SXSW: Jodie Foster Defends Mel Gibson at 'Beaver' Premiere (Video)
The director tells The Hollywood Reporter that "anybody who comes to see the film and understands Mel's extraordinary performance in the movie can't go away untouched by his humanity."
AUSTIN, Texas -- Jodie Foster had a request of moviegoers as The Beaver, her new movie starring Mel Gibson, had its world premiere Wednesday night in Austin as part of the SXSW Film Festival.
Before the screening got underway, Foster, who both directed and stars in the film, was asked how she expects audiences will react to Gibson's performance in the film as a depressed father and husband given his well-documented troubles.
"I just have to ask everybody, can you see a film and appreciate the artist for his work?" Foster told The Hollywood Reporter. "And if anything, I think anybody who comes to see the film and understands Mel's extraordinary performance in the movie can't go away untouched by his humanity." [Watch video of Foster on the red carpet at the end of this post.
While Gibson wasn't present, Foster walked the red carpet at the premiere, which resulted in a packed house at the Paramount, along with Anton Yelchin, who appears in the film, and writer Kyle Killen.
"If there's a message to the movie," Foster said, "it's that you don't have to be alone. The truth is that the great remedy for that is connection."
Amid the heightened interest in the Summit release because of Gibson's recent problems, the event got off to a smooth start despite the presence of some extra news trucks and paparazzi. As if to suggest the tabloid hurdles that the filmmakers are facing, one shouted out: "Jodie, what's your favorite alcoholic beverage?"
While the red-carpet parade was taking place, shouts could be heard coming from the up the block as protestors marched toward the theater. But it turns out that their signs, bullhorns and black coffins were in the service of an anti-death penalty cause, unrelated to the movie itself.