Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

SXSW: Jodie Foster Intros The Beaver, Starring "Beloved" Mel Gibson, to Upbeat Response; See Clips

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 17, 2011 at 4:24AM

Jodie Foster took Austin's Paramount stage for the Wednesday night premiere of The Beaver, a dark, moving family drama centered on Mel Gibson, who is well-cast as a tortured man in crisis. (See indieWIRE's review; here's Hollywood Wiretap's round-up).
0
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

Jodie Foster took Austin's Paramount stage for the Wednesday night premiere of The Beaver, a dark, moving family drama centered on Mel Gibson, who is well-cast as a tortured man in crisis. (See indieWIRE's review; here's Hollywood Wiretap's round-up).

Distributor Summit Entertainment put the film on the shelf for six months while they tried to ride out Gibson's crazy tabloid circus. Launching at SXSW was a smart move; the sincere drama about a mentally ill man played well with the friendly crowd and extra time in the editing room may have paid off, although Foster admits that Summit understands that the drama "is not for everyone, speaks for itself" and was never intended for a broad mainstream audience. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and rookie screenwriter Kyle Kellin joined Foster on-stage, but SXSW and Gibson's reps were never able to come to terms on the beleaguered star appearing in Austin with the film--way too risky.

Based on Kellin's Black Listed screenplay (which Foster took over after the first director passed), The Beaver is an uncompromising relationship drama about a depressed man (Gibson) who tries to save himself from suicide by speaking with a Cockney accent through a beaver hand puppet. His anxious wife (Foster) tries to cope with him and his younger son adores him, but the teenager (Yelchin) keeps his distance. Foster says she struggled to balance the parallel stories of the teen--who writes other students' papers and is smitten with the school valedictorian (Jennifer Lawrence, in a strong turn), who seeks help with her speech--and the father, who turns his toy company around while channeling the beaver side of his personality.

The process of making The Beaver was "the biggest struggle of my professional career," said Foster, who admitted that it was tough getting the comedic/dramatic tones right. And not being able to show the film for so long was arduous. This is "the first real audience" to see the film, she told the fest crowd, who applauded heartily at the film's end.

Foster described Gibson as "a miraculous gift" and with a straight face described him as "the most beloved actor in the movie business"--along with her Anna co-star Chow Yun Fat. She told THR that even while editing Beaver, she was aware that recordings of Gibson’s rants would be made public. “I knew about that,” she says. “He was upset. Then, on the last day of reshoots of Mel, it all came out.”

Foster and Gibson have been close friends since they co-starred in Maverick back in 1994. She has remained loyal throughout his ordeal. She told THR:

"God, I love that man. The performance he gave in this movie, 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.”

Stay tuned for my one-on-one interview Thursday with Foster, who flew in from the set of Carnage in Paris and has to fly back to finish the last day of filming.

Here are some clips from the movie:

[Hat Tip on clips: Collider.]

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Video, Reviews, Media, Marketing, SXSW, Drama, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Summit


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.