Date: 24th January 2001
HELEN HUNT was so terrified of falling victim to MEL GIBSON's practical jokes in her last movie, she got down on her knees and begged him to spare her.
The PAY IT FORWARD star, 37, who co-stars with Gibson in the upcoming movie WHAT WOMEN WANT, says the Hollywood heartthrob's reputation as a remorseless practical joker terrified her. Hunt says, "I went to him just about on bended knee and said, 'I'm the wrong person for this.'" And she was amazed to find it worked - although, while Gibson left her well alone, he couldn't resist planting a frieze dried rat next to director NANCY MEYERS drink.
Now Gibson, who once made JULIA ROBERTS erupt in hysterical screams when he gave her a gift-wrapped freeze-dried rat - his speciality - has found his biggest fan in Hunt. Hunt says, "You know how a very submissive dog just immediately rolls on its back and goes, 'All right, if you need to do whatever, but I'm asking you not to?' "That's sort of what I did with Mel. I just turned into putty." (LE/DV/PDD)