june 24, 2016
Mel Gibson wants to direct a new movie set in ancient times ... but it's not The Passion of the Christ 2.
At least not yet.
The actor-director who is in Sydney finishing post-production on the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge is considering directing a Jacobean tragedy set in 15th century Italy - one of a number of movies he has in development.
And while screenwriter Randall Wallace, his long-time collaborator on Braveheart, We Were Soldiers and Hacksaw Ridge, has talked publicly about writing a script for The Passion of the Christ sequel recently, Gibson said it was some time away from being made.
"He hasn't even written it yet," he said. "It'll be a very complex structure [rather than a traditional telling of a Biblical tale]. That's going to take a little while so that's a couple of years away."
Gibson was reluctant to spell out exactly what the sequel to the phenomenally successful religious drama, about the final hours of Jesus' life, would cover.
"It's kind of giving away my formulas," he said. "It's like a chef talking about his recipes."
While some overseas reviewers have described his new movie, the thriller Blood Father, as a comeback to acting - Variety called it an attempt at "acting rehab after his flameout" - Gibson said that was not necessarily the case.
"For me, the big thing is directing. That's my main push ... That's more fulfilling."
The two-time Oscar winner for Braveheart said he had "so many" movies he could shoot now he is back directing his first movie since Apocalypto a decade ago.
"I've got one [that's been in development for] 15 years and it's back in the fifteenth century in Italy somewhere, and it's a true story," he said at an In Conversation session at Sydney Film Festival.
"It's got all the trappings of a Jacobean tragedy. I want to make it like that even to the point where you get soliloquies and stuff."
A two-time Oscar winner for Braveheart, Gibson was at the festival for the Australian premiere of Blood Father, which sees him playing an ex-con who has to protect his daughter from drug-dealers.
He is also finishing work on Hacksaw Ridge, which has Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man) as real-life conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who became a war hero after saving more than 75 of his comrades' lives during the Battle of Okinawa.
"He didn't want to have a gun," Gibson said. "He believed it was wrong to kill. It was who he was and he was just going on pure faith."
He shot Hacksaw Ridge at Fox Studios and on location at a rural property at Bringelly in western Sydney, with a cast that also included Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, Richard Roxburgh and Rachel Griffiths.
Asked whether he sees himself shooting more movies in Australia, Gibson described NSW as "a fantastic place" to make films.
"The crews and the talent here are phenomenal. And, of course, the [state] government has been very helpful too ...
"The studios are fantastic over here at Fox and the locations are amazing.
"I guess you're not going to do 15th century Florence here. Well, you might have a stab at it but it'll be tough."
While Gibson conceded that Baz Luhrmann had successfully created historic versions of Paris for Moulin Rouge and New York for The Great Gatsby, he noted the latter required"a lot of CGI."
Gibson, 60, said he had noticed some significant changes since he grew up in Sydney.
"You can't find a place to park any more," he said.