- - Thursday, March 17, 2011

Loves Mel

“[Jodie Foster] adds: ‘I know [Mel Gibson] in a very complex way. He’s a real person; he’s not a cardboard cutout. I know that he has troubles, and when you love somebody you don’t just walk away from them when they are struggling.’ Foster and Gibson — the yin and yang of American pop culture, its moral avatar and current nemesis — have been close friends since they met on 1994’s ‘Maverick.’

“Before Gibson’s relationship with Oksana Grigorieva exploded in the public eye, he confided in Foster. ‘We talked about it all the way through, about what was going on in his life,’ she says. ‘I don’t think he told me until it was something he couldn’t handle by himself.’ Even while editing ‘Beaver,’ Foster was aware that recordings of Gibson’s rants would be made public. ‘I knew about that,’ she says. ‘He was upset. Then, on the last day of reshoots of Mel, it all came out.’ She pauses, and this exceptionally intelligent, highly controlled woman has tears in her eyes. ‘God, I love that man,’ Foster says.

Stephen Galloway, writing on “Jodie Foster on Mel Gibson: ‘I Knew the Minute I Met Him, I Would Love Him’ Forever,” on March 16 at the Hollywood Reporter

Other plans

“Darren Aronofsky has bailed on ‘The Wolverine.’ The director regrets that he won’t finish the X-Man film he’s been working on with star Hugh Jackman and writer Christopher McQuarrie, but production circumstances are such that Aronofsky would be away from the United States longer than he would like.

“In a joint statement to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox indicated support for Aronofsky’s decision — which we’re certain had nothing to do with his being a lauded auteur indie filmmaker with an Oscar-winning ballet movie under his belt and big hairy X-Man staring him in the face — and confirmed that a new director is being sought to work with Jackman and the existing script. …

“The news of Aronofsky’s departure is not particularly surprising. The director of ‘Requiem for a Dream’ and ‘The Wrestler’ taking on Marvel’s biggest mutant icon always inspired a mix of excitement and incredulity, and one has to wonder how much the filmmaker’s recent ‘Black Swan’ success made him rethink the prospect of dealing with a multi-million-dollar superhero franchise and all the headaches that come with it (like some snarky jerk on the Web second-guessing his every move).”

Andy Khouri, writing on “Director Darren Aronofsky Quits ‘The Wolverine’ Film,” on March 17 at Comics Alliance

Survive the vote

“Buoyed by a smart new rule and sharpened by format changes that keep the focus on strategy, CBS’ durable ‘Survivor’ … is reminding me of the early, glory days when it seemed that anyone with a TV set was hanging on every overwrought second. Of all the unscripted series on TV — including its equally engaging CBS sister series “The Amazing Race” — this is the only one that transcends its own format and attains a weird kind of mythic resonance. It’s not just a silly, suspenseful game show set in the jungle; it’s a study in situational ethics and a showcase for the human personality in all its tangled, self-justifying quirkiness.

“The latest wrinkle is announced in the title of this season: ‘Survivor: Redemption Island.’ The ‘island’ is actually an arena where people voted out of the main competition go up against other expelled tribe members in one-on-one competitions. Whoever survives those secondary challenges eventually returns to the main competition, invigorated by victory and (presumably) looking for payback against the people who voted them out.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, writing on “‘Survivor’ redeems itself,” on March 17 at Salon