Monday, November 29, 1999


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Mel Gibson ends his eight-year break from acting with Edge of Darkness. But there is more in store he tellsPriyanka PereiraYou return to acting after eight years with Edge of Darkness. On the sets, did it take a while to sink in?Yes, it did take a while to sink in. And I was nervous initially. I think it is natural to be nervous. Director Martin Campbell asked me to cool my nerves a bit. Not that I had forgotten all my acting skills. Acting has been my first love. And when you do something for 30 years, you don't forget it just because you've been off it for a bit. But the initial rush of thoughts was there.After wearing many hats, why did you decide to take up acting again?Well, I walked away from acting because I just felt I was stale and it wasn't ringing my bells. So I focused on directing and writing and producing and all that kind of stuff, and then it was time to come back. I got the acting bug back because I felt like, all of a sudden, after all these years that I might have something to offer again. That coincided with a very good piece of material. This was the best thing that I saw.What attracted you to the character in Edge of Darkness?Edge of Darkness has an intriguing story. A father loses his daughter and goes on a journey of discovery not only to find out who killed her and why, but also who she really was. He's someone who loved his daughter, and thought he understood her, but what he discovers is that she was involved in a whole way of life that he knew nothing about. Also, expressing the stillness of Thomas Craven's character on screen was a challenge for me. Stillness has always been a stranger to me, and he's very still. I tried to really rein myself in — not pull too many faces or make too many movements — because he's a very introverted man.Have you watched the BBC miniseries based on this?I watched the miniseries back in the '80s avidly, and it was some of the best TV I'd ever seen. And in British television at that time it was great. But I made a point to not watch Edge of Darkness. Martin wanted to treat this movie as a completely different creative rendition. So I didn't really refer to the miniseries as a part of my preparation for Thomas Craven' character.You have been on the edge many times in your career. Does this make you a stronger person?Well, success and failure is a part and parcel of life. One has to bear the fruits of both. Eventually, films are like scientific experiments. Sometimes the results are in your favour and sometimes not. I would rather use failures as a stepping stone to success. One has to treat failures as experiences and learn from them. So yes, I am a stronger person today.Are you willing to take up more acting assignments?Yes. If I get challenging roles to play, I am willing to take up more acting assignments.Does the director in you help you enhance your performance better?Definitely. Direction has added a new dimension to my acting profession. As an actor, you go by what your director says. It takes you a while to get into the skin of the character. Having directed a few movies, I am now able to get a better and quicker understanding of my character in a movie, because now I can think from director's point of view.Is there something you still want to accomplish?Right now, I am focussing on Viking movie and The Beaver and enjoying this phase of my career. I believe in taking life as it comes. The moment I get bored, I will try my hand at something new.UP NEXTThe Oscar-winning director talks about his two upcoming projectsThe Beaver:This film is about a man who's clinically depressed and the way that he, somehow or the other finds himself with a ratty beaver hand puppet on his arm. He can't even kill himself properly but he ends up with a beaver puppet talking and he manages to kind of save himself and his life and his family and everything by expressing himself through this hand puppet because that's all he can do. He's too far gone, he's too broken.The Viking movie:With this untitled film, we want to scare people out of their wits. If the movie is really dealing with the 9th century Viking raids, then the Vikings will speak Old Norse. If the film decides to deal with them raiding and pillaging England or Ireland, then all their victims can speak Old and Gaelic just to make things extra interesting. As translating Old English was the last thing I did before fleeing for cinematic lands, this thrills me to no end. So an entire costumed film set to the language would be like having a time machine. I can't wait.

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