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Kicking the Habit; Lindsay Lohan`s Plea; `The Showbiz Guide`

Aired August 4, 2006 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Why does Nicolas Cage call his latest film "the chance of a lifetime"?
I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And Bruce Willis speaks out for the first time about doing another "Die Hard" sequel.

I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Mel Gibson`s rocky road to recovery, his battle with severe alcoholism, the horrific relapse. Now he says he`s in an ongoing program. But is that enough?

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: I realize that he really was genuinely looking for some help. And I think he deserves help.

HAMMER: Tonight, what Mel can learn from other stars who have been in his shoes. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

HAMMER: Also tonight, Lindsay Lohan fights back. Her startling e- mail now being seen around the world. Her dig at the movie studio chief who threatened to fire her. And why she`s outraged that she can`t even get a couple of days off from the paparazzi.

Tonight, why Lindsay might have wanted to think twice before hitting "Send."


ANDERSON: Hi there. Happy Friday, everybody. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

HAMMER: Here we go into the weekend.

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York City.

And you think you have pressure? Imagine for a moment you`re Mel Gibson and you`re trying to beat alcoholism, and you`re under the most pressure you have ever been in all of your life.

ANDERSON: That`s right, A.J. Mel is still getting hammered, so to speak, for his anti-Semitic rant and his drunk driving arrest. So how is he going to deal with the unbelievable scrutiny as he tries to beat booze?

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.


HAMMER (voice over): Now Gibson is trying to repair the damage, announcing that he`s entered an ongoing recovery program.

ANDERSON (voice over): We have seen this movie before. Big star messes up. Big star then announces he`s going to rehab. Now that his DUI arrest and the anti-Semitic rant that followed threatens his career, Gibson has announced that he`s going into what he calls an ongoing program of recovery.

Fellow movie star John Travolta tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT he hopes Gibson`s latest effort to kick the booze habit is successful.

TRAVOLTA: I would like to see him get some support and help.

ANDERSON: But considering all the stars who try and try again to kick a public addiction, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking the tough question, how can any celebrity, especially a mega-star like Gibson, recover from addiction while in a public firestorm?

DR. HARRIS STRATYNER, MT. SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: Let`s be realistic, America. Celebrities do live a different life. There are additional pressures on them.

ANDERSON: Dr. Harris Stratyner, an addiction specialist at New York`s Mt. Sinai Medical Center, has treated celebrities who he says have even more trouble kicking addiction than the average person.

And let`s face it, Mel Gibson has taken enough heat lately...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope that, you know, this will affect his career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This man is an anti-Semite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he`s a -- he`s a jerk.

ANDERSON: ... to drive anyone to drink.

STRATYNER: Probably given all the stress that`s on him right now, he`s probably feeling like he needs to escape. And that puts even more pressure on someone who might have an alcohol problem to drink. Given the nature of what has been reported about Mr. Gibson`s comments, it seems to me that he might need in-patient treatment to deal with some of his psychological issues.

ANDERSON: Not that that always helps right away. Stars like Robert Downey Jr., rock star Scott Weiland and Whitney Houston each reportedly have taken multiple stabs at rehab over the years, and each move and relapse was played out in the celebrity gossip machine.

Dr. Stratyner says that kind of pressure doesn`t help the recovery process.

STRATYNER: Think about this for a second. Alcoholics Anonymous, it`s very important that people remain anonymous when they go into treatment. In the case of Mel Gibson, certainly what is going on with him is not at all anonymous. And in many of the folks that I treat who are in the limelight, they`re getting sober in the public eye. That`s a lot of pressure.

ANDERSON: But Dr. Tara Fields from the A&E show "Intervention" says being a star could actually help Gibson beat addiction.

DR. TARA FIELDS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST: The positive could be that he is saying, "I am going to have more scrutiny. So I have to be extra careful." You know, somebody that`s not in the public eye maybe could sneak a drink, and then another drink, and they`re back drinking again.

So it can really be positive.

ANDERSON: And the ironic thing is, experts say that while in the process of kicking booze, Gibson may uncover the deep-seated issues that led to his anti-Semitic rant.

FIELDS: Stopping the alcohol, stopping the drugs, that`s kind of easy. But staying clean and sober and finally allowing yourself to go into that pain, process it, that`s where the courage is. So hopefully he can be a good role model.

STRATYNER: I don`t think we should paint Mel Gibson to be an evil person. The anti-Semitic remarks were rather disturbing. But you know what? We need to help him and we need to see that this man has an illness and needs to be treated with respect and dignity and try to be understood and helped.


ANDERSON: As we`ll tell you about a little later on in the show, some of Mel`s friends in the movie business have come out to say that Mel Gibson has been battling an alcohol problem for years.

HAMMER: Well, there`s no doubt that Mel Gibson wants to beat his addiction. And when stars get caught behaving badly, pretty often they are pretty quick to raise that rehab flag.

Joining me tonight, Harvey Levin, managing editor of the entertainment news Web site Harvey joining us from the TMZ newsroom in Glendale, California.

All right, Harvey, nobody questions the going into rehab a good thing. But isn`t it really just sometimes used as an excuse to be forgiven for what sometimes is basically unforgivable?

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: Well, you know, yes. And also remember, there is a looming court case here. So a lot of times what happens when somebody gets into trouble with the law, going into rehab or recovery in this case, what it does is it shows the judge that you`re trying to take steps to help yourself, and that really is a big issue in this case, A.J.

HAMMER: Kind of a good-faith effort there, sure.

So, it`s been a week now we have been talking about this thing. This story first broke a week ago of him getting arrested. You guys over there at basically blew the lid off the whole story when you posted that police report where Gibson is quoted making those anti-Semitic remarks.

A whole week, Harvey. This still -- this thing is still going strong with no signs of slowing down.

Why is the interest still so intense?

LEVIN: Because, you know, Mel Gibson is more than an A-list celebrity. He`s a religious figure. I mean, he really is, with "Passion of the Christ," with the church that he has, the comments he`s made, the controversy around him.

You know, I think that it takes it into a whole new arena. And on top of that, you know, you have the shenanigans with the sheriff`s department. So there are issues with law enforcement and celebrity favoritism and a whole bunch of issues. And when you take them all together, you know, this story has multiple reasons people continue to be interested.

HAMMER: Plus, of course, all the speculation as to whether or not a fix is even possible. You know, he`s apologized not once, but twice. They were extraordinary apologies, at that. Yet, he`s still getting slammed from the left, from the right.

What else does Mel Gibson have to do to make this thing go away so he can rehabilitate his image? Or is it basically kind of a lost cause for him?

LEVIN: You know, I can get a little personal here?

HAMMER: Please do.

LEVIN: In some ways, what he has to do may just be that the story doesn`t go away. It is really interesting on the Web site.

I`m getting attacked like crazy. I mean, part of it is because I`m Jewish. Incase you didn`t notice, Harvey Levin is not a Swedish name. And, you know, I`m being attacked like I`m going after Mel Gibson because I`m Jewish and he made these statements.

So there is this sentiment out there that we`re just -- we`re going after him because of what he said and it`s wrong.

HAMMER: What are people saying? What are people saying to you, Harvey, specifically?

LEVIN: Oh, it`s just -- it`s unbelievable. I mean, these comments are vicious.

And, again, I mean, look, we put ourselves out there. We have to take it. But there is a lot of feeling that this is the Jews going after, you know, a good Christian man. And what`s the big deal he made this kind of a statement?

You know, my personal feeling about this -- and I`ve had a little time to reflect -- is that Mel Gibson said, "I`m not anti-Semitic, but there is something inside me that made me make these comments, so I`m asking for the Jewish community to help." My feeling is, you know, if I were his publicist, I would tell him to say, look, if I made these comments and it really is inside of me, say that you are anti-Semitic and you want -- and you want some help. But you kind of want it both ways in this press release, and it feels a little manipulative.

HAMMER: And to set the record straight, Harvey, you guys are just you`re reporting the facts as you come to learn them.

I want you do one thing before we wrap it up. I want you to take out your little crystal ball that I know you hide in your desk and tell me, a year from now, are we still going to be talking about this thing, or will we look back at it as much ado about nothing, or is he going to be done for good? Is it going to haunt him for the rest of his life?

LEVIN: All I have to say about that, A.J., is if you remember the election between Gore and Bush, that one of the -- one of the feelings was that the reason that Gore lost is because he didn`t use Bill Clinton more, Bill Clinton, who everybody wrote off after Monica Lewinsky.

HAMMER: Harvey Levin from, thank you very much. And have a good weekend.

LEVIN: Bye, A.J.

ANDERSON: Now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day."

Mel Gibson`s alcoholism: Is it an excuse for what he said?

Vote at Send us e-mail,

HAMMER: As you would well imagine, Mel Gibson has lots of famous friends, but nearly all of them have kept quiet as he`s been going through this whole ordeal. However, this lady, Jodie Foster, is one of the few who has been willing to speak out.

In an interview with the "LA Times," Foster said she didn`t believe it when she heard what happened. Foster says Gibson is one of the nicest, most honest men she has ever met, and even though they speak regularly, she had no idea that he was drinking again.

She said, "Is he an anti-Semite? Absolutely not. But it`s no secret that he has always fought a terrible battle with alcoholism. I just wish I had been there, that I had been able to say, `Don`t do it. Don`t take that drink.`"

Jodie Foster also said that starring with Gibson in "Maverick" was the happiest co-star experience she has ever had.

ANDERSON: Even after what Gibson said, a new CNN poll shows the majority of people aren`t sure that he really is anti-Semitic.

Only 23 percent of those polled said yes, they think Gibson is an anti-Semite, 52 percent said no, and 24 percent said they were unsure. Also, 58 percent said they are still a fan of Gibson`s. Only 7 percent said they used to be a fan but not anymore. And 27 percent said they were never a fan of Gibson`s.

HAMMER: You will never believe the argument that brought red-faced police officers to one couple`s home. Coming up, we`ll bring you the story that made us say, "That`s ridiculous!"

ANDERSON: Also tonight, Lindsay Lohan snaps online. Ahead, the e- mail that Lohan probably didn`t want everyone to read. But who is making the young star fighting mad? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

We`ll also have this...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not that long ago when Mel`s reputation was a guy who really liked to go out and tie one on.


HAMMER: Mel Gibson`s no stranger to controversy. Coming up, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, "Gibson`s Rocky Rise to Fame."


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night.

TV`s most provocative entertainment news show is on.

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

It`s time now for a story that made us say...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: "That`s ridiculous!"

HAMMER: Got to be louder, guys.

Now, women, of course, have needs. And for one woman, not getting what she needed in bed was enough to call the cops.

You see, the woman and her husband had been sleeping in separate beds for months. She eventually decided she had waited long enough. So she stormed into her husband`s room and she demanded some action.

When he wouldn`t give up the goods, apparently she called 911. And the cops showed up, a bit red-faced, but said they weren`t able to resolve this particular battle, the couple would have to get help from somewhere else.

Brooke, there are some people in this world who I just don`t know...

ANDERSON: I mean, were the cops supposed to punish him? I`m sure they didn`t put him in the mood in the middle of the night. That is just unbelievable. They did file a report in case intervention might be required at a later date. But at least they...

HAMMER: There are 900 numbers to call. Not 911 numbers to call.

ANDERSON: No. Leave the 911 out of this.

We say calling the cops over a sexless marriage, now "That`s ridiculous!"

HAMMER: "That`s ridiculous!"

ANDERSON: Moving now to a startling e-mail from Lindsay Lohan. It`s making its way around the world, and we have it here.

The e-mail was first sent to Perez Hilton of the entertainment blog And Perez joins me now from Chicago.

Hi, Perez. Good to see you again.


ANDERSON: Hey, now, this isn`t the first time you and e-mail -- you and Lindsay have e-mailed. But you get this e-mail from her out of the blue. And I want to read what she writes, Perez.

She says, "Almost witnessed three kids being hit by paparazzi. Never in my life had an experience as I just did with the paparazzi. I am not kidding -- I am shaking, cannot breathe a bit, scared, anxious and sad."

"If someone doesn`t feel bad, then I will feel bad for myself. It is disgusting what these g-d damn people are doing to me, as well as the people in my life that I work with and for. It`s vulgar, and I`m saddened for myself."

Perez, what in the world is going on? What is she talking about?

HILTON: I think that Lindsay`s just reached a point where she`s overwhelmed. And she really hadn`t spoken out before about everything that`s happened in the last two weeks from her hospitalization, to that letter that the producer of her film "Georgia Rule" sent out.

Her mother Dina has gone on the record, spoken to the magazines, spoken to the TV shows. But this is the first time that Lindsay spoke.

And I guess she came to me because we`re friends. She feels comfortable with me. And I guess she`s had enough, you know.

Even I gave her tough love recently. And she -- she just wanted to get her word out there.

ANDERSON: Well, let me get to the part of the e-mail where she does take a little jab at her current production company.

She writes, "And any of those willing to fall into judging me in any way in the future or past can watch the videotapes that these men, women take of me while they were being invasive towards my day off, which I never have anymore. Send that to Morgan Creek."

OK, obviously she`s talking about Morgan Creek, the movie studio that threatened to fire her because she wasn`t showing up to work on time due to partying. We`re going to get to that in just a minute, Perez.

But she was at The Ivy when all of this went down. Am I right about that?

HILTON: Yes. And there was paparazzi there. There is always paparazzi at The Ivy.

ANDERSON: That`s what I`m saying.

HILTON: However...

ANDERSON: There is always paparazzi there. Listen, I`ve been to The Ivy. When celebrities go to The Ivy, Perez, they expect to have their pictures taken.

HILTON: It`s expected, yes.

ANDERSON: They go there to be seen. If my mother went there, the paparazzi would swarm her. I mean, what does she expect?

HILTON: Well, I think she expects something within reason. I mean, if you look at the video footage that was taken yesterday at The Ivy, there was well over 10 people there. Now, let`s just look at it economically. Let`s look at the numbers.

ANDERSON: That`s not unusual. That`s not unusual.

HILTON: More than 10 people? That`s a bit unusual.

I`ve been to The Ivy myself, and there might be about three, four, five, maybe even six. But over 10 paparazzi I would say is unusual. And because -- it`s a waste of their time. When you have that many photographers taking the same shot, that picture is not going to be worth that much money. So I don`t get why they`re there. I


HILTON: I think part of the reason is they`re trying to hound her. They`re trying to get reaction from her because then that will be a shot that sells.

You know, this is a girl that has gotten into multiple car accidents, several involving the paparazzi. They need to give her space, I think.

ANDERSON: All right. Perez Hilton on Lindsay`s side.

We do wish her the best, as always. And thanks for coming on and sharing her e-mail to you with us.

Perez Hilton from

We appreciate it.

HILTON: My pleasure.

HAMMER: Time now for the "The Showbiz Guide."

Tonight in people`s picks and pans, three movies to get you out of the house this weekend.

Will Ferrell is back in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." The voices of Kevin James and Courteney Cox Arquette are in "Barnyard." And a thriller set deep below the Earth`s surface in the film "The Descent."

Joining me now, "People" magazine film critic Leah Rozen.

A pleasure to see you.


HAMMER: Will Ferrell back. Looks kind of goofy in "Talladega Nights".

ROZEN: You know what? I really liked this film. I was surprised because some of those ads look a little dopey. This is one of those silly smart movies. Every summer there is one.

Last summer you had "The 40 Year Old Virgin," this summer "Talladega Nights." It`s a really pleasant surprise.

It`s got this kind of dark heart. He`s a NASCAR driver, sort of a nasty guy, the number one champ. And then this rival shows up, a gay French man who reads Camus behind the wheel, played by Sasha Baron Cohen, better known as Ali G.

HAMMER: Right.

ROZEN: And it`s a lot of fun.

HAMMER: And if the NASCAR fans show up, it will definitely open up at number one.

Let`s move on to "Barnyard," the animated feature this week. A cow is in charge, Leah.

ROZEN: Yes, this is about cows who really act more like humans when humans aren`t around.

I`ve got to say, I`ve liked a lot of the animated films this summer. This one didn`t do it for me. It just sort of seemed loud and kind of obnoxious with a soundtrack just crammed with tunes, as if they`re training, you know, little kids to be future MTV viewers.

Also, these cows are all males, but they all have utters. I`m utterly confused.

HAMMER: OK. You were waiting to break that one out, weren`t you?

ROZEN: You bet.

HAMMER: Let`s move on to "The Descent." It looks pretty scary and kind of bizarre.

ROZEN: It is darn scary. This is a little film by a British-made director, a cast you probably haven`t heard of.

Six women go into a cave. They`re sort of exploring, adventurers, and really, really bad stuff happens. And it is scary as all get out.

I mean, this is one of those small genre films without pretension, but it does what it sets out to do. It makes you so scared. They encounter summer creatures down there, that`s all I`m going to say.


ROZEN: And this one will have you gripping the edge of the seat.

HAMMER: And it sounds like you liked it?

ROZEN: I liked it a lot.

HAMMER: All right.

As always, thank you very much, Leah Rozen.

ROZEN: You`re welcome.

HAMMER: And, as always, for more picks and pans, grab your copy of "People" magazine. You`ll find it on newsstands now.

ANDERSON: An unlikely star says she`s actually seen Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes` baby. You`re not going to believe who it is.

That`s coming up. Details on the latest Suri sighting.

We also have this...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mel has stirred up some controversy before. He said some -- some dumb things like, you know, a seemingly homophobic remark.


HAMMER: Mel Gibson may be in hot water now, but he`s no stranger to controversy. Ahead, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, Mel Gibson and his rocky rise to super stardom.

ANDERSON: Also ahead, a special premiere for Oliver Stone`s "World Trade Center." Find out why Nicolas Cage called his role "the chance of a lifetime."

That`s still to come on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ANDERSON: Happy birthday, Tony Bennett. The legendary singer just turned 80 years old. Can you believe it?

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went stepping out last night with Tony and his celebrity pals at his New York City birthday bash. Katie Couric, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, among others, were all there to celebrate. When we asked Tony about turning the big 80, he said he`s living the good life.


TONY BENNETT, SINGER: This moment right now as we speak is the greatest moment of my life.


BENNETT: Because, I mean, to hit 80 and have the world just know what I`ve been doing and reminding me of what has been going on, I`m awed by the whole thing.


ANDERSON: He looks good. We also got a chance to ask his good friends John Travolta and Katie Couric what they think keeps the classic crooner so young.



TRAVOLTA: I don`t know. Well, I think he lives...

PRESTON: So handsome.

TRAVOLTA: ... a really decent and beautiful life.


TRAVOLTA: And he cares so much and helps so many people. I think that`s what keeps him so young.

KATIE COURIC, FRIEND AND FAN: He`s just one of these people who comes alive every time he steps on that stage. And that`s what I think keeps him young. I think if you`re doing what you love, you never really age.


HAMMER: And he`s one of the nicest guys in the biz.

Find out why Elvis fans of all ages are now crying foul. It`s a memorabilia mess, and you`ll never believe who is to blame.

We`ll also have this...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not that long ago when Mel`s reputation was a guy who really liked to go out and tie one on.


ANDERSON: Mel Gibson has seen controversy before. Coming up, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report on Gibson`s rocky rise to fame.

HAMMER: Plus, Bruce Willis says he`s getting in shape to save the world. It`s the first time he`s speaking out about the "Die Hard" sequel. Number four, of course. He`s speaking with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

That is just ahead. And we will be right back.


HAMMER: Here we go into Friday night. Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I am A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: We have made it to the weekend. I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

A.J., you know, this isn`t the first time that controversy has surrounded Mel Gibson. He`s been under a tremendous amount of scrutiny in the past, and we`re going to take a look tonight at his rocky rise to stardom, to fame, to the top of Hollywood.

HAMMER: Also tonight, Brooke, the film "World Trade Center" had its big premiere in New York City last night. It opens up next week. Now we`re going to hear what the director, Olive Stone, and lead Nick Cage have to say about being a part of such a polarizing project. In fact, Nick Cage will tell us exactly why this particular fame was the chance of a lifetime for him. That`s still to come.

ANDERSON: That`s right.

HAMMER: But now a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Special Report": "Mel Gibson Before the Controversy." Actually, I should say before this controversy, over his anti-Semitic remarks and arrest on charges of drunk driving. That`s because Mel Gibson is a guy who has ruffled feathers before, and has not at all been shy about doing so.

Here`s Sharon Collins for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


MEL GIBSON, ACTOR: I`m surprised you haven`t heard about me. You know, I got a bad reputation. I -- sometimes I just go nuts like now...


SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1989, Mel Gibson proved once again he was an explosive force at the box office. "Lethal Weapon 2" was a bigger hit than the original, and the four-part series would take in nearly $1 billion worldwide.

LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": "Lethal Weapon" made Mel Gibson an international box office star. I mean, it made him huge. It showed he could -- really in action pictures he could do it. He could be romantic. It also showed that he could really do the sense of humor thing.

DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR: Look at my wet back (ph)!

GIBSON: I`m real bad. You`re black. I`m neck (ph).

I try and make it fun. If it`s not fun to me, it`s -- it`s not worth it. One has to enjoy one`s craft. I mean, if it becomes a burden, you might as well give it away.

COLLINS: Gibson is known for making fun on the set, pulling pranks such as putting a frozen rat in Julia Roberts` trailer when they made the movie "Conspiracy Theory."

JULIA ROBERTS, ACTRESS: More than one. Go ahead and say it.

GIBSON: No, it was the same one, but several times. It was a recycled rat.

ROBERTS: I kept hiding him, and he kept finding it, and giving it back to me in different ways.


COLLINS: Gibson`s career was white hot. But offscreen, his party-boy image was starting to cool down. Gibson had gotten the nickname "Mad Mel" in the 1980s, due in large part to his drinking. That rowdy reputation would change when his wife pressured him to stop.

JESS CAGLE, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": When Mel decided to change his life and quit drinking, that is when he really went back to the Catholicism of his youth. And I think that that spirituality is what has filled him up once the alcohol stopped filling him up.

COLLINS: Gibson and his wife, Robyn, now have seven children who are kept out of the public eye.

GIBSON: I`m kind of a household Hitler, I suppose -- if I can use that word. And, you know, it`s -- it`s our decision that they stay away from it until they`re old enough.

COLLINS: Gibson has never been known for his political correctness. And his choice of words has gotten him into trouble.

In 1991, he made comments about homosexuals to the Spanish newspaper "El Pais," which offended gay groups. Gibson later said his quotes were misinterpreted.

And in a 1995 "Playboy" interview, he raised eyebrows when he expressed his belief in creationism, his dislike of feminism, and expounded on conspiracy theories involving Rhoades scholars, several presidents and the Federal Reserve.

CAGLE: Mel has stirred up some controversy before. He`s said some dumb things, like, you know, a seemingly homophobic remark at one point, which he regrets. But in general, he doesn`t mind a fight.

COLLINS: Gibson risked more criticism when he began branching out his career. In 1990, he left behind the big-budget action flicks and tried his hand at Shakespeare, tackling the role of "Hamlet."

GIBSON: To be or not to be; that is the question.

It`s all there, sex and violence and passion and love and hate. We just want to make it accessible to an audience. It is kind of scary. It`s exciting. But hey, live; you might -- you only live once, you know?

ROZEN: It wasn`t an entirely successful "Hamlet." But he was impressive in the role. I mean, you didn`t go, Whoa, is that embarrassing? What was he thinking? You said, Hmm, worthwhile interpretation.

COLLINS: Gibson also went behind the camera. He made his directorial debut in "The Man Without a Face," and starred in the film away.

GIBSON: Everyone does sooner or later.

It`s the most fulfilling yourself, of -- that I`ve found to date, because you have to conceive of -- of -- of a whole story and a way to tell it and a way to show it, you know? With image, with film, which really, I guess, tests your mettle.

COLLINS: Gibson`s next directorial challenge was one of epic proportions: "Braveheart." The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning five, including Best Picture and a Best Director statue for Gibson.

GIBSON: I feel like, you know, the Doublemint twins, you know? It`s...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

GIBSON: It`s my wildest expectations come true this evening.

ROZEN: I think "Braveheart" enabled him to show that he could be a direction of a film that was commercially successful, and that he could make the movie he wanted to make.


HAMMER: That was Sharon Collins for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And our special report continues with the fascinating story of how Mel Gibson got to where he is today. And believe it or not, the TV show "Jeopardy!" had a lot to do with it. That is still to come.

Right now, it`s time for tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

There was been another Suri Cruise sighting. Yes, Tom Cruise`s former girlfriend Penelope Cruz saw Suri a few weeks ago, and she says, Suri is one of the most beautiful babies she has ever seen, but wouldn`t give any other details. Katie Holmes gave birth on April 18. There still haven`t been any pictures released of Baby Suri.

Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders in Rome are condemning Madonna`s show this weekend near Vatican City. Now in the show, Madonna wears a crown of thorns and descends on a suspended cross in a mock crucifixion scene. Madonna`s spokeswoman says she doesn`t think Jesus would be mad at her, and that Jesus` message of tolerance is Madonna`s message, too.

And as we told you earlier in the week, there will be a "Die Hard 4." We caught up with Bruce Willis and got his very first comments on why he decided to make a fourth installment.


BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: You know, I`ve been traveling around the world for the last couple years promoting films. And everywhere I go, people ask when I`m going to do another one. And at a certain point, Fox said -- Fox said that they wanted to -- they wanted to take another shot at it. So we`ll see.


HAMMER: And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines.

ANDERSON: Oliver Stone`s 9/11 epic "World Trade Center" premiered in New York City last night. In the audience, the very people whose amazing survival stories inspired the film. The film is based on the real lives of Port Authority officers who were trapped in the rubble. "World Trade Center" star Nicolas Cage tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that this role was the chance of a lifetime.


NICOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: I think the movie is an opportunity and a privilege to portray the -- the sacrifice that these men were willing to give to save others on 9/11, and also to give respect and love to the people who lost their lives.


ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT also caught up with controversial director Oliver Stone. He told us this film doesn`t fit any formula.


OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR: I think if you look at all the movies over -- what? -- 25 years, I think I changed every time. I think that there was something new going on -- I -- that`s the good thing about my career, is that I was able to do what I wanted to do. I didn`t do it otherwise, and I stayed true to what I felt. And it`s all been twists and turns. I don`t see too many similarities. I mean, conspiracy, 1-2 movies. I -- you know, there`s no one -- don`t pigeonhole me, I guess is what I`m saying.


ANDERSON: "World Trade Center" opens nationwide next weekend. It`s just powerful.

HAMMER: Well, here we are; it`s Friday night. Don`t panic because you think SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is not going to be around for your weekend. We are now seven nights a week. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show has arrived on your weekends, so you can join us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Saturday and Sunday, in addition to Monday through Friday, at 11 p.m. Eastern, 8 Pacific.

ANDERSON: Great story for you coming up: it ain`t nothing but a hound dog mauling Elvis` old teddy bear. Now the British papers are going nuts with this story. We have that next.

We`ll also have this:


CAGLE: It was not that long ago when`s Mel reputation was a guy who really liked to go out and tie one on.


HAMMER: A SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Special Report": we`re going to be taking a closer look at Mel the man, before this controversy changed everything. Who he is and what you didn`t know about where he came from. All that is coming up.

ANDERSON: Tonight, a special edition of our "Birthday Shoutout," from some of the stars who helped Tony Bennett celebrate his 80th birthday yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, Tony.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, happy birthday, Tony.



JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: Happy birthday, Tony. We love you.

KELLY PRESTON, ACTRESS: We love you. Happy birthday, hun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by to break, and roll your break. And effect black.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1, Go 3. Fade up, music under. Stand by, A.J. Pre-set Camera 2. Open his mike, Dissolve 2, Go.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night, as we launch into the weekend. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show is on.

It is time now for yet another story that made us say, "That`s Ridiculous!" We may have to leave that out of the program.

Last night we told you about a guard dog that ripped apart Elvis Presley`s teddy bear at an exhibition. Well, the story of the hound dog and the teddy bear still has people all shook up.

Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You`d look downcast, too, if you just ate Elvis` teddy bear.


MOOS: Or actually, he`s a Doberman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ronnie (ph), what did you get up to there?

MOOS: This is what he got up to: disemboweling teddy bears in a British teddy bear collection he was supposed to be guarding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just run amuck for about 10, 15 minutes.

MOOS: And the first bear he mauled was Mabel. Here`s Mabel pre- attack. This stuffed bear from 1909 or so reportedly once belonged to Elvis. And now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The owner is bound to be very, very upset.

MOOS: An Englishman with a reputation for eccentricity supposedly paid $76,000 for Mabel at a Memphis auction, though we can`t prove Elvis ever owned it.


MOOS: Barney ran amuck at a tourist attraction called Wookey Hole, famed for its caves, and now famed for the carnage in the teddy bear collection. The irony is that the attraction`s insurance company insisted it have "highly-trained guard dogs" patrolling the place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just went absolutely berserk. All I can think it is, it`s something to do with the scent of the bear.

MOOS: Must have smelled Elvis. The King`s scent sure drove women wild. Why not a Doberman?

The alleged Elvis bear was left partially decapitated and with a chunk out of its chest.

Will Barney end up doing...


MOOS: Apparently not, but as a guard dog he`s been fired and retired to a farm.

British reporters are lucky Barney didn`t tear the stuffing out of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Find out why this dog won`t be guarding hundreds of teddy bears anymore.

MOOS: Guess she didn`t smell like Elvis.

Hang your head in shame, Barney, for what you did to all those teddy bears.



HAMMER: They knew he was a guard dog. But -- but he`s a dog. Leave Barney alone. You know...

ANDERSON: Leave Barney alone! He doesn`t -- he doesn`t look vicious.

HAMMER: Brooke, my dog Seven (ph) would never do anything like that. My dog Charlie (ph), while I was growing up, ripped apart every stuffed animal I had, including a stuffed guinea pig that my dad bought to replace my dead guinea pig.

ANDERSON: I`m sure you were devastated for a long time.

HAMMER: I was. It was horrible.

ANDERSON: So why let a guard dog in with the teddy bears? They think it`s a toy. They think they`re toys, you know? You can`t blame Barney for this.

HAMMER: Yes, he is still a guard dog, though.

So we have to say -- a guard dog mauling Elvis` teddy bear, "That`s Ridiculous!"

ANDERSON: "That`s Ridiculous!"

HAMMER: All right. Let`s move on, shall we?

ANDERSON: Moving on.

HAMMER: On to Part 2 now of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Special Report": "Mel Gibson: The Actor." Just how did Mel Gibson make it to the A-list in Hollywood? His success along the way has been pockmarked with alcohol abuse. But just how did he get to be so successful? And just what the heck did the show "Jeopardy!" have to do with any of it.

Here comes CNN`s Sharon Collins for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


COLLINS (voice-over): Gibson is known as one of Australia`s most famous exports. But he was born in upstate New York.

CAGLE: His father was a railroad man and the family fell on incredibly hard times when his father had an injury. But the saving grace for the family came in 1968, when Hutton Gibson, who was very, very smart won $25,000 on "Jeopardy!"

COLLINS: The windfall helped Gibson`s father move the family to Australia when Mel was 12, in part so his sons would avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. The children were brought up as strict Catholics.

CAGLE: Mel in his life has been heavily influenced by his father. His father was very unhappy with what he considered the modernization of the Catholic Church in the 1960s. So Mel has now, after a few wild years, embraced the same kind of very, very conservative Catholicism that his father believed in.

COLLINS: Gibson considered joining the priesthood as a youth, but instead found his way into acting. He attended Australia`s National Institute of Dramatic Art after his sister sent in an application.

GIBSON: She just wanted to get me out of the house.


COLLINS: In 1979, 23-year-old Mel Gibson landed the lead in the Australian action film "Mad Max." The film was not a huge box office hit. However, the sequel, "The Road Warrior," was.

ROZEN: Mel Gibson was just totally cool in "Road Warrior."

GIBSON: You want to get out of here? You talk to me.

ROZEN: He was obviously the sort of fabulous, tough guy with a little bit of a kind of sneering sense of humor and it proved a real potent combination.

COLLINS: In 1985, "People" magazine named Gibson its first Sexiest Man Alive.

GIBSON: The Sexiest Man Alive. Hey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you think?

GIBSON: Well, it`s true, of course. And I was just very relieved to read that I wasn`t the sexiest man dead.

COLLINS: He may have been sexy, but he wasn`t available. In 1980, he married Robyn Moore, a nurse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the ways Mel shows her respect is by not talking about her. He`ll talk about changing the baby`s diapers and being a dad and all of that stuff, but he really respects her right to privacy.

COLLINS: But in the mid 1980s, Gibson was also known as Mad Mel, with a reputation for drinking and causing trouble.

While filming the movie, "The Bounty," Gibson was involved a bar fight forcing the director to temporarily shoot Gibson from one side. And in 1984, he was arrested for drunken driving while filming "Mrs. Soffell" in Toronto.

CAGLE: It was not that long ago when Mel`s reputation was really, you know, despite the wife and children, a guy who really liked to go out and tie one on. And that`s what he was known for.

COLLINS: In 1985, after making four films in little more than a year, Gibson realized he needed a break.

GIBSON: I wasn`t channeling the energy properly. I was too much in the race and I didn`t have enough Petrol, but I was going for the finish line anyway. And I think you just got to make a pit stop every now and then. Don`t you love these crappy analogies?

Come on, we got to get up and catch bad guys.

COLLINS: After a year off in Australia, Gibson returned to Hollywood with a bang, in the movie "Lethal Weapon."

GIBSON: He`s got a gun.

COLLINS: The film became the biggest hit of his young career. Mel Gibson was a full-fledged star.

GIBSON: There`s no way to prepare for it. I think you do yourself a disservice by trying to sort of rail out against it because you`re only doing damage to yourself. You might as well lay back and enjoy it.


HAMMER: That was Sharon Collins for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Now according to, Mel Gibson`s very controversial "The Passion of the Christ," still remains the top-grossing R-rated film of all time. Did you know that? It has made more than $370 million. His next film, "Apocalypto," is scheduled to be released December 8. The story centers around the Mayan civilization, and it`s spoken in the Mayan dialect of the 1500s. The entire movie. The film`s movie studio, Disney, says it has no plans to move the date of the release.

ANDERSON: Kind of a marketing nightmare for Disney, though.

OK. We want to remind you that SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is now on seven nights a week. That`s right; we are bringing TV`s most provocative entertainment news show to your weekend. Be sure to check us out; SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Saturday and Sunday, 11 p.m. Eastern. That is 8 Pacific.

HAMMER: So last night we (AUDIO GAP) to chime in and vote online in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." The question was, "Mel`s Mistake: Is his alleged DUI worse than his anti-Semitic comments?"

Look at this: split right down the middle. Forty-nine percent of you say yes; 51 percent of you said no.

Let`s check out a couple of the e-mails we received. We heard from Kathy, who lives in Florida. Kathy wrote: "It`s definitely worse a more serious charge because he was putting other people`s lives at risk."

We also heard from Sylvia, who lives in Washington. She writes, "I don`t have a problem with his DUI. However, I do have a problem with what he said."

Brooke, what an unbelievable it has been with this Mel Gibson story. You have been on top of it 24 hours a day in Hollywood, as we have been in New York.

ANDERSON: It`s really been remarkable, one of the biggest stories in Hollywood in a long time, A.J. And it`s really going to be interesting to see how it all shakes it out because some are calling from -- for Hollywood to shun Mel Gibson, while others are saying, Hey, who of us have never made a mistake.

HAMMER: Yes, but...

ANDERSON: So it will be fascinating to see what happens.

HAMMER: But the silence from Hollywood stars speaking out on this, it`s been deafening. It`s amazing.


HAMMER: We heard Jodie Foster earlier in the program with a few things to say. But that`s...

ANDERSON: But many are keeping quiet, you`re right.

HAMMER: That`s been pretty much it.

ANDERSON: Probably concerned about their own career, their own perception with the public.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night coming right back.

ANDERSON: That`s right.


HAMMER: It is time now for the "`Entertainment Weekly` Must List,`" five things "EW" says you got to check out.

See the new animated film "Ant Bully." A kid gets so fed up with being bullied, he takes out his frustration on the ants in his backyard.

And next, "EW" says to check out the complete third season of HBO`s crime series "The Wire." It`s now out on DVD.

Then pick up a copy of Tom Petty`s third solo album, "Highway Companion." "EW" says it`s "a pleasant album, showcasing the classic Petty."

Also, fall for the classic couple on screen and off, "Bogie & Bacall," with the release of the fourth film-DVD set.

And finally, you want a good read this summer? "EW" says pick up a copy of the book "Getting Stoned With Savages."

For more on the "Must List," pick up your copy of "Entertainment Weekly," which is on newsstands now.

ANDERSON: We`ve been asking you to vote on tonight`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day": "Mel Gibson`s Alcoholism: Is it an excuse for what he said?" Keep voting: Write to us at We do appreciate your e-mails, and we`re going to read some of them on Monday.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be back for your weekend. Time to find out what is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with your "SHOWBIZ Marquee."

Once the weekend is over on Monday, stars and religion. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes a look at celebrities who are wearing their religion on their sleeve, like these people and Alice Cooper. Yes, John Travolta, too. The stars who speak out about faith and whether that sets a good example. We`ll get into that on Monday.

Also on Monday, Danny Bonaduce. The former child star of "The Partridge Family" certainly has seen some turbulent times, and we watched it play out on reality TV. We`ll get his take on battling addiction in the public eye Monday, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Have a great weekend. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Join us this weekend for more SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

In the meantime, Glenn Beck is next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News. Keep it right here.


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