I’ll drive that tanker

Advertising Age looks at actor/director/marketing-wiz Mel Gibson.

To create this boffo box office, superstar director Mel Gibson employed a raft of guerrilla-marketing tactics, appealing to church groups and religious leaders to help him bring out the faithful. He traded heavily on his celebrity status and the controversy that has swirled around the film to generate buzz about the movie everywhere from late-night talk shows and the cover of Newsweek to religious conventions and Nascar races.

The first movie I saw Gibson in was Gallipoli; the second was the amazing The Year of Living Dangerously. And then there was The Road Warrior. I didn’t expect this new movie to do well — it looked like such a vanity project, and in fact I believe it is one. (The New Yorker’s David Denby described the movie as “another dose of death-haunted religious fanaticism,” which I suspect it could be also.) I confess I hoped it would go away quietly. All the same, I can’t help but admire how Gibson and his team have made a highly controversial and difficult-to-watch film into a box office smash.

And damn it, he’s still a babe.