Mel Gibson's 2011 is already looking a lot brighter than his 2010. His new movie "The Beaver" has been snapped up as a world premiere event at the upcoming South By Southwest Festival in Texas.
Additionally, "Paul" is announced to have its North American premiere at the festival. The sci-fi comedy stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as sci-fi geeks who unexpectedly meet an alien named Paul who later hitches a ride with them.
"The Beaver", directed by Jodie Foster, was put on hold last year when the movie star hit the headlines amid reports of a domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. His reputation took a further hit after he and Grigorieva began a bitter custody battle over their daughter, Lucia, and the controversy is said to have cost him a cameo in the upcoming "The Hangover" sequel.
But executives at Summit Entertainment are refusing to shelve the new movie amid the controversy - and announced the film would be released in the spring of 2011. Now, it seems it will get a fanfare after organizers of South By Southwest selected The Beaver premiere as a festival highlight in March.
Festival producer Janet Pierson admits she and her colleagues thought long and hard before agreeing to include the film's opening night in its schedule. She tells the Los Angeles Times, "We didn't want to become involved with a film that would hijack our festival with tabloid noise, but we were completely moved by the film itself. It's a tough topic and incredibly well realized."
Foster, who also appears in the movie, will hit the red carpet at the festival. It is not known if Gibson will attend. The actor/director's custody battle with Grigorieva continues in Los Angeles.
"The Beaver" will get limited release in the U.S. on March 23, while "Paul" will open wide on March 18.