wonder who has those double standards.
I think for me though it's the comparison, and indeed hypocrisy, between The Hangover and The Hangover 2. In The Hangover we saw the cast and crew working next to Mike Tyson, a man who has a very chequered past with drink, drugs, assault, rape all appearing on his criminal record, a man who has had chance after chance, and his appearance in the film has been cited with hugely helping his professional and public profile and turning it to the positive.
Isn't that rather hypocritical? In Mel Gibson's private life he's had problems with drink, there's the famous racist comment he made to the police while under the influence which he apologised for when he was sober:
”I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse.”
Then there were the audio recordings of him ranting at his ex-girlfriend, recordings I'm sure he didn't record and release to the press, but someone obviously did for a lot of money and dubious motives. However let's ignore that point and fit this into a nicer black and white case.
So problems with alcohol, driving under the influence, a racist comment while drunk to the police which he apologised for when sober, and angry and aggressive comments to his ex-girlfriend on a private phone conversation.
Yet there's Mike Tyson with a history of claims, charges and a few convictions for various offences from drugs to assault to sexual assault. Now he has served time for convictions, but comparing the two lists you have to wonder why Tyson appeared in The Hangover and Mel Gibson isn't in The Hangover 2. They hardly stack up against each other.
Am I missing something here? Comparing the problems the two have had in their private lives, and regular Filmstalker readers will know this something I hate to do normally, it seems that there's no comparison, and yet the decision for casting in The Hangover seems to be against that made for The Hangover 2.
Of course it's easy to pull in some other stars who have a single, or multiple cases of driving under the influence in their career. With some there are drugs, breaking probation rules, in a few possession of firearms as well. There are a lot of stars who have been guilty of these, have compromised their performances in films, and still come back from it all to the welcome arms of Hollywood and audiences.
Robert Downey Jr. is perhaps the best example of the above, and talking of drink and drugs there are names such as Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Reed, Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte and Michelle Rodriguez that have experience of clashing with the law over one or both, and while some have been just once, others have been a number of times. All have come back and been welcomed by Hollywood.
Look at that, I haven't even mentioned Lindsay Lohan who has continually been caught driving under the influence with drink and drugs, possession, breaking probation, been in prison, and has recently broken probation again, and is still being courted in Hollywood.
Stack all that against Mel Gibson's personal life and I really have to wonder why the cast and crew allegedly said they wouldn't work with him for a small cameo. Tyson yes, Gibson no.