Mel Gibson is back! Whether that delights you or not, the evidence is clear. Over the past few months, we’ve seen him give a very appealing lead performance in the razor-edged action movie Blood Father, which gained a lot of fans even with a limited release. Then came Hacksaw Ridge (above), a war movie that, yes, featured plenty of tough-minded and explicit violence, but proved to be more about the strong religious beliefs of its lead character, played by Andrew Garfield, than anything else.
Critically acclaimed upon release in November, Hacksaw Ridge was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Garfield) and Best Director (Gibson). Obviously, the latter nomination was the most significant for Gibson’s career, in that it seemed to indicate that the Hollywood film community was open to recognizing his talents again.
Hacksaw Ridge was Gibson’s first film as a director in 10 years. Soon after the first trailers were released to a very positive reaction, he signed up to star with Sean Penn in the drama The Professor and the Madman. Then, right after the Oscar nominations were announced last month, he entered negotiations to join the comedy Daddy’s Home 2 and just a few days later we heard he was on tap to reunite with Hacksaw Ridge costar Vince Vaughn in the thriller Dragged Across Concrete.
Now comes the biggest indication yet that he’s back in favor in Hollywood. He has had conversations with Warner Bros. about helming Suicide Squad 2, perDeadline. Warner Bros. has also had, or is planning to hold, conversations with Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) and Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) about the job, according to Variety. More names are expected to be added to the list.
Suicide Squad enjoyed big success at the box office, earning more than $745 million worldwide. Audience reaction was mixed to positive, though critics were not impressed. Still, it joins a pack of movies featuring DC characters that are looking for directors, since original director David Ayer will focus on the spin-offGotham City Sirens.
Gibson has been mixed in his comments about superhero movies in the past. Last year, for example, he told The Guardian: “Some are good. Some are kind of funny … Guardians of the Galaxy. Or the first Iron Man. And some of them are just like retreats. I mean you can watch them do Spider-Man five times … There is a slight shift in film. But, then again, I think all films are suffering from people not being able to now open them with their name. It’s a different kind of business these days.”
There is no doubt, though, that Gibson is capable of directing fleet, large-scale action movies. As proof, watch the furious splendor of Braveheart, Apocalypto or Hacksaw Ridge. The other possible directors mentioned are all younger, seasoned male professionals — we note that no women or other diverse candidates have been included so far — but Gibson would certainly be an intriguing choice to direct a superpowered sequel.