Mel Gibson’s acts of contrition and his several apologies for making anti-Semitic statements last week have been accepted by Flory van Beek.
Van Beek, a Holocaust survivor, is the proposed subject of an ABC miniseries which Gibson was supposed to produce. ABC has since removed him from the project.
In an exclusive chat this afternoon, Mrs. Van Beek told me: “I believe in atonement. In the Jewish religion, if you atone for your sins you have to be forgiven. I forgive Mel Gibson and accept his apology.”
But Van Beek — author of the memoir "Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death" (Seven Locks Press) — confirmed for me that the ABC Television Network does not want Gibson involved with the project anymore. Other sources told me earlier today that the miniseries will continue, but without Gibson.
Van Beek told me: “The American people are very sensational. In a week, this will be forgotten.”
She added: “So many people think what he said. When I came to the United States, it was very anti-Semitic.”
Van Beek and her husband Felix, who live in Southern California, are Dutch. They survived the Holocaust when three families of Dutch Christians hid the couple in their homes for three years.
By the way, Van Beek pointed out that the real producer of her miniseries was always supposed to be, and still is, Daniel Sladek, a former talent manager whose previous projects included Marlo Thomas’ award-winning film “Nobody’s Children.”
“I’ve never met Mel Gibson and I’ve never seen 'Passion of the Christ,'” Van Beek told me. She added, using some Hollywood vernacular: “Mel Gibson was just involved because he had a deal with ABC.”
"World Trade Center," the movie, opens on Wednesday. It's an elegantly made film with a stickling for veracity. There are no conspiracy theories in it, but director Oliver Stone — who’s made movies about JFK, Nixon, Vietnam, South America and the National Football League — hasn’t given up his old bailiwick.
“There are conspiracies everywhere,” he reassured me at a very homey gathering last night for the cast, crew and real-life characters of "World Trade Center."
The venue was Osteria del Circo, and the guests included many Port Authority police officers, their families and survivors of dead officers who gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
Stone was accompanied by his girlfriend, Chong Son Chong, whom he introduced as his wife, and their 10-year-old daughter, Tara.
But his other guest was even more interesting: his elegant, Paris-born French mother, Jacqueline Stone. Her favorite Stone movie?
“The Doors,” said Jacqueline in her heavy French accent. “You know, that was my time. I was wild.”
Indeed, she was, but Jacqueline Stone also told me that despite Oliver’s liberalism, she and his father were both Republicans. She remains one to this day.
“You can be wild and be a Republican,” she said. Jacqueline Stone lives and votes in New York City, by the way.
Chong, a lovely brunette, told me her favorite Stone movie is “Born on the Fourth of July.” She’s seen them all, in case you were wondering.
Nicolas Cage made a brief appearance at Circo, wearing a warm-looking three-piece beige-colored suit and a sort of pageboy wig of long, dark brown hair. He didn’t stay long, but he welcomed everyone to the cocktail party.
Cage’s screen wife, Maria Bello, who can do no wrong right now, greeted strangers and chatted with the cops’ families, as did actor Stephen Dorff. He was made an honorary Port Authority cop by John McLoughlin, the real-life cop whom Cage plays in the film.
Of course, it was a movie crowd, so there was a lot of talk about Mel Gibson. The room was divided about whether or not Gibson was “finished” after the events of the last few days.
Everyone concurred that the actor probably doesn’t care too much, as he is very rich. This last fact is mentioned constantly in film circles these days, as if Gibson’s personal wealth will ameliorate an impending exile.
But back to “World Trade Center.” Critics are not all in accord on this film, although Newsweek is very pro-Stone, as am I.
Stone told me that at a screening they’d had the night before, Courtney Love showed up and handed him an eight-page letter she’d written to him about some old business between them.
“She really likes me,” Stone said. “And she’s in great shape right now.”
We recalled how Stone produced “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” for which Love — as an actress — received a New York Film Critics Circle award. Stone presented it to her and said, memorably, “Courtney, savor this moment, it’s the only award you’ll ever get.”
“I was right, wasn’t I?” he said a bit facetiously.
More on "World Trade Center" tomorrow after tonight’s premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater.
Maybe you had to be on the breezy warm roof of 610 W. 26th St. last night to really appreciate what was going on. Hugo Boss sponsored a party with Interview magazine to help celebrate their music issue.
The guest band was Arckid, which consists of the Langdon brothers. Roy Langdon is married to actress Liv Tyler, and she was there (of course) with her mom, Bebe Buell, and her two dads.
No, it’s not a TV show. Liv was raised as the daughter of rocker Todd Rundgren until she discovered around age 10 that Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler was her biological father.
Then, in the spirit of family, the whole gang milled about on the roof, as well as famed photographer Bob Gruen, and another big-name rocker, David Bowie.
Steven Tyler brought his new girlfriend, Erin, whom he hugged a lot. Everyone got along famously, bopping up and down to Arckid. The group is terrific, by the way.
Tyler, who had surgery earlier this year for throat problems, looks and sounds great. He told me Aerosmith starts touring soon with Motley Crue.
“Someone’s gotta do it,” he said with a shrug.
The group is getting a "best of" album together for Christmas and may include one new song as well. Then they will begin thinking about a totally new album early next year.
As for Rundgren, we did talk about his exclusion so far from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“I wouldn’t go even if they inducted me,” he insisted. “I loved what the Sex Pistols did this year.”
Rundgren has every right to be bitter. Apart from hits like "Hello It’s Me" and "I Saw the Light," he has also been a seminal producer for Grand Funk Railroad, Badfinger, XTC and other groups.
After a while he said, “Let me know if I get in. I could come and not be happy about it.”