Action movie veteran Mel Gibson has joined Sons of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam and Baby Driver's Eiza Gonzalez in the thriller Waldo. The movie marks the latest milestone in Gibson's unlikely comeback after a series of controversies, including a widely publicized arrest accompanied by an infamous anti-semitic rant, had seemingly torpedoed his once-thriving career.
Gibson of course became an action icon in the '80s thanks to his performances in George Miller's original Mad Max trilogy, as well as the highly successful Lethal Weapon movies. The popular actor took it to the next level in 1995 with Braveheart, which garnered him an Oscar for Best Director while also taking home the prize for Best Picture. Gibson reached the peak of his powers as a director with 2004's The Passion of the Christ, which became a massive hit with $370 million in domestic grosses ($544 million adjusted for inflation). But Gibson's bizarre behavior caused him to fall from that pinnacle and by the 2010s the best he could muster was the occasional role in low-budget action fare. That is until his triumphant return to the director's seat with the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge as well as an audience-friendly supporting role in the family comedy Daddy's Home 2.
Some are dismayed by Gibson's return to prominence in light of his prior missteps, but such objections seem to be falling on deaf ears as Hollywood continues giving him acting and directing work. As reported by THR, Gibson has added to his future slate with a role in the thriller Waldo opposite Hunnam. Based on the book Last Looks by Howard Gould, the movie follows the exploits of a disgraced former LAPD detective named Waldo (Hunnam) who has taken to the wilderness to live a minimalist lifestyle. But his quiet existence is interrupted when he's called back to action to investigate the murder of a TV star's wife.
TV director Tim Kirkby (Veep, Fleabag) will make Waldo his latest feature film after two previous projects, including 2018's action comedy Action Point starring Johnny Knoxville. The noirish vehicle is possibly being positioned as the launch point for a franchise, with a second Waldo book by Howard Gould set to be published next summer. Waldo is scheduled to go before cameras in early 2019.
Details of Mel Gibson's role in Waldo have not been reported, but the story does include an "eccentric TV star," which sounds like it could be right up the actor's alley. In addition to this latest role, Gibson has also lined up The Professor and the Madman, a drama that will pair him with fellow controversial actor Sean Penn. Gibson is also set to star alongside Naomi Watts and Frank Grillo in Joe Carnahan's action film Boss Level. On the directorial side, Gibson's next project is a remake of the classic Sam Peckinpah Western The Wild Bunch. Gibson also is set to revisit his greatest box office triumph with the sequel The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection.