By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 8, 2010 at 1:48AM
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Almost as soon as Mel Gibson had tapes leaked of conversations with the mother of his child, in which threats to burn her house down were the least offensive of the many statements directed at her, one question emerged in the movie world: what would happen to the Jodie Foster-helmed "The Beaver?"
The film, the script for which had topped the 2008 Black List, stars Gibson, alongside Foster, Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence, as a family man who develops a dual personality through the titular puppet he begins to wear on his arm. The film had picked up some strong buzz, with Gibson's performance deemed likely to mark a comeback for the troubled star, and many had pegged him as a potential awards nominee. Until, of course, he lost his damn mind again, in a manner that makes his character in "The Beaver" look positively well-balanced.
Speculation has been all over the park as to the fate of the film, with recent rumors suggesting that it could go straight to DVD, while Jeff Wells recently ran with some speculation that the film may have its ending reshot to be more palatable (although the piece appears to have been pulled - it was found here, but in case it does reappear, beware of major spoilers). Most have pegged that the film would see a release sometime in 2011, and that's looking more likely -- particularly as it now has a release date somewhere in the world.
Digital Spy noticed that the film has been given a release date in the U.K., and it's surprisingly soon: it will open on February 11th, against "Black Swan," "Just Go With It," "No Strings Attached" and "Yogi Bear." It's being distributed by Icon, the British/Australian distributor founded and owned by Gibson himself -- it obviously helps if the disgraced star of your latest movie also owns the company releasing it...
U.K. releases have a habit of slipping rather more than in the U.S., so we wouldn't be surprised if the release date moved again, but it's good to see that the film will soon be able to speak for itself -- the script was very good, and the cast are excellent. Whether British audiences are able to stomach Gibson in a lead role remains to be seen, but considering that Britain has hundreds of years of colonial history involving rape, pillage and generally being unpleasant to people in foreign lands, it's not entirely surprising that Icon feel it may be a little more receptive to Gibson... We'd expect to see a trailer sometime soon, if the date holds, and we'll make sure to be at the earliest screening that we can get into.