< Back to In the News

Warm Welcome at Cannes for Gibson's 'The Beaver'


By Nick Vinocur | Reuters – Tue, 17 May, 2011   CANNES, France (Reuters) - Jodie Foster's wry look at depression and therapy in "The Beaver" got a warm reception at the Cannes film festival Tuesday, hinting at a possible second life in Europe after it flopped with U.S. audiences.   The film, which stars Mel Gibson in his first major role after a series of scandals tainted his reputation in Hollywood, fell flat on its opening weekend in the United States with ticket sales of just over $100,000.   But an audience of critics at Cannes, where introspective or psychological movies often go down better than elsewhere, laughed loudly several times during a screening and applauded at the end, with one spectator even whooping in delight.   The Beaver, which is not in competition for the Palme d'Or prize for best picture, shifts between comedy and drama as it follows Gibson's character -- a CEO crippled by depression -- through a radical therapy to regain his mental health.   Using a beaver with a British cockney accent as a ventriloquist's hand-puppet, Gibson's character completes a radical about-face in terms of mental health as he revamps his toy company, renews ties with his wife and starts his life anew.   Director Foster defended Gibson as an actor and professional, making light of his personal problems after recordings surfaced of him making an anti-Semitic rant and yelling at his ex-wife.   "He's an outstanding actor: he can do the humorous side and the dark side," said Foster, 48, who has directed four movies including The Beaver. "Most of all he understands that characters struggle... He is somebody who wants to change, who doesn't want to be himself -- that is part of Mel."   Asked what it was like to direct Gibson, whose private life was in turmoil during the shooting, Foster described him as "the least neurotic actor" she had ever worked with and someone willing to reveal himself on-screen.   In the movie, Gibson's character starts out in the depths of clinical depression, drinking himself into a stupor before he tries to hang himself from a shower curtain rod and crashes into the bathtub, wrapped in the curtain.   With its dark subject matter and wry sense of humor, the movie failed to find an audience in the United States, but its producer Keith Redmon said he still held out hope for success in DVD sales and other venues.   "It's not just about the box office -- there are many ways to recoup a film," he said. "We know it will be an issue of time rather than just the first weekend."   Foster skirted the question of money altogether. "I've learned ... that if you gauge your self-worth at the box office, you will be a very sorry person," she said.   http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/17/us-cannes-gibson-idUSTRE74G3HR20110517

Press Contact


All interview and appearance requests, or other press inquires, should be directed to our Communications team.

Find a Press Contact

Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 40 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 80 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 56 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.