Mel Gibson’s billion dollar divorce has instigated a fire sale of sorts. And to an ironic buyer. You thought only politics made for strange bedfellows. Divorce does, too!
Over the weekend, it was announced that Gibson ‘ whose career has nosedived since his 2006 DUI arrest and spewing of anti-Semitic comments ‘ sold the U.K.-based distribution arm of his Icon production company. The buyer is Access Industries, owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik, a Russian Jew who is a U.S. citizen.
Talk about ironies. On Friday, a day before the deal was finalized, Gibson’s Russian (but not Jewish) girlfriend gave birth to his eighth child. Gibson is still in the middle of divorcing his wife of 27 years, Robyn, mother of his seven older kids.
Icon, run by Gibson’s pal Bruce Davey, has been a player in the field of international film distribution for years. But the divorce has a hefty price tag since Gibson’s wife is entitled to half of everything he owns. Something had to give, and it was Icon U.K. He still retains his Icon Production company in America, which produced the controversial films “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto.”
Blavatnik’s front man is Stewart Till, former head of the U.K. Film Commission. Till has big plans for a new Icon U.K. But the substantial sum he paid comes from Blavatnik, a Harvard Business School graduate whom Forbes listed at Number 44 this year on its roster of 400 richest Americans ‘ right between Steve Jobs and David Geffen.
Gibson’s first starring role in many years comes at the end of January 2010 ‘ a traditional dumping ground for so-so films ‘ when he plays a police detective avenging his daughter’s death in “Edge of Darkness.”