It has been well documented about the friendship between Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge) and Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame). The two have backed each other up through the darkest of times that has almost tanked both of their careers.
Mel Gibson and his superhero star buddy first shared the big screen in Air America in 1990. It followed a pilot who is recruited for a covert operation during the Vietnam war. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies) and starred Nancy Travis (Mr. Mercedes), Ken Jenkins (Scrubs), and David Marshall Grant (The Devil Wears Prada).
Starring as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin earned Robert Downey Jr. an Oscar nomination in 1992. He was on top of the world back then. His drug-induced state four years later, in 1996, where he was found in possession of cocaine, heroin, and a pistol, was a downhill trajectory. After violating probation, he was sent to prison in 1999. In 2003, The Singing Detective was his way back after being behind bars. The problem was that nobody wanted to touch him, especially without insurance. Mel Gibson stepped in as he insured the fallen actor.
Braveheart, Mad Max, and The Patriot put Mel Gibson as an A-lister as he had successes with the Academy Awards and the box office. In 2006, it all fell apart. He was pulled over for a DUI where he went on an anti-Semitic tirade and used sexist language to the officer. On top of his divorce and in 2010 being recorded of using racial slurs, it was game over.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs) stood by Mel Gibson as his allies. Foster co-starred with him in 2011’s The Beaver with Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and Cherry Jones (Defending Jacob). Meanwhile, Tony Stark himself urged the industry to forgive his friend.
Despite Marvel boosting Robert Downey Jr. to reclaiming his A-lister status and becoming a beloved icon, Mel Gibson has criticized the franchise. He spoke to the Washington Post about how those superhero blockbusters are “more violent than anything” that he has done, despite doing R-rated action flicks. He continued about how the difference there is that people “give a shit” about characters in his movies.
Both stars earned their careers back over time. Robert Downey Jr. had a one-two punch in 2008 with the ensemble comedy Tropic Thunder and helping kickstart the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. He went on to have two sequels for his hero, four Avengers movies, and Captain America: Civil War in between the epic team-up installments. Mel Gibson has had plenty of acting work, and he swept at the Oscars with Hacksaw Ridge with leading star Andrew Garfield (Mainstream).
Hollywood has been more unified in its support of the Marvel actor than Mel Gibson. While people like Andrew Garfield have come in support of the director and actor, others have been less forgiving for obvious reasons. While his friend was defamed briefly over addiction, racism and misogyny is a different story. Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Keegan-Michael Key (Schmigadoon!) made fun of Gibson while slamming him on their former sketch comedy show Key & Peele. While they made fun of him multiple times for outrageous comments, but in one skit, they referred to him as “Racist-Ass Mellie Gibsons.” Regardless, it appears he has survived with his long list of projects in the works and the standing ovation he received for Hacksaw Ridge.