March 17th, 2011
12:54 PM ET
Mel Gibson has been at the center of a firestorm for months now, recently pleading "no contest" to a misdemeanor battery charge, but he does have a shoulder to lean on thanks to his “Beaver” co-star Jodie Foster.
The actress and director defended an embattled Gibson at "The Beaver’s” SXSW premiere, telling CNN, "I feel incredibly grateful to have Mel Gibson's performance in this film. I wouldn't have changed anything... All sorts of stuff happened, but I don't regret anything."
The movie centers on Walter Black (Gibson), "a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression" and turns to a beaver puppet to help him communicate and get his life back on track.
Foster added to the Hollywood Reporter at the premiere that, “If anything, I think anybody who comes to see the film and understands Mel's extraordinary performance in the movie can't go away untouched by his humanity."
It’s a side of the actor that Foster’s come to know well, she says in an interview with the magazine, on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles today.
“He’s so incredibly loving and sensitive, he really is,” she says.“He is the most loved actor I have ever worked with on a movie. And he’s not saintly, and he’s got a big mouth, and he’ll do gross things your nephew would do. But I knew the minute I met him that I would love him the rest of my life.”
She reiterated that affection in the interview, saying, “God, I love that man…The performance he gave in [‘The Beaver’], I will always be grateful for. He brought a lifetime of pain to the character that we’ve been talking about for years, that I knew was part of his psyche and who he is. It’s part of him that is beautiful and that I want people to know, too. I can’t ever regret that.”
Foster, who said Gibson talked to her about his relationship with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva before it hit the press, adds that she knows the actor “in a very complex way.”
To her, “He’s a real person; he’s not a cardboard cutout,” she tells THR. “I know that he has troubles, and when you love somebody you don’t just walk away from them when they are struggling.”
"The Beaver" is scheduled to open in limited release on May 6, before going wide on May 20.
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