Jewish actor Jason Isaacs was stunned to learn about his friend Mel Gibson's alleged drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006, because he remembers his The Patriot co-star as a "tender" man.
The Lethal Weapon star was detained on a drink-driving charge five years ago and was accused of making offensive remarks to the cop who arrested him. Gibson apologised several times for his behaviour and quit booze following the outburst.
Isaacs admits he was surprised to read about Gibson's supposed rant, but concedes he "can't make excuses" for his "troubled" pal.
He tells Britain's Guardian newspaper, "He's a very tender, troubled man whose rightwing politics I could never share. I still think of him on the set of The Patriot smoking a fag (cigarette) and telling some hysterically gynaecological gag and then turning round and accessing huge wells of emotion as he holds his (movie) son Heath Ledger's dead body.
"The night of that rant he had come from (the home of) a Jewish friend of mine who has an orthodox Jewish wife and had taken a gift for them - that got lost in the headlines. I heard the tapes and I can't make excuses. That said he will be enormously troubled about what he heard on those tapes. We all know people who when they're drunk want to get people to hit them and that's part of what he did."
Isaacs reveals he spoke to Gibson at an event a few months after the incident and adds, "He came up to me, so I said: 'Rabbi Gibson!' And he said: 'Give me a break - I was drunk.' I hope he finds peace."