Mel Gibson’s Ex-Friend: ‘Please Get Some Help’
By Alan Duke, CNN
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Joe Eszterhas sent a message to his former friend Mel Gibson Wednesday: “Please get some help before someone is hurt, because someone will be hurt.”
The screenwriter’s plea to the actor-director came during a CNN interview about the book “Heaven and Mel,” which Eszterhas wrote about his turbulent relationship with Gibson.
“This is a very human story much broader than Mel,” although Gibson is center stage, Eszterhas said.
Readers also learn about Jewish hero Judah Maccabee, the subject of his planned movie project with Gibson, as well as what Gibson and Eszterhas learned from their fathers, he said.
The portrait of Gibson is not all dark. “In terms of the depiction of the man, there are some very amusing things in it,” Eszterhas said.
He and his wife spent many nights at Gibson’s Malibu, California, home discussing religion and planning how to tell the Maccabee story. It was in December, when they took their 15-year-old son with them to spend time with Gibson at his home in Costa Rica, that their friendship ended.
The book’s charge that Gibson engaged in anti-Semitic rants and hate-filled diatribes, including threats to kill his ex-girlfriend, were previously reported after a letter Eszterhas sent Gibson was made public in April.
The media attention intensified when Eszterhas released an expletive-filled audio recording that he said captured Gibson’s rage during the trip to Costa Rica.
Gibson called the charges a “fabrication” and he declined to respond “line by line.” He suggested Eszterhas was upset because he rejected his screenplay about Maccabee.
He joked about the recording in a “Tonight Show” appearance, telling Jay Leno that perhaps Leno was unaware, “but I’ve got a little bit of a temper.”
Eszterhas said it’s no joke, especially considering Gibson’s threats of violence against Oksana Grigorieva, Gibson’s former girlfriend and mother of his 3-year-old daughter.
“One of the reasons I wrote it, one of the reasons I included those parts, is that I thought that by writing it would extend a kind of protective corridor around her,” Eszterhas said. “I think that’s necessary, because I truly feel there is a potential for great tragedy.”
Eszterhas said he is getting online death threats from people he suspects are Gibson fans. “I’ve had to ask our local police department to pay special attention to my family’s safety,” he said.
Gibson’s representative did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment about the latest claims by Eszterhas.
The 35,000 words, published by Amazon as a Kindle book, include an apology note Gibson wrote to Eszterhas and his wife the morning after the recorded incident:
“Sorry for my outburst. I have a vast reservoir of rage-filled pus that from time to time spills out. Ultimately, sometimes even on those I love. Please forgive it — it was wrong of me — Mel.
“Also, since the devil seems to afflict me through anger and my tongue, I won’t say much for awhile. Please don’t take this for anything more than me just trying to cope.”
It was an apology that was not accepted by Eszterhas, who has not spoken to Gibson again.
During the CNN interview, however, he said he had a message for Gibson.
“Please get some help before someone is hurt, because someone will be hurt,” he said. “Please stop saying these vile things that you’ve said to me and to others about Jewish people. You are a worldwide figure and your responsibility is to work against exactly the kind of hate that you’re advocating.”
Before his blowup with Gibson, Eszterhas, 68, was known for writing movie scripts, including “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls.” He’s not concerned that his reputation has suffered because of the recent controversy, he said.
“I am proud of what I have done and let the chips fall where they may,” he said.