Gibson, 60, is heading for professional redemption with Hacksaw Ridge, a brutally violent but highly effective combat saga about a man of peace caught up in the inferno of World War 11. It is the first movie he has directed since the bloody and sadistic Apocalypto ten years ago and, as it stands a good chance of awards nominations later this year, it is likely to be the film that marks his re-entry into the heart of the Hollywood film industry.
When we met at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills Gibson had a bushy white beard which he continually stroked and twisted.
"I can’t wait to cut it off," he says, "but I'm making a film over in Ireland with Sean Penn (The Professor and the Madman) and we have to be in the 1800s. So we are going to look like the 1800s version of ZZ Top."
Gibson's problems began when he launched an anti-Semitic sexist rant after being arrested for drunken driving on Pacific Coast Highway in 2006. Then things went from bad to worse: He was excoriated for the graphic violence in films such as The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto and criticised for fathering a daughter by a girlfriend 14 years his junior with whom he began an affair while still married to his wife of nearly 30 years.
Then, worst of all, were the astonishing, rage-filled audio clips in which he was heard ranting and using racist and misogynist slurs at his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his youngest child, and threatening to murder her. Analysts who heard the leaked telephone conversations said they suggested he had a temperament of emotional violence.
He later described his outbursts as "the worst moment" of his life saying that what he did "wasn't meant to be public."
After the outcry that followed he retreated to his church---a devout member of a traditionalist Catholic group, he has built his own church in Malibu where the services are all in Latin. He spent time praying, went to therapy twice a week and attended counselling sessions.
"I worked on myself and I feel great," he says now. "And I am glad to be back and I am fortunate. I feel pretty cooled out and stuff doesn’t matter the way it used to. So I feel good and healthy, I have done the work and I feel pretty fit."
He is romantically involved with equestrian vaulter Rosalind Ross, 34 years his junior, who is pregnant with their first---and Gibson's ninth---child.
"Regarding age and relationships, it’s just a number," he says. "We dig each other."