Since his DUI run in with police in 2006, an encounter that led to an infamous anti-Semitic tirade, Mel Gibson has been scrambling to climb back into the mass audience’s good favor. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean putting a cap on his unhinged behavior. In the last six years, Gibson has made headlines for various offenses, most recently being his public, profanity-laden feud with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. The behavior has all but stalled his acting and directing career — his 2010 thriller Edge of Darkness was lukewarm at the box office, the dark comedy The Beaver came and went and his upcoming action movie Get the Gringo won’t even be hitting theaters. Is there any hope for Mel Gibson?
Robert Rodriguez thinks so. Gibson is reportedly in talks to join the Sin City director’s follow-up to Machete, the spin-off feature based a mock trailer from Grindhouse. Danny Trejo will return as the titular hero in Machete Kills, which Rodriguez will shoot before tackling another highly-anticipated sequel: Sin City 2. Rumors had been swirling that Rodriguez was courting Gibson for the sequel, which sees Machete going up against an arms leader harboring a deadly space weapon (yes, the franchise is ready and able to go even more ridiculous). Now, Gibson’s only a few signatures away from being on board.
Rodriguez proved he could utilize legendary actors or celebrities with career package for comedic effect (see Robert De Niro and Lindsay Lohan in the original Machete) and Gibson covers both bases. For someone in Gibson’s position, the hope is that playing over-the-top and silly can wash away some of the darker moments of the past. Stunt casting 101 from the Quentin Tarantino school of moviemaking.
Audiences have found difficulty investing in Gibson’s recent characters, but his role in Machete Kills might be the workaround. The movie strives for camp, and there’s nothing campier than crazy ol’ Mel. If audiences flock to see the movie (which, arguably, won’t need a tremendous box office gross to be a success), Gibson could start creeping back into marketable territory. Or be destined for a future of low-budget action movies. Is Stallone hiring for Expendables 3 yet?