In 2002, Mel Gibson was riding high as one of the biggest box office stars in the world. His most recent films at the time, Signs and We Were Soldiers, showed his versatility with different types of material, yet he suggested he wanted to focus more on directing and producing. He'd already won an Academy Award for directing and producing Braveheart, so what might be next for him?
That turned out to be The Passion of the Christ, an intense, R-rated drama that primarily covered the final 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ (Jim Caviezel). Gibson cowrote, coproduced and directed the movie, which was quite controversial, due in part to its depiction of graphic violence and due in part to its version of events. The film was fully financed by Gibson and his company, Icon Productions, and became a huge success at the box office in 2004, earning more than $370 million in the U.S. and more than $611 million worldwide.
A couple of years after the film was released, Gibson's career ground to a halt due to personal controversies and he's only acted in a half-dozen movies since 2010. But his first directorial effort since Apocalypto (2006) is heading to theaters on November 4.
Hacksaw Ridge (above) follows an Army medic who became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn star.
Now Randall Wallace, who wrote Braveheart and We Were Soldiers and cowrote Hacksaw Ridge, says that he is writing a sequel to The Passion of the Christ for Gibson. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wallace said: "I always wanted to tell this story. The Passion is the beginning and there's a lot more story to tell."
Wallace said that demand from the Christian community played a role in deciding to move forward with the sequel. Though Gibson recently expressed interest in making a sequel, his involvement has not been confirmed.
Will audiences return for a story about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Will it be easier for audiences to accept Mel Gibson if he remains behind the camera? Time will tell.