Movie wildman Robert Downey Jr thanks Mel Gibson for helping him beat his well-publicised drug and alcohol addiction.

Gibson held back production of his new movie The Singing Detective until Downey Jr was out of rehab and ready to take the lead role. Mel - who has himself fought problems with drink in the past - also plays Downey Jr's psychiatrist in the film.

The 38-year-old CHAPLIN star says, "For me, Mel's kind of like the crazy shrink he played in the movie.

"A lot of times, he could look at what I was going through and have an objectivity about it that was really helpful.

"He's already been through and transcended a lot of the stuff that I struggled with for so long, so he was able to look back on it with his own unorthodox way - sort of like a big brother who keeps playing tricks on you, but you get the joke in the end."

16/10/2003 17:27