Like so many other big stars before him, Mel Gibson is considering going the superhero movie route. But not as an actor — as a director. Warner Bros. reportedly wants Gibson to helm the sequel to Suicide Squad, which, despite the negative reviews from critics and the polarized reactions from fans, earned a healthy chunk of change at the box office last summer.
Lest we get ahead of ourselves, The Hollywood Reporter cautions that Gibson and Warner Bros. are still “early in talks,” and that “no official offer has been made.” Gibson’s far enough along that he’s started to get acquainted with the material, but the studio is still eyeing other filmmakers including Daniel Espinosa (Safe House). The first Suicide Squad movie was written by David Ayer, who’ll be tied up working on the spinoff Gotham City Sirens.
Gibson has spent most of the past decade bogged down in controversy for (among other things) making anti-Semitic, racist, and sexist remarks. At one point, he was so reviled that he couldn’t even film a Hangover II cameo without drawing the ire of the cast, crew, and fans. As recently as 2014, his friend Robert Downey Jr. was basically pleading with the industry to forgive Gibson, telling press he’d star in Iron Man 4 if and only if Gibson would direct. (That didn’t work out, obviously, so I guess Suicide Squad 2 could be his chance to direct a superhero movie.)
But in the past several months, he’s enjoyed a career renaissance — albeit not without plenty of criticism from detractors who haven’t forgotten his hateful comments. Hacksaw Ridge, his first directorial effort in a decade, was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and he’s been riding high off its success. In short order, he signed on for the sequel to Daddy’s Home as well as a cop drama called Dragged Across Concrete, from Bone Tomahawk director S. Craig Zahler. He’s even started talking again about making a Passion of the Christ sequel, called The Resurrection.
In the past, Gibson’s sounded kind of ambivalent about the rise of superhero movies in Hollywood. “Some are good. Some are kind of funny,” he said, citing Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man. “And some of them are just like retreats. I mean you can watch them do Spider-Man five times.” But he seems to view it as part of a larger change within the industry, adding, “I think you used to get more variety of stories, films and performances.”
Warner Bros.’ DC franchise has been off to a very rocky start (creatively, if not commercially) and the studio has made repeated efforts to reassure fans that they’re righting the ship. Which makes Gibson a really bizarre choice. I can’t imagine this will go down well with all of DC’s fans, and the last thing the franchise needs right now is to alienate viewers before the film even starts shooting. Again, though, keep in mind this is still in the early stages and there’s still time for the studio to change its mind. We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.
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