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Mel and Bono in a Million Dollar Argument|
Posted on Thursday, January 25 @ 01:03:38 CET by Macphisto
(NYPost) -- NEW YORK — Rocker Bono yesterday blasted Mel Gibson, accusing the Aussie hunk of using his star power to bury a new film that the U2 frontman produced.
Gibson, who plays a freak with an amputated third arm in German director Wim Wenders' offbeat murder mystery The Million Dollar Hotel, has publicly referred to the movie as being "boring as a dog's a**."
"I don't think he likes himself in it much and, as a result, I think he kind of wishes it would go away," Bono told The New York Post from Dublin, where U2 is preparing for its upcoming American tour.
"I think Mel maybe wanted to be involved in an independent project, but that he actually doesn't like independent films. Deep down, maybe he likes the explosions and the car chases."
Bono, who dreamed up the movie — then co-produced and co-wrote it — says the distributor, Lions Gate Films, has done little to promote the film, which opens in limited release Feb. 2. And he blames Gibson.
"I have a lot of respect for him as an actor, but I haven't forgiven him for the way Wim has been treated by Lions Gate," Bono said.
Bono has long been a friend and collaborator of Wenders, the expressionistic auteur responsible for Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas and last year's documentary phenomenon, Buena Vista Social Club.
He asked Wenders to direct the film — a murder mystery/love story set in seedy downtown Los Angeles — after originally presenting the script to Gibson in 1993.
The role of oddball FBI agent Skinner is certainly a departure for Gibson. Skinner is essentially a freak — at one point, we see him tending a scar left on his back when his third arm was amputated. And, while it's somewhat reminiscent of his on-the-edge Lethal Weapon cop, the performance is sure to shock fans of Gibson's mainstream work.
"It's a thankless part," Bono says. "He doesn't win, he doesn't get the girl and he doesn't get to kill everybody."
Lions Gate declined comment yesterday, but Gibson's rep, Alan Neirob, called Bono's accusations "absurd."
"Mel owns this film. It's his film. He's a producer on it and one of the actors," he said. "He'd be an idiot to try and bury it.
"Mel just did a whole bunch of interviews for Million Dollar Hotel and he couldn't have praised the people involved with the film more, including Bono."
Wenders says he still considers Gibson a "friend of the project."
"I think he's really extraordinary in the film and gutsy to do it," he told The Post. "I understand it throws him into a certain dilemma, now that he's so successful with The Patriot and What Women Want. This film is the opposite of those."
He said Gibson had called him to apologize for the "dog's a**" comment, made during an Australian promotional tour last year for What Women Want.
"I still love him for having accepted this role and for being honest about the film," Wenders says. "You can count on him that he's not just going to say polite things."
But Bono continued his blistering attack on Gibson, saying, "Wim has made two, maybe more, of the top 30 films ever made. Has Mel?
"In the end, is it about box office over being great?
"Wim is a great filmmaker, and I think he should be treated with respect.
"Wim will never talk like this. I can, so I am."
Bono said he hasn't spoken to Gibson since the "dog's a**" comment, which Gibson has admitted was "a mistake," a result of fatigue.
The Million Dollar Hotel already has a turbulent history, beginning with a 35-day shoot in a skid-row hotel where junkies regularly threw hypodermic needles at the crew.
Despite winning the Silver Bear prize at last year's Berlin Film Festival, it has met with mixed reaction in Europe, where it was released early last year.
"It got monstered in England because it's not part of that smart-ass school of filmmaking," Bono says. "It's quite soulful and poetic."
Bono believes that, like many of Wenders' films, Hotel will have a lasting impact.
"At the moment, it's confined to a few cinemas around the U.S., so in one sense, [Gibson's] having his way," he says. "But I have a funny feeling, because the reviews have been good, that it will be around for a long time."