Early in his career, Mel Gibson did not get the leading roles that most people know him for in his career. Here are three early supporting roles where Gibson showed that he had what it takes to be a star.
1. “Summer City” (1977)
Now that he is a star, Gibson’s face is prominently displayed on anything involving the movie, and the repackaged promotional art for this movie is no different. But, at the time, he was cast as one of the supporting roles in the film in what is meant to be a buddy flick.
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"Summer City"'s premise is that four young men travel to Sydney to have a weekend of fun and surfing before one of them gets married. In what should have been a great time, things go horribly wrong. As a result, the four friends get involved in a murder plot involving the seduction of a 15-year-old girl.
2. “Attack Force Z” (1982)
This movie is loosely based on actual events from the World War II about a team of Australian soldiers sent to retrieve a Japanese official that wants to defect. John Phillip Law gets the starring position for this movie, which also starred Sam Neill.
Similar to “Summer City,” Gibson’s name and face are now given a more prominent status on movie covers. While the list of main characters in the film is relatively small, giving Gibson ample screen time, he was not meant to be the star of the film.
His portrayal of Capt. P.G. Kelly is unlike most of the others in his career. While some of his other roles have serious themes, too, they often make use of Gibson’s sense of humor and boyish charm. “Attack Force Z” is more somber, perhaps even darker than most other films that he has performed in during this career. Gibson’s character, for example, understands that if his team cannot rescue the defecting Japanese official, then they must kill him to prevent his capture by his countrymen.
3. “The Bounty” (1984)
Sir Anthony Hopkins has the lead role as Captain William Bligh in "The Bounty," while Gibson plays Fletcher Christian. In a telling of one of the most famous seafaring stories of all-time, these two friends become mortal enemies as Christian leads a mutiny against his former friend.
Despite his friendship and loyalty to his captain, Christian realizes that what he is doing needs to be done. At one point, screaming to Bligh in front of the mob that was once the ship’s crew, “I will run you through and then I will kill myself after!”
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