Fresh from its 50th anniversary celebrations, it has been announced that Beano comic strip Dennis the Menace is to get the Hollywood treatment – directed by and starring actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson, who will play the eponymous schoolboy anti-hero.
‘As an anti-establishment figure, Dennis the Menace is the perfect vehicle for a movie,’ Gibson told movie journalists. ‘Far from the stereotypical juvenile delinquent, this misunderstood kid is a complex, multi-layered character who must face up to a host of conflicting issues. I don’t want to know how he puts a spider down the back of someone’s shirt, I want to know why – this movie will explore that.’
Filmed and set in Scotland, Dennis the Menace: the Movie sees the spiky-haired hero in a fight for freedom against the evil oppressors. ‘As a story about the struggle for liberation this movie is as relevant today as it’s ever been – Dennis’ attempts to stay one step ahead of his dad has parallels with the struggle against the Gadaffi regime in Libya,’ claimed the star. ‘I’m not gonna give the game away, but Dennis’ peashooter showdown will resonate with anyone who has tried to face down the military forces of a dictatorial regime.’
Paramount studios is currently tight-lipped as to who is being cast as sidekick canine Gnasher, but movie insiders have tipped Lethal Weapon 2 co-star Joe Pesci for the role of the Abyssinian wire-haired tripe hound.
Armed with his trusty catapult, the hero must also fight for the love of a good woman – in this case Minnie the Minx, played by fellow director Drew Barrymore. ‘Minnie is Dennis’ soul mate,’ said the starlet-turned-executive. ‘They’re both striving to shrug off the bonds of authority, and they both wear red and black striped sweaters – there’s definitely some kind mutual attraction going on.’
However critics have already expressed displeasure over the film, accusing the production team of overlaying their own homophobic agenda on the children’s comic shenanigans. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has blasted Gibson for his portrayal of Walter the Softie as the movie’s main villain – a move that Gibson defends: ‘every movie has to have a bad guy and in this case it’s Walter, or Hershel as we’re gonna call him. He’s a good guy turned bad by his own inner turmoil – it’s one helluva role – I’m half tempted to play it myself!’
Gibson has also hit out at those who have accused the film of glorifying domestic violence, telling journalists at Cannes how the movie actually confronted this challenging subject. ‘We’re gonna tackle the issue of slippering head on. The scene when an alcoholic Granny bursts in with her Demon Whacker; well it makes for uncomfortable view- hang on my cellphone’s ringing… Hello? I’m being charged with what!? Jesus, it’s gonna take more than a thick book down the back of my pants to get me outta this one…’