Ari Emanuel took a hard-line stance against and fired his then-WME client Mel Gibson after the actor’s 2006 arrest following an alcohol-fueled, anti-Semitic and sexist tirade. Now, more than a decade later, sources tell THR that the Endeavor CEO has been advocating for Gibson in recent deals.
First, Gibson personally apologized to Emanuel some months back, says an insider. More importantly, Emanuel’s prized client Mark Wahlberg bonded with Gibson during the making of Paramount’s holiday comedy Daddy’s Home 2, in which he starred as Wahlberg’s father.
With Wahlberg beneath Gibson’s wings, Emanuel encouraged Warner Bros. to give Gibson a part in Six Billion Dollar Man and, according to a source, championed him as the director for that film. Emanuel also is said to have touted Gibson to direct another upcoming Wahlberg film, the World War II naval movie Destroyer.
None of this directly benefits WME: Gibson was signed by rival agency CAA in January 2017, after the actor mounted his comeback with Hacksaw Ridge. But THR is told that Emanuel is not so forgiving as to want Gibson back as a client.
A version of this story first appeared in the May 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.