Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson (born January 3, 1956) is an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for his action hero roles, particularly his breakout role as Max Rockatansky in the first three films of the post-apocalyptic action series Mad Max and as Martin Riggs in the buddy cop film series Lethal Weapon. Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia, when he was 12 years old. He studied acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where he starred opposite Judy Davis in a production of Romeo and Juliet. During the 1980s, he founded Icon Entertainment, a production company, which independent film director Atom Egoyan has called "an alternative to the studio system". Director Peter Weir cast him as one of the leads in the World War I drama Gallipoli (1981), which earned Gibson a Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute, as well as a reputation as a serious, versatile actor. In 1995, Gibson produced, directed, and starred in Braveheart, a historical epic, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, the Academy Award for Best Director, and the Academy Award for Best Picture. He later directed and produced The Passion of the Christ, a biblical drama that was both financially successful and highly controversial. He received further critical notice for his directorial work of the action-adventure film Apocalypto (2006), which is set in Mesoamerica during the early 16th century. After several legal issues and controversial statements leaked to the public, Gibson's public image plummeted significantly, affecting his careers in acting and directing. His career began seeing resurgence with his performance in Jodie Foster's The Beaver (2011), and his directorial comeback after an absence of 10 years, Hacksaw Ridge (2016), which won two Academy Awards and was nominated for another four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson, his second nomination in the category.