Mel Gibson`s next film to debut at Texas festival

Los Angeles: Mel Gibson`s return to the big screen will begin in March at the South by Southwest festival. Organizers of the Austin, Texas, multimedia entertainment festival announced Thursday that "The Beaver" will be one of five films that will have their international premieres at the event, commonly known as SXSW.

Jodie Foster directed and co-stars in "The Beaver," which features Gibson as a troubled family man trying to cope with help from an unusual friend — a beaver puppet he wears on his hand.

The film will be shown a week before a limited public release on March 23, with an expansion to more theaters planned on April 8.

Its release had been delayed as Gibson dealt with bad publicity from a public breakup with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Their split has spawned a bitter custody fight over their infant daughter, as well as investigations into claims of physical abuse by the actor-director and extortion by the Russian musician.

Los Angeles prosecutors are still mulling whether to press charges against either Gibson or Grigorieva.

It remains unclear whether the Gibson, who last appeared in 2010`s "Edge of Darkness," will attend South by Southwest.

SXSW film spokeswoman Rebecca Feferman said Foster will attend the premiere when it is shown in the festival`s "centerpiece" slot.

Gibson`s publicist, Alan Nierob, said in an e-mail that he did not yet know whether the 55-year-old Academy-Award winner would make an appearance.

"The Beaver" also features Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence.

Among the other films premiering at SWSX is the documentary "Conan O`Brien Can`t Stop," which focused on the comedian`s tour after his much-publicized split from NBC as host of "The Tonight Show" last year.

Bureau Report

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