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Mel campaigns for new movie, against war in Iraq

Reuters | September 25 2006

Mel Gibson has returned to the spotlight to promote his upcoming movie "Apocalypto," and to criticize the war in Iraq, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Almost two months after he railed against Jews when he was arrested for driving drunk in Malibu, the actor made a surprise appearance Friday at Fantastic Fest, an event in Austin, Texas, devoted to new science fiction, horror and fantasy films, the trade paper said in its Monday edition.

He presented a work-in-progress screening of his Mayan adventure tale, and then took questions. About one-third of the full house gathered for the film gave him a standing ovation. The film is scheduled for a December 8 release via Disney.

In describing its portrait of a civilization in decline, Gibson said, "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," drawing parallels between the Mayan civilization on the brink of collapse and America's present situation. "What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"

Appearing alongside Rudy Youngblood, one of the film's actors who hails from the Austin area, Gibson said he plans to make further trims in the film, which ran more than two hours. The print shown did not include sound effects and score, and some visual effects have not yet been added.

Gibson's appearance at the festival, co-founded by Harry Knowles, was reminiscent of a similar appearance he made at Knowles' Butt-Numb-a-Thon, which offered one of the first public previews of "The Passion of the Christ."

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