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OTRC: Jodie Foster feels 'blessed' to have Mel Gibson in 'The Beaver'

Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson appear in a scene from the 2011 movie 'The Beaver.' (Summit Entertainment)

Jodie Foster says she feels "blessed" to have Mel Gibson in her new movie "The Beaver," while co-star Jennifer Lawrence jokes the actor should have won an Oscar just for the way he read the script.

In "The Beaver," set for release on May 20, Gibson plays Walter Black, a depressed father who uses a beaver hand puppet to communicate with his family. Foster directs and stars in the film as Black's wife.

I've been friends with Mel for over 15 years," Foster said in an interview provided by the movie's studio, Summit Entertainment. "He's such a talented actor. I feel amazingly blessed to have somebody like that who really took on the character, brought so much to it and no muss, no fuss - he came in and it was two takes and he left. And that's who Mel is."

Lawrence, who was nominated for an Academy Award earlier this year for her role in "Winter's Bone," plays the girlfriend of Black's teenage son.

"Mel really carries the movie in an amazing way," Lawrence said. "He is incredible at what he does. I remember at the table read looking at him going, 'This guy needs an Oscar for the table read.'"

Gibson's recent legal problems have overshadowed his acting career. He made headlines over the past year due to an ugly custody battle with his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva over their baby daughter.

He turned himself over to authorities on Wednesday, March 16, after a Los Angeles court accepted his plea bargain regarding a misdemeanor battery case, opened following a January 2010 confrontation with her.

The actor was last week sentenced to informal probation for 36 months, 16 hours of community service, a 53-week domestic violence program, continued mental health counseling and a $400 domestic violence fine. If he violates his probation, Gibson could face up to a year in prison.

Grigorieva says Gibson punched her in the face during the confrontation. Gibson denies this and said in court documents filed in June 2010 that he slapped Grigorieva in a bid to protect their baby, who she was holding in her arms at the time.

Gibson has also made headlines due to a recorded racist, sexist and explicit rant he is said to have made against Grigorieva. He has not confirmed it is his voice on the recordings.

Foster defended Gibson, who also starred with her in the 1994 film "Maverick", after the audio clips surfaced online.

She also defended Gibson after a 2006 DUI tirade in which he hurled anti-Semitic and sexist comments at the arresting police officers. He later entered rehab for alcohol-related treatment and his conviction has since been expunged.

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