Well, I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Warner Bros. is reportedly eyeing Mel Gibson to direct the Suicide Squad sequel. Per THR, the studio is courting Gibson for the directorial gig and is in early talks with the actor-director, who sources say is familiarizing himself with the material. The report also notes that the studio is “not being passive” in their director search, eying other candidates including Safe House and Life director Daniel Espinosa. Variety reports that the studio is also eyeing Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies).
Gibson’s possible involvement in the sequel is sure to spark some lively twitter debate and it’s certainly a bold move on the studio’s part. David Ayer, who is currently working on Gotham City Sirens, helmed the first film, introducing comic book favorites Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith) and the Joker (Jared Leto) to the cinematic DC Universe. Suicide Squad was a divisive film, to say the least. Critically lambasted, but commercially successful to the tune of $745 million worldwide, the film raised a lot of ire in light of depictions of women and minorities that were “problematic,” to use the popular terminology. Needless to say, Gibson’s history in respect to women and minorities is spotty, to put it lightly. It’s kind of an insane move on the studio’s part, like they looked at the situation and said, “How can we make this worse?” and it’s sure to strike up some controversy.
For Gibson, being considered by Warner Bros. for a gig like this marks a major turnaround for the actor-director, whose career took a well-earned hit after his infamous anti-Semitic rant. Gibson is currently riding the wave of a career resurrection thanks to his Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge, his first directorial effort in a decade. The film earned six nominations at the Academy Award and Gibson has also recently locked down roles in the Daddy’s Home sequel, as well as the cop drama Dragged Across Concrete, from Bone Tomahawk director S. Craig Zahler. And creatively, he’s a pretty good fit for the material. Gibson’s directorial resume is full of visceral action and gritty aesthetic, if perhaps a bit more pious than you would normally associate with the shady antiheroes at the heart of Suicide Squad.
The news comes in the midst of fairly regular creative turmoil over at DC Films, which has struggled to get their Extended Universe on the right track. Most recently, Ben Affleck dropped out of directing the long-discussed The Batman with Matt Reeves positioned to take over at the helm. The Flash has also faced its fair share of problems after losing director Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith. That film is currently undergoing a page-one rewrite from Joby Harold. Needless to say, the franchise is in a state of creative redirection and Gibson is a peculiar choice to further that agenda.