Last year, I came across this THR report article revealing Paramount’s negotiations with Mel Gibson‘s Braveheart budget. Apparently, the studio’s initial offer was lower than Mel’s expectations for what he would need to shoot the film. So, during a meeting with Paramount, when he was told how much money they were willing to put up, Mel went nuclear, as he usually does:
Gibson was furious. “He grabbed a large glass ashtray and threw it through the wall,” recalls agent Jeff Berg. “He threw the ashtray through the wall!”
The actor-director confirmed the incident. “I was like, ‘What the f-ck do you people mean? I turned down three jobs — blah, blah, blah.’ I was kind of upset, probably a little over the top. It was all posturing bullsh-t.”
A week later, Paramount revised its offer, putting up one-third of the budget and taking a lower distribution fee.
The way I read the anecdote, it’s being told as a success story. Especially the way the piece ends, like this:
Braveheart would go on to win five Oscars, including best picture and best director nods for Gibson.
The way it’s postured here is that Mel fought for the film. And it was his commitment and passion that got him to produce the iconic movie.
But he THREW AN ASHTRAY THROUGH A WALL during a business meeting and he was immediately rewarded with more money. THE F-CK!
So the obvious question here is, would a woman receive more money for THROWING AN ASHTRAY THROUGH A WALL, or does the studio see her as a crazy, hormonal, hysterical mess, unfit to produce a film?
Let’s use Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first Twilight movie, as an example. She told Variety in 2015, that she cried on set one day for 30 seconds:
I had a $150,000-a-day pressure. Most directors scream. We’ve seen videos of it. They yell. They fire people. They don’t come out of their trailer. Some people drink. Some people bring hookers. Everyone reacts to the extra pressure in different ways. Well, I just thought, “I’ll go over there and cry for a second and come back.” Someone saw, and reported it. I’m suddenly labeled “emotional.” And yet, now I’ve learned of two instances of male directors who cried on set and they got a standing ovation, because they were so sensitive. Of course it’s a double standard. Of course it’s gender bias. I’ve never gone over budget, and my movies have made a ton of money. Still, I get labeled whatever code word they want to label me. I’ve had 20 movies since “Thirteen” that I’ve tried to get made. On “Red Riding Hood,” I had to take a 57 percent pay cut right after I created a $400 million movie and a huge franchise.
CATHERINE WAS REPORTED FOR CRYING. Again, THE F-CK?!
My takeaway from this is that men who are assholes get what they want.