- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Jodie Foster premiered the quirky but dark movie “The Beaver” at the South by Southwest Film Festival, saying she’s grateful for the performance by troubled actor and friend Mel Gibson.

The film follows a depressed toy company executive who picks up a hand puppet beaver and uses it to separate himself from the negative aspects of his personality that are destroying his family and career. Foster directed and plays Gibson’s wife.

Gibson recently was sentenced to 36 months of probation and ordered to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling after pleading contest to a charge of spousal battery. He did not attend Wednesday night’s premiere in Austin, Texas.

Foster says Gibson has a deep, struggling soul and perfectly understood his role in the film.

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