Joe Eszterhas: Mel and Back

'Basic Instinct' screenwriter Joe Eszterhas called in promote his Kindle Single book, 'Heaven and Mel', the story of his recent relationship with Mel Gibson. After some confusion with the phones ("Mel Gibson must've jinxed the lines."), Joe first explained his chronically hoarse voice was the result of throat cancer. He beat the disease in 2001 thanks to his family, doctors, and a religious conversion: "I haven't been lobotomized or castrated and I still use a lot of f-words. But I pray." Joe said Mel first contacted him to write a screenplay about Judas Maccabeus: "He said he wanted to do a Jewish 'Braveheart.'" Why? In Mel's words: "Because I think I should." Joe had concerns ("His dad still is a Holocaust denier."), and they were all confirmed in his mind when Mel rejected the script at his home in Costa Rica--tapes of Mel's tirade, recorded by Joe's teen son, made international news.

Mel's Angry Core

While staying at Mel's Costa Rica home, Joe witnessed Mel's bizarre outlook firsthand. It started when Mel allegedly called Pope John Paul II the "Anti-Christ" and accosted a priest: "He feels any priest who was ordained after 1963 is part of this devilish, Jewish conspiracy. … His very center is that of hatred." Mel also railed against John Lennon (Mel is glad John's dead.), Walter Cronkite ("A liar.") and TMZ founder Harvey Levin. Joe said Mel didn't drink or use drugs, but still needed some kind of intervention. At one point, Mel pulled Joe's son aside and disparaged his ex-wife, Oksana Grigorieva: "He says, 'I'm going to f' her in the ass and stab her to death while I do it.' This is a 15-year-old kid." His climactic meltdown was like a scene from 'The Exorcist': "A demonic bellowing. It's Linda Blair come to life."