Jodie Foster has "no regrets" in hiring Mel Gibson

Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:35pm EDT
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By Kelley Shannon

AUSTIN (Reuters) - Actor and director Jodie Foster on Wednesday defended her choice of Mel Gibson for the lead role in her movie "The Beaver," saying she had "no regrets" about hiring him despite his personal troubles that delayed its release.

"Obviously all sorts of stuff happened after the film was finished," she said in a question-and-answer session following the movie's premiere at Austin's South by Southwest arts festival on Wednesday night. "I certainly have no regrets about him being in the film and his performance."

Foster's drama was delayed for months beyond its planned U.S. debut last year and had been expected to compete for awards during Hollywood's Oscar season.

The postponement came after a series of audiotapes were posted on celebrity website of a man, widely believed to be Gibson, making a racial slur and sexist comments to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Neither Gibson nor his representatives have confirmed he made the comments but they have not denied it either. Only last week he pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic abuse linked to his bitter breakup with Grigorieva.

Throughout his troubles, Foster has defended her long-time friend and at Wednesday's premiere, she told the audience she felt "incredibly grateful" for Gibson's performance and would not change anything about the movie.

"The Beaver" tells the story of deeply depressed Walter Black (Gibson), his wife (Foster) and teenage son (Anton Yelchin) who do not understand the pain he is in.

He finds a beaver puppet one day in a trash dumpster and, when he slips it onto his hand, he is able to communicate more easily in the voice of the animal which, strangely, has a London cockney accent.   Continued...

<p>Jodie Foster gives an interview as she arrives for the premiere of "The Beaver" at The Paramount Theater during the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas March 16, 2011. REUTERS/Rahav Segev</p>