Warner Brothers is currently trying its best to convince Mel Gibson to direct the sequel to its 2016 comic book blockbuster, “Suicide Squad.”
A major studio courting Gibson for a big-budget franchise film seems to confirm what should have already been known: Gibson is back.
After years of Hollywood rejection and industry hate, Gibson clawed his way back to the A-list.
After years of Hollywood’s rejection and industry hate, Gibson clawed his way back to the A-list by continuing to work and finance his projects outside of the Hollywood system. His latest project, the faith-based “Hacksaw Ridge,” has made big waves at the box office and at various awards ceremonies since its release in November.
Gibson’s tackling of a comic book property would seem a little against character, since he so recently bashed the industry for its obsession with sanitized, comic book-inspired material.
“I look at them and scratch my head. I’m really baffled by it. I think there’s a lot of waste but maybe if I did one of those things with the green screens I’d find out different,” Gibson told Deadline last year. “I don’t know. Maybe they do cost that much … It seems to me that you could do it for less. If you’re spending outrageous amounts of money, $180 million or more, I don’t know how you make it back after the taxman gets you, and after you give half to the exhibitors … What did they spend on ‘Batman V Superman’ that they’re admitting to? And it’s a piece of s***.”
Similarly, Gibson criticized studios like Marvel for showing massive amounts of violence and destruction without ever seriously pondering the consequences of these stories. “They’re more violent than anything that I’ve done, but [in my movies], you give a s*** about the characters, which makes it matter more. That’s all I’ll say,” Gibson told The Washington Post.
However, he has now confirmed “Suicide Squad 2” is a project he’s been asked to do. At a Feb. 15 screening and question-and-answer event for “Ridge,” Gibson confirmed talks with Warner Brothers.
“So is this getting close to a deal or is it a first date?” asked the show’s moderator. Gibson responded with, “It’s kind of a first date,” according to cinelinx.com.
News of Gibson’s offer comes on the heels of his booking a handful of other major projects. He’s scored roles in “The Professor and the Madman” with Sean Penn, “Daddy’s Home 2” with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, and “Dragged Across Concrete,” which also stars one of his “Ridge” actors, Vince Vaughn.
All this positive Gibson news swirling around the internet is certainly a major change of pace for the artist. After independently financing and finding huge success with “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004, Gibson became a pariah in Hollywood. Audiences loved his movie, while critics and industry insiders balked at it. Despite making over $370 million domestically, it was passed over for major awards nominations. Forty-nine percent of critics gave the movie a positive review, while 80 percent of audiences enjoyed it — both scores, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
The actor/director faced major career setbacks when he was arrested for a DUI and multiple audio tapes revealed him to say some most unsavory things. Gibson has chalked up the incidents to alcohol and a slight mental break, but Hollywood didn’t care.
Gibson’s directorial effort “Berserker” — which was about Vikings — lost its star, Leonardo DiCaprio; Gibson lost a role in “The Hangover: Part II” after rumored protests from the cast; and studio head Amy Pascal and Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel called for the industry to cold-shoulder the former A-lister.
Over the next years, Gibson quietly released several small-budget films – “Get the Gringo” and “Blood Father” – and played supporting roles, such as villains, in “Machete Kills” and “The Expendables 3.” It wasn’t until the success of “Hacksaw Ridge” — which was made partly with Australian financing — that Hollywood seemed to embrace Gibson again. But let’s be honest: They had to. Gibson’s brand had simply become so popular again that they were forced to take notice and suddenly — it was OK to work with the man again.
Hollywood’s years-long protest of Mel Gibson wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t so hypocritical. This is the same industry that awarded a wanted fugitive and admitted child rapist — Roman Polanski — a Best Director Academy Award in 2003 for “The Pianist.” The director could not attend the ceremony because he would have been arrested if he had shown up. He did, however, receive a standing ovation. Other stars like Charlie Sheen seem to never go down a notch in popularity within the Hollywood community, despite highly questionable comments and actions.
Hollywood’s years-long protest of Gibson wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t so hypocritical.
So what’s different about Gibson? He’s not your typical Hollywood artist. He’s an admitted Catholic and doesn’t share many of Hollywood’s political or cultural views. His bucking of trends and making “The Passion of the Christ” helped cement that fact.
There’s shouldn’t be any doubt in people’s minds that the things Gibson has said and done to land him in hot water were wrong and disturbing. However, were they any worse than the actions and words of people like Polanski?
Gibson’s mental break seems well behind him. He’s back to making thoughtful pictures like “Hacksaw Ridge” outside of the Hollywood studio system. He’s even talked about a sequel to “The Passion of the Christ” in recent months.
Tinseltown is embracing the man once more because he defied expectations and doubters and fought his way back in. The real question is: Now that he’s back, should he embrace Hollywood?
The simple answer is no. Gibson is certainly an inspired pick for a comic book movie about a ragtag group of super villains, but is that the kind of work audiences want from Gibson? Did “Hacksaw Ridge” not prove how much the director still has to say about the world, about faith, and about heroism?
Gibson was thrown away by the hypocritical powers that be in Hollywood. He fought for years for success and a second chance, and he got it. Instead of wasting that chance on making projects for the same system that cast him out, he should treat the industry just as they treated him — and get to work on projects like “The Passion of the Christ 2.”
After all, Gibson has proven he doesn’t need Hollywood to be successful already. Why go back?