Mel Gibson Steps Out for Apocalypto

09/25/2006 at 08:25 AM EDT

Mel Gibson Steps Out for Apocalypto
Mel Gibson
ARmando Gallo/Retna
Two months after his drunk-driving arrest, Mel Gibson is slowly stepping back into the public eye, visiting two towns in Oklahoma and a film festival in Texas last week to screen a rough cut of his film Apocalypto.

Gibson did not make public appearances in Oklahoma, but stopped by screenings at Cameron University in Lawton on Thursday and the Riverwind Casino in Goldsby on Friday, the Associated Press reports. He arrived at Cameron on Thursday morning wearing a mask and wig so he wouldn't be recognized, university rep Amber McNeil told the AP.

Jhane Myers, an Oklahoma City-based publicist who worked with Gibson during his visit to the state, said in a statement that the actor and director was "deeply touched by the warm reception he has received while in Oklahoma."

On Friday he made a surprise appearance at the Fantastic Fest, an event devoted to science-fiction and horror movies in Austin, Tex., where he took questions from the audience after the screening of Apocalypto, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Gibson drew parallels between the collapse of the Mayan society, dramatized in his film, and present-day America. "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," he told the audience. "What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"

Gibson said he plans more edits for the film, now more than two hours long. The rough cut, which did not include sound effects, score and some visual effects, earned a standing ovation from about one-third of the full house at Fantastic Fest.

In July, Gibson was excoriated after making anti-Semitic comments to a police officer while being arrested on drunk-driving charges. He later apologized and sought treatment for alcoholism.

Apocalypto is set to be released Dec. 8.

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