Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage
If Mel Gibson feels any shame about his latest expletive-laden rant, he's certainly hiding it well. During a visit to The Tonight Show on Friday, the tantrum-prone actor joked about the recording that hit the Internet last week, which contains two-and-a-half minutes of Mel screaming at screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. And as far as Gibson is concerned, Eszterhas is the one who should be ashamed. Watch the interview below!
"You know, I love coming to The Tonight Show because when I get here and you tape me, you let me know you're going to do that up front!" Gibson blurted to Jay Leno when he came on stage.
Though he was there to promote his new direct-to-on-demand action film Get the Gringo, Gibson welcomed the opportunity to tell his side of the angry-tirade story. (Eszterhas told the press that Gibson paid him for a screenplay which he never intended to make, and terrified his family with threats of violence throughout the writing process.)
"You know, guy tapes you in the privacy of your own home -- have we really come to the place where you can't let off steam in your own home? Even if you're justified?" Gibson asked Leno.
The Passion of the Christ director said that his anger was "justified" because Eszterhas spent 14 months writing a terrible screenplay. As he explained it to Leno: "It's kind of like you build a house, you hire a guy to put a roof on it. He comes over and talks about the roof and then you get rained on all night. Wouldn't you be kind of peeved?"
Okay, fine, but he didn't sound "kind of peeved" on the tape; he sounded like a raging lunatic. Still, Gibson was unapologetic.
"You know, maybe you don't know this about me -- I've got a little bit of a temper," he deadpanned to Leno, adding a sarcastic "Sorry!"
By the time Mel was through, the studio audience was actually cheering for him. His strategy -- to make a big joke out of a PR disaster -- seems to be working beautifully. Even so, there's something a little disturbing in the way Gibson is addressing the controversy. He keeps harping on how his right to privacy has been violated, which may be true. But Joe Eszterhas says that he let the recording go public as a wake-up call to Gibson -- because he's afraid that the anger-prone star is going to hurt himself or someone else.
"My interest isn't to damage him with this tape but to prevent damage being done to others, starting with Jews, including Oksana (Grigorieva) and now, I'm sure, me," the screenwriter told The Wrap. "I strongly believe that unless he seeks and receives some kind of psychiatric help, someone is going to get hurt."
The part about Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana is noteworthy, because she's the one who first exposed Gibson's frightening rants to the world via leaked tapes during their 2010 custody battle. According to Eszterhas, Gibson frequently talks about how he wants Grigorieva dead, and openly admitted to physically abusing her during their relationship. Gibson says that the screenwriter made it all up, and we have no way of knowing who's telling the truth.
But even if Eszterhas is lying -- are these the kind of accusations Gibson should be joking about? There's something very wrong with a guy who can scream at the top of his lungs at a houseguest for two-and-a-half minutes and be completely unapologetic about it afterwards. If he's also a guy who frequently fantasizes about killing women and converting the world's Jews to Christianity, as Eszterhas claims, then it's really no laughing matter at all.