Actor Mel Gibson discussed suffering, pride, and redemption in a recent interview while promoting his upcoming film Father Stu. After discussing these subjects he was asked to weigh in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock and abruptly ended the interview.
Gibson made an appearance on Jesse Waters Primetime to promote Father Stu, a film based on the real life of Father Stuart Long. Father Long is portrayed by Mark Wahlberg while Gibson plays his father.
The movie sees Long’s amateur boxing career come to an end following an injury, he decides to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, and ends up becoming a grocery store clerk. While working at the grocery story he begins to court a woman named Carmen who happens to be a Catholic Sunday school teacher. In order to win her heart, he begins changing his own life and attending Mass regularly with her.
However, he is involved in a motorcycle accident and comes to the realization he should be a Catholic priest. He follows this vocation despite skepticism from Church officials and his parents and inspires those along his journey despite a crippling medical condition that eventually claims his life.
The interview begins with Waters describing the film saying, “Tell me if I have it right. That this is all about suffering and people suffer have a choice. They can either be angry or they can be grateful. And if they are grateful they can receive God’s grace. And that is what life is all about. Did I get it?”
Gibson answers, “I think that’s one of the main themes. There are other things, of course. But that’s pretty good. Yup, I’ll go with that.”
— Jesse Watters Primetime (@jesseprimetime) April 1, 2022
Watters then says, “Tell me about suffering because that seems to be that everybody goes through, you, me, the American people. How do we process that?”
“Everybody’s got a boulder, man,” replied Gibson. “And everybody’s got to drag something around. And of course something is going to come by and knock you down at some point in your life, now, later.”
“And how do you stand up from that? How do you not only stand up, but find the purpose in that? There’s a purpose for all this. So, it’s looking for that purpose. I think if we are too self-involved, if your head’s too big, put it that way, it’s an easier target to get hit,” he continued.
“And if your ego is not that healthy, if you actually realize that there’s something greater than you, and find a little bit of humility you’re not going to get hit has hard even if you do get hit because you are going to realize there is a purpose in it. And you are not the most important thing in the world and that there’s a way to deal with that stuff, and almost be grateful for it,” Gibson explained.
He then went on to detail another theme in the film, “One of the other themes that I think was in it was ‘it’s never too late to fix stuff.’ If there’s something you missed. I’ve got 9 kids and I haven’t been a perfect parent.
“I have realized on a few occasions you can go back and fix stuff if you messed up on the first time around,” Gibson elaborated.
Waters would then ask, “Do you feel that when you do find that true love it is almost the same as finding God in the way that you submit and just open yourself up completely to that person?”
Gibson responded, “Well, of course. A real healthy faith comes from complete abandonment of self, which is very difficult for most of us. Some of us hang on. I don’t know if I’ve ever achieved that complete abandonment, maybe a few times in my life.
“Mr. Ego is always waiting there. I call him Bjorn,” he said. “He’s face down in a pit in the backyard and I always got to shovel a spoon full of dirt on him now and then just to keep him down there or he’ll get up and start wreaking havoc again. And then I’ll be Bjorn again.”
Next, Waters asked, “Do you think the American people are very caught up in ego? The way that most people throughout the world aren’t. We are fixated on ourselves and just not really looking out for the rest of the country. We’re all just wrapped up what’s going on in our own lives. Do you feel that way?”
“That’s endemic to the entire world,” said Gibson. “It’s not just us. It’s a human failing. I don’t think we’ve cornered the market on ego.”
“It certainly is a problem. I think the sooner that you realize there’s something bigger than all of us the easier it’s going to be in your life. As I say, hard jump to make for a lot of us, even me, and I kind of understand the process,” Gibson asserted.
Waters then asks, “I was wondering if you had the been one who had jumped out of his seat and slapped Chris Rock, if you had been treated the same way, Mel?”
Gibson reacts by laughing and wagging his at the camera. A female voice then chimes in saying, “Hello Jesse, thank you, that’s our time.”
Waters then doubles down, “Have you ever thought about that?” Gibson continues to laugh while the woman says, “Thank you, Jesse. That is our time.”
The interview then concludes with Waters promoting the release date for Father Stu and Gibson saying, “Thank you.”
Father Stu releases on April 13th, in the production notes for the film provided by Sony, Gibson detailed the film “is not sanctimonious in any way.”
He added, “I’ve known priests in my life who swear like troopers, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good men. We are all imperfect, even priests. They’re human, they have problems. They can overcome them, but not through any ability of their own. Something much bigger than any of us moves them.”
Gibson further stated that the “screenplay is rich with [Director Rosalind Ross’] observations about life and behavior, and her intelligence, which is immense. It’s inspiring and it’s funny. And, yes, it can be sad, but at the same time it made me feel fulfilled.”
What do you make of Gibson’s comments about suffering, pride, and redemption as well as the way the interview ended?