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Warner Bros. wants Mel Gibson to direct the ‘Suicide Squad’ sequel

Why it matters to you

One of Hollywood's most controversial filmmakers is being courted to direct the sequel to one of last year's most polarizing movies.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero movies have a well-established history of generating passionate debate, but a recent report suggests that the studio isn’t shying away from actively courting controversy, too.

Two-time Academy Award winner and intensely polarizing actor-director Mel Gibson is reportedly the favored candidate to helm the sequel to Suicide Squad, last year’s team-up movie featuring a cast of DC Comics supervillains forced to undertake a dangerous mission by a secret government agency. The report indicates that Gibson and the studio are in early talks regarding the project now.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gibson is currently familiarizing himself with the project and the studio’s vision for its cinematic universe before deciding whether to take it on.

Once one of the most marketable actors in Hollywood, Gibson won a pair of Academy Awards in 1996 for Braveheart, which he starred in and directed. His career took a major hit in 2006, however, when he went on a highly publicized anti-Semitic tirade after being arrested for drunk driving in California. He was effectively blacklisted from major studio projects for almost a decade following the incident, with few starring roles in any major film projects.

Hollywood began warming to Gibson again recently, and last year’s war drama Hacksaw Ridge — a biopic of World War II conscientious objector Desmond Doss — is currently in the running for an Academy Award in six categories, including one for Gibson in the “Best Director” category.

Last year’s Suicide Squad starred Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Adam Beach, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Jay Hernandez, and Joel Kinnaman. The film was directed by David Ayer, who’s now working on the spinoff film Gotham City Sirens, which will have Robbie reprise her role as Harley Quinn and feature several other prominent female characters from the DC Comics universe.

Suicide Squad earned $325 million in U.S. theaters and $745 million worldwide, but was widely panned by professional critics and earned middling reviews from general audiences.

The report indicates that Warner Bros. is also considering Safe House director Daniel Espinosa as a potential director for the Suicide Squad sequel.