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Gaby Hoffmann Says Mel Gibson "Cursed and Screamed" at Her When She Was 11

The former child star appeared in his 1993 film The Man Without a Face.

Working on a Hollywood set is stressful, and from first-person accounts, we know that there are some actors who comport themselves better in that environment than others. And while you might assume that even the most frustrated stars would save their ire for their adult colleagues, one former child actor has claimed that her co-star and director "cursed and screamed" at her when she was just 11. Gaby Hoffmann appeared in Mel Gibson's 1993 directorial debut, The Man Without a Face, when she was a kid and has since called out the way the controversial celebrity behaved with her. Read on to find out more.

RELATED: Michael Douglas Yelled at Her on Set Until She Cried, Former Child Actor Said.

Gaby Hoffman was one of the most prolific child actors of the late '80s and '90s.

A New York City kid, Hoffmann got her start in the business early, which is no surprise, as her parents were both actor as well. Her mother Viva is known for appearing in several of Andy Warhol's films, and her father, Anthony Herrera, starred on As the World Turns off and on for 30 years. Hoffmann had her first movie role in 1989's Field of Dreams at age 7, playing the daughter of Kevin Costner's character.

She went on to star in several more movies as a child actor, including Uncle Buck, This Is My Life, Sleepless in Seattle, and Now and Then. She also briefly starred in her own sitcom, Someone Like Me.

RELATED: 19 Child Actors Who Quit Hollywood for Good.

She worked with Gibson on her fifth movie.

Mel Gibson in 1993
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Gibson was best known for the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon franchises (as well as more dramatic roles, including Hamlet) in 1993, when he directed and starred in The Man Without a Face. The film is an adaptation of Isabelle Holland's 1972 novel and is about a man named Justin McLeod (Gibson) who has become an outcast following an accident that left him partially disfigured. Despite Justin's appearance, a boy named Chuck Nordstadt (Nick Stahl) asks him to be his tutor, and the two develop a bond that's tested by their community's objections. Hoffman played one of Chuck's sisters, Megan.

The movie wasn't a massive box office hit, but garnered decent reviews. Roger Ebert said at the time that The Man Without a Face "shows [Gibson as a filmmaker] not only with a good visual sense, but with what is even rarer, the confidence to know what needs to be told and what can be left unsaid."

Hoffman said Gibson made her cry on set.

Gaby Hoffmann in 2014

Now 42, Hoffmann continued acting into adulthood, including in several independent movies and in a starring role on the series Transparent.

In a 2013 appearance on HuffPost Live, she opened up about some of the difficulties she endured as a child actor—namely, the difficult personalities she encountered.

"I think I happened to work with sort of a bunch of slightly difficult male directors when I was a kid," she said, adding, "I've since worked with lots of male directors that I love, so I no longer see the distinction gender-wise."

She named John Hughes, who helmed Uncle Buck, as one of the "slightly difficult" filmmakers.

"And the other one was Mel Gibson, and I think we can all agree that's going to be tough for anybody," Hoffmann continued. "He screamed at me. Oh, God, he really screamed at me. He just started cursing and screaming at me."

The actor confirmed that his outburst made her cry. Asked why Gibson screamed at her, she answered, "I think I was acting like a kid instead of a professional actor. It happens once in a while when you're a kid actor."

RELATED: George Clooney Says Director Tried to Physically Fight Him on Set.

Gibson's career is full of controversies.

Mel Gibson in 2023
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Gibson's alleged verbal abuse of Hoffman wouldn't crack the Top 10 most controversial moments of the actor-director's career. In the '90s, he was taken to task for making homophobic remarks to several outlets, including PlayboyWinona Ryder claimed that he made both homophobic and anti-semitic jokes to her and her friend at a party. In 2006, he was pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence (not his first documented driving offense), and went on an offensive rant claiming that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

In 2010, his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva (who also recorded him berating her in a tirade in which he used the n-word) accused him Gibson of striking her during an argument. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge.

Despite all of this, Gibson has continued to work in Hollywood. In 2022 alone, he acted in seven movies. In 2016, he was nominated for the Best Director Oscar for his film Hacksaw Ridge, which was also nominated for Best Picture.

In her 2013 HuffPost interview, Hoffman said she hadn't seen Gibson since working with him on their 1993 movie. Asked what she would say to him then, she responded, "I hope you're feeling better, Mel."

James Grebey
James has been an entertainment journalist for more than a decade, writing and editing for outlets like Vulture, Inverse, Polygon, TIME, The Daily Beast, SPIN Magazine, Fatherly, and more. Read more
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