Mel Gibson, a two-time Oscar winner, has played a Road Warrior, a Scottish hero, a crazy cop, and a melancholy Dane. This time around he's taking on a more traditional role, or so it seems.
Gibson exchanges his usual weapons and costumes for a pitchfork and flannel in Signs, the latest thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense). It opens Friday.
Gibson plays widower Graham Hess, a single father of two young children who tries to look past a bunch of 500-foot crop circles that have appeared suddenly in his fields.
Hess becomes a media sensation after discovering a message in the form of an intricate pattern of circles and lines that have formed in his crops. The discovery takes him on a frightening journey that alters the lives of his brother (Joaquinn Phoenix of Gladiator) and children.
Gibson, who moved from the United States to Australia as a child, says he does believe in the message of Shyamalan's latest film — that signs exist and mean something.
"Nothing really happens by accident. I've just seen too many situations like fall in place or I've seen the opposite," Gibson told Entertainment Editor Joel Siegel on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "They either fall in with harmony or they do just the right thing to sort of like create disharmony."
The Good Fight
The star of Braveheart, the Lethal Weapon movies and Hamlet almost always plays the role of a fighter, and not just in the physical sense.
Gibson made his on-screen debut in Summer City in 1976. He then joined the South Australia Theater Company, and appeared in a number of classical and contemporary productions before he starred in his first big role, as the title character in Mad Max (1979). Gibson was paid about $900 in Australian dollars (about $500 in U.S. dollars) a week for Mad Max, but he eventually went on to be paid millions for every film role he played.
He is an investment that's paid back in awards and dollars. His last five films alone have grossed more than $1 billion. Such success has allowed Gibson the freedom to stretch from action, to screwball comedy to drama.
Gibson won an Oscar for directing Braveheart in 1995, but he's in no rush to get back into the director's chair.
"If you're going to spend a couple or three years of your life on something, you want to make sure you're going to climb into bed with something you like. So you don't want to do anything lightly, you know," he said. "You have to be driven to do it."