Gibson uses 'Passion' pay to buy £8m island paradise in the Pacific

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The Independent Culture

The actor and director Mel Gibson has bought his own island paradise in Fiji, funded by the proceeds of his controversial film, The Passion of the Christ .

He is reportedly paying about £8m for the 5,411-acre island of Mago.

It is a snip for Gibson, who is expected to make £280m from the film, which angered some Jewish groups with its depiction of Christ's last days.

Gibson, 48, well-known for his loathing of the paparazzi, bought Mago from a Japanese hotel firm.

He is in good company. Earlier this year, the actor Johnny Depp bought a Caribbean island for about £1.6m.

According to the Fiji Times , Gibson stayed with his wife Robyn and their two children on a private estate in Fiji last week before flying to the island by helicopter last week to see if it was worth the price.

The island, which the international hotel developers Tokyu Corp of Japan bought in 1985 for £1.8m, is in the north-west sector of the Northern Lau Group of islands.

Mago "rises majestically" to 200m on its eastern cliffs and is fringed entirely by protective reefs, "powder-white beaches" and "turquoise lagoons", says estate agents Colliers International. Mago's indigenous Fijian owners were moved off the island when they converted to Christianity in the 19th century.

An English planter, Rupert Ryder, purchased the island, and his family held it until 1930, when it was sold to copra planter Jim Barron.

The hotel group did not develop the island and Gibson hopes to use the beaches and two lagoons to entertain friends in private.

The Passion of the Christ is only nine months old but has shattered video sales records and is also making money on pay-per-view TV.

Gibson's personal profit is likely to be further boosted by DVD sales of the film.

The film was the biggest-ever release not during the summer or on a holiday.

Gibson's desire to hide himself away is not surprising. Last week, a homeless man who repeatedly asked to pray with him was ordered to stand trial for stalking.

Zack Sinclair, 34, was first arrested in September after allegedly turning up at Gibson's home and local church and demanding to pray with the actor.

Gibson - a devout Catholic, with seven children - said he found Mr Sinclair's behaviour "alarming, harassing and annoying", and expressed concern for "the safety of my family". He added that the letters were "alarming, harassing and annoying".