A 1987 TALK WITH A REGULAR GUY … YEAH, RIGHT.
Byline: Susan Alai, March 1987
The actor who has been called the sexiest man alive flies to his hotel room door, his ice-blue eyes half shut with fatigue and his hair still wet from a last-minute shower. At 31 years old, Mel Gibson’s feeling a little bit like Greta Garbo — he wants to be alone.
The American actor with the Australian accent who makes grown women squeal like 12-year-olds is hankering to go back to his wife, his children and his 800-acre cattle ranch in Victoria, Australia, after a relentless, two-week round of interviews and appearances for his latest movie, “Lethal Weapon…”
As good looking as Gibson is on the screen, however, he appears considerably more ordinary in person. He remains completely puzzled at his distinction last year as the sexiest man alive (“Alive — don’t forget that part”) by People magazine.
“What does it mean?” he says, a quizzical look crossing his brow. “Can you define it for me? I don’t get it. I mean, I’m not ugly,” he says, holding an 8 by 10 studio glossy of himself up for scrutiny. “It certainly hasn’t hampered my career. I enjoy acting. I mean this is my instrument,” he says, gently tapping his chest with his two fingers. “I guess it’s become my trademark.”
But Gibson, who, for the last seven years has been married, claims he’s never experienced the claque of females who are supposed to attend a handsome film idol….
The burden of living with a sex symbol hasn’t been too much for his wife, he claims. “I’m not hard to live with. Well, I suppose sometimes I am. But I suspect I would be the same if I were a short-order cook,” he quips….
“I was scared to death the first time I had to get up to audition and I had to do the whole thing sitting down…. I suspect I may have even wet my pants.”…
And after starring with Tina Turner in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” his third movie in that post-apocalyptic series, he’s putting that character on the shelf. “It might be fun to do another in 10, 15 years. I suppose you could keep on going with them but it would get boring for me,” he says, dismissing the notion of continuing the character’s escapades as Sylvester Stallone has done with Rambo and Rocky….
Making “Lethal Weapon” was an entertaining project for Gibson, with lots of action scenes that pitted him against Gary Busey, who plays a sadistic killer. The two devised ways to keep themselves warm during long fight scenes shot in the mud under a spray of water from a broken fire hydrant. “We were scarfing all kinds of vitamins, which I’m sure everyone thought were drugs, and I kept this big jar of blackstrap molasses, which we’d take big gulps of,” he says. “And we played little games to see who would get cranky first.”