In his new memoir, TV/movie icon James Garner remembers making the 1994 movie Maverick with the esteemed Mel Gibson.
“Mel and I got along fine.
“I didn’t know that he hates Jews and everybody else.
“I didn’t know he was drinking either, because he hid it pretty good.
“But when I came on the set, I thought, What are these people doing?
“Mel didn’t know his dialogue and we had to improvise a lot.
“He wouldn’t rehearse, either.
“He was just running off at the mouth on camera.
“When we got through with it,” concludes Garner, “I’m sure [writer] William Goldman didn’t recognize his movie.”
Garner talks about how he and co-star Jodie Foster would look at each other on the set in abject confusion, then be forced to dive into the madness themselves.
But I guess co-star Jodie didn’t hold a grudge since she went on to direct mouthy Mel in The Beaver!
By the way, Garner also cites Bruce Willis as someone who ad-libbed his way through a movie (Sunset) and didn’t take his work seriously.
But “I’ve heard he’s changed since then, and if so, more power to him.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 27, 2011