By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 17, 2011 at 8:51AM
In the breathless viral tabloid culture we live in, there is much to be said for the not-yet-lost art of the carefully reported story-of-record. Mel Gibson's lawyers cooperated with the LATimes on this exhaustively researched front-page story about how his lengthy negotiations with model Oksana Grigorieva, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his youngest child, broke down and led to the release of the rant tapes that dealt further setbacks to Gibson's standing in Hollywood.
While Gibson clearly has issues related to alcohol abuse, not to mention his extreme behavior when he is angry, the back-and-forth between the estranged couple and their lawyers, also involving texting, is fascinating. It reveals how far out of the realm of reasonable reality some people will go when millions are involved. Here's a snippet:
The attorney Gibson's side consulted agreed that the actor was being extorted but warned that if he pressed charges, the tapes would become public — probably within days, the source said. From a public-relations standpoint, the timing couldn't have been worse. Gibson was trying to reclaim a place in Hollywood. He had a movie — "Edge of Darkness" — in theaters, had just finished a film with Jodie Foster and was in talks to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in a Viking epic. Tapes of him enraged and hurling racial epithets would ruin any chance of a comeback. His camp decided to pay, the source said.
Gibson's old friend, director Jodie Foster, who has loyally stood by him, will unveil their long-shelved drama The Beaver at the SXSW Film Fest in Austin, Texas this March. Will Gibson show? His rep says he does not yet know.
Along similar lines of unbelievable tales of Hollywood, check out this Vanity Fair story about high-living Tonight Show producer Freddy DeCordova, his spendthrift wife and devoted housekeeper.