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New Mel Gibson film to be shown to select audiences

OKLAHOMA CITY (MCT) – Mel Gibson will come to Oklahoma soon to preview his new movie “Apocalypto” before select American Indian audiences.

Last-minute problems with the film caused Gibson to cancel three screenings scheduled for late September – one at Cameron University in Lawton and two at Riverwind Casino south of Norman, said Jhane Myers, the Oklahoma City publicist arranging the visit.

“He’s definitely coming. It’s just a matter of when,” Myers said.

Gibson co-wrote and directed “Apocalypto,” an action-adventure film set in the final days of the Mayan civilization in Mexico. It is scheduled for release Dec. 8, according to the film’s Web site.

The movie stars Rudy Youngblood, Comanche/Cree/

Yaqui, who lived near Ada before moving to Los Angeles in 2005. Four months later, Gibson cast Youngblood in “Apocalypto’s” lead role.

“This is the first time a Native American has had a starring role in a feature film,” Myers said. “Rudy is kind of breaking ground here,” she said.

The screenings will be by invitation only to audiences of no more than 60 people, Myers said.

Gibson “wanted to keep it small because he doesn’t want everybody knowing about the film in case he has to change something,” Myers said.

Gibson will speak briefly before each preview, introduce Youngblood and show the film, she said.

Myers will accompany Gibson during his Oklahoma visit and on to Santa Fe, N.M., and Austin, Texas.

Three members of the Oklahoma Film and Music Commission were planning to attend one of the screenings before it was canceled. Commission Director Jill Simpson said she and her staff were going to bring information about Oklahoma and the state’s incentive program for filmmakers.

“We just hope for a good opportunity to sell him on Oklahoma,” Simpson said.

<i>Copyright (c) 2006, The Daily Oklahoman. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.