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Big star, small town: Mel Gibson makes minor stir as new movie shoots in Southport

Big star, small town: Mel Gibson makes minor stir as new movie shoots in Southport

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SOUTHPORT — Actor and director Mel Gibson was seen around Southeastern North Carolina last week while a movie he’s in, “Boys of Summer,” started shooting scenes in Southport, creating a minor stir in the small town.

On Friday, “Boys of Summer,” a supernatural thriller set on Massachusetts island Martha’s Vineyard, was shooting scenes in downtown Southport near Port City Java, by the Southport Market general store at the intersection of Moore and Howe streets, and in the area of the Provision Company and Fishy Fishy restaurants.

The historic Amuzu Theatre is also being used as a location and was showing off some early ’90s movie posters, indicating the era when the film appears to be set.

Gibson was spotted locally at several locations, including Mr. P’s Bistro on Howe Street. Mr. P’s general manager Chris Smith said Gibson had dinner there.

Gibson also worked out at Cape Fear Fitness on Southport-Supply Road, according to a post on the business’ Facebook page.

“Never know who you’ll see at Cape Fear Fitness,” the post read. “Honored to have you Mel Gibson! Come back!”

Multiple messages left for the owner of Cape Fear Fitness were not returned.

Southport, of course, has hosted its share of movie shoots over the years, including “Sleeping with the Enemy” (1991), “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997) and “Safe Haven” (2013).

Aside from perhaps Julia Roberts, who starred in “Sleeping with the Enemy,” Gibson might be the best-known actor to work in Southport.

“Boys of Summer” is about a boy — played by Mason Thames, who also stars in upcoming Wilmington-shot horror film “The Black Phone,” due out in January — who thinks some sort of supernatural creature might be hunting children in the area.

Gibson plays an aging detective who helps the boy. “Boys of Summer” is being directed by the actor David Henrie, and was written by Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano, who co-wrote “The Peanuts Movie.”

Gibson is a two-time Oscar nominee for best director who won in 1996 for “Braveheart,” which won Best Picture and in which he also starred. He’s is known for starring in the “Mad Max” movies and the series of “Lethal Weapon” cop-buddy comedies, and has directed a half-dozen films including “The Passion of the Christ,” “Apocalypto” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” for which he was Oscar-nominated as best director.

Gibson has also faced significant criticism for more than a decade for making racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic comments.

One of the most notorious incidents came during a 2006 arrest for DWI when a police officer recorded Gibson using anti-Semitic language.

In 2006, his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, who is the mother of one of Gibson’s children, released a recording she made of Gibson in which he used a racial slur to describe Blacks and profanely criticized her for wearing “provocative” clothing.


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