One hit and your sins are forgiven, or so goes Hollywood’s self-imposed laws of contrition.
Following the international success of Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson – long blacklisted in the industry over a hefty list of ugly off-screen transgressions – is now being courted to direct the big budget sequel to DC Comics blockbuster, Suicide Squad.
“Sources say that Gibson is familiarising himself with the material,” the Hollywood Reporter writes, noting that the star and studio Warner Bros are still in “early talks” over the project.
Suicide Squad, directed by Tony Ayer and starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, was largely panned by critics and its core audience of comic book geeks when it opened in cinemas last August, with many decrying its bland characters, muddled direction and, well, Jared Leto’s Joker.
Still, the film earned over $US745 million ($966 million) worldwide, fast-tracking its obvious follow-up, which will reportedly enter production this year.
Ayer, who was initially slated to helm the sequel, has since been linked to Gotham City Sirens, a connected film focusing on Robbie’s Harley Quinn and DC’s other female comic villains.
Gibson – who found himself on the outer in Hollywood for almost a decade following a drink-driving arrest, domestic violence charges and leaked recordings featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments – has been welcomed back to the industry after the success of World War II epic Hacksaw Ridge.
The film, shot entirely in Australia on a budget of around $40 million ($52 million) including state and federal government subsidies, took in just shy of $165 million ($214 million) at the global box office.
Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. Photo: Clay Enos
It also earned 10 prizes at December’s AACTA Awards and is up for six nods at this month’s Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson himself.
The actor-filmmaker was forced to open up on his controversial past during the film’s promo trail last year.
“It’s all in the past. I’m still alive, I’m still breathing,” he said during an unapologetic interview with Sunday Night before the film’s Sydney premiere in October.
“Feeling sorry for ourselves or having a pity party about the past or what’s happened is just not worth it, ’cause it affects the present and it affects the future,” he said.
Gibson, 61, also has acting gigs in a handful of upcoming movies, including family comedy Daddy’s Home 2 with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg and cop drama Dragged Across Concrete with his Hacksaw Ridge castmate Vince Vaughn.