In their never-ending attempt to entice moviegoers to their features, film studios often simplify complicated or convoluted plots in film trailers. But in doing so, they sometimes fail to convey the full scope of a movie. So is the case with Edge of Darkness, Mel Gibson’s first acting role since 2003.
Trailers have sold the film as a revenge thriller with Gibson, cast as a father pushed to the edge trying to find his daughter’s killer. And while that is at the heart of the film, it’s only one element of this multi-faceted film.
“Yes, there’s much more of a story there,” jokes Shawn Roberts who plays Gibson’s daughter’s boyfriend in the movie. “It’s one of those old fashioned movies.”
That story, which also includes double-crosses and political and corporate intrigue was based on a 1985 BBC series of the same name and adapted, among others, by William Monahan, who also penned The Departed.
Roberts, a Stratford, Ont., native who now spends most of his time in Vancouver, shared all of his scenes with Gibson, who he described more than anything as “just a guy.”
“He can go from being Mel Gibson, to being (his character) Thomas Craven in a flash. I’m sitting there on the side of the set getting ready for my seven pages of ‘Oh my God, I’m just about to die’ dialogue and he’s fiddling around with stuff on set, and joking with crew members. And the second that rolling is called out, he’s there and he’s on.”
To get the part Roberts made an audition tape and sent it to the film’s director, Martin Campbell. But after some reflection Roberts decided to send another.
“I made one tape up in Vancouver and sent it down, but I wasn’t terribly pleased with it,” he says. He decided to make another in the hopes that the director would disregard the original.
“You can keep it, you can send it,” he thought, “but I’m making another one.”
Despite the high profile Hollywood gig, which will be followed by a role in the latest instalment of the Resident Evil series, Roberts’s still doesn’t see himself as having “made it” in Hollywood.
“I think one of the strongest messages is don’t come to Hollywood until they come calling,” he says. “And I don’t think I’ve made that transition yet.”