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Mel Gibson's Viking Epic Might Be His Final Directing Effort

by
March 13, 2010
Source: Hero Complex

Mel Gibson

Though it had been a little over eight years when Mel Gibson finally made his return to acting in Edge of Darkness, released earlier this year, it's only been half that time since he last directed a feature and that was the Mayan epic Apocalypto. We already know that Gibson's next film as a director will be yet another epic, this time set amongst the times of the Vikings, being written by William Monahan (who also wrote Kingdom of Heaven, Edge of Darkness, and The Departed) and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. And now Hero Complex is reporting that this yet-to-be-titled Viking dream project may very well be Gibson's last film as a director.

Over at the Icon Productions offices there was an equally epic five hour meeting to discuss Gibson's Viking project, and since there hasn't really ever been any memorable Viking films, this extended meeting seems a little bold in itself. But when you hear how long Gibson has been thinking about this, it's no surprise that he wants to get it right, and five hours is nothing compared to the time he's been waiting for this opportunity:

It was the first movie I ever thought about making. I saw it in my mind back when I was teenager. Seriously, it's the first movie I wanted to make. And I think it will be the last film I direct. It's the thing I have been going toward, in a way, since I was young, and I think when it's done I may be finished.”

Boucher says that "the people around Gibson, however, scoff at that notion and say that the Australian-bred actor and auteur is far too restless creatively to ever walk away from filmmaking." I think it would be hard for anybody who is passionate about filmmaking to turn their back on it, but at the same time, after you've completed your dream project at this point in your career (especially if it turns out to be successful) what else is there to do? Much like his attention to historical detail in Apocalypto and Passion of the Christ where he hones right into the native language, this film is not only epic in scope but meticulous in its construction:

"We're going hammer and tongs on the script right now. When I was 16, learning about the history of the English language I became fascinated with Vikings. And I imagined what they would sound like, how would they talk and that's what I will be going for in this film. It's a challenge though. There's never been a good Viking film, not that I've seen. I think I have found the right way to get into it, though, but I don't want to say too much. The real problem is making those guys sympathetic. They were monsters."

Producer Graham King knows the passion that both Gibson and, apparently DiCaprio, have for an awesome Viking story. He also goes on to talk about the difficulties of portraying these "monsters" as real characters:

“We all knew we wanted to do it. It was just a matter of finding what the story would be, who our Viking was. There's not many sympathetic Vikings out there. And you have to find something of sympathy in one of them or what else is there to show, other than blood and guts and rape and pillaging? You can't just show a film that is battle scene after battle scene, you have to show heroism and sympathy."

That's all Hero Complex could muster out of Gibson and King for now, who wouldn't reveal anything about DiCaprio's character or any bits about the story. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what comes out of the woodwork as this film plunges deeper into development and hopefully moves into production. As for this being Gibson's last film as a director, I'm kind of indifferent. Braveheart is fantastic, and religious quibbles aside, Passion of the Christ is emotionally trying and very powerful, but Apocalypto just felt like a retread of other epics before it, including Braveheart. How do you feel about Gibson leaving directing behind?

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Reader Feedback - 45 Comments

1

Effort? For the most part Gibson's films have alway's been good, Braveheart is still an amazing film to watch and Apocalypto is a good chase film. Most people just cannot move on from what happened in '05, but this Viking Epic sounds awesome.

Xerxex on Mar 13, 2010

2

gosh,id love to be a part of this. Hopefully they aren't wearing "viking helmets" with the horns on top cause thats not historically true.

erik Keating on Mar 13, 2010

3

Bugger, I hope this isn't true and he continues to make films. Plus I don't think you could really call him an auteur.

DiR3cT on Mar 13, 2010

4

It will be a sad day when he quits directing.

germs on Mar 13, 2010

5

I'm excited to see hear about DiCaprios role

Sharlto on Mar 13, 2010

6

dicaprio - ugh

davey into savory on Mar 13, 2010

7

"Most people just cannot move on from what happened in '05" Exactly, that pisses me off so damn much, everyone has there mistakes and lots of people need to drop there Gibson jewbashing jokes and move on. Though it may be his last directing effort I hope he still has a few more acting films up his sleeve. I actually loved Edge of darkness even though it wasnt what the trailers made it look like it was. Lets hope this is the caliber epic that braveheart was and he can have his directing career go out with a bang.

Cody w on Mar 13, 2010

8

@6 If you don't realize DiCaprio is one of the best actors in Hollywood, then simply put your a fool.

Cody w on Mar 13, 2010

9

#6, seriously...there's absolutely nothing wrong with Dicaprio, especially when he's paired with Scorsese. He's one of the finest actors out there.

Colt on Mar 13, 2010

10

@6 moron I think this movie is going to be pretty heavy.

People's Champ on Mar 13, 2010

11

I dont think its fair to say there arent any good viking films I thought that the 13 worrier was a pretty awsome viking film

rowdy on Mar 13, 2010

12

@11 - The 13th Worrier? What was he so worried about? Although, I agree, when I read that statement about there being no good viking films I thought the same thing. And the vikings in The 13th Warrior are pretty sympathetic and heroic!

Jonathan on Mar 13, 2010

13

Mel Gibson directing a viking epic? I'm totally in.

Dan Geer on Mar 13, 2010

14

LOL the 13th worrier! he was worried because he was the 13th, and 13 is an unlucky number.

Pickled egg in brine on Mar 13, 2010

15

I enjoyed The 13th Warrior too. That aside, no other really good ones come to mind. I have enjoyed all of Gibson's films and I am really looking forward to seeing his interpretation of Vikings.

Deathtoll 2010 on Mar 14, 2010

16

Bye-bye Mel!!

Nancy on Mar 14, 2010

17

More Mel all the way, He is a great director. Can`t wait for this Viking movie I am really excited. I personally hated the 13th warrior.

Loser on Mar 14, 2010

18

DiCaprio needs to stop ruining good movies.

germs on Mar 14, 2010

19

The Vikings 1958 was a great film. I saw it as a kid and it stuck with me for years. Kirk Douglas running the oars, his eye/scar, the fight with Tony Curtis at the end - all great stuff. As a descendant with some Viking blood from North East Scotland, realize that the Vikings were not all bad men, they settled where they invaded, became farmers, raised children. Normal blokes like you and me. Kidding

floman on Mar 14, 2010

20

13th Warrior sucked donkey balls; it's one of John McTiernan's few missteps. Here's hoping Mel can put together a great film, on this project.

Dave Lister, JMC on Mar 14, 2010

21

if your not pro mell, you can go to hell!!!

sickdoghats on Mar 14, 2010

22

Anyone who thinks that DiCraprio still does justice in films is retarded. ...Or suffering from severe brain damage. Shutter Island - SHIT Revolutionary Road - BLAND Body of Lies - UTTER SHIT Blood Diamond - FORMULAIC and The Departed was good because it was written well, DiCrapio had nothing to do with that success. He was fun to watch in Catch Me If You Can and The Beach. Tolerable in Gangs of New York, but he didn't suit that role. Get your heads out of your asses or see a doctor.

davey into savory on Mar 14, 2010

23

I agree that The Vikings is a fantastic film. It's wildly historically inaccurate - Leather shorts! Horns on helmets! - perhaps that's what he's referring to. Because it's a classic in every other regard. 13th Warrior is inferior to it, but beautifully shot, a lot of fun and with a truly wonderful soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith. The theme is so good they even used it again in Kingdom Of Heaven when they needed something noble and heroic (the 'rise a knight' speech).

PhoenixWright on Mar 14, 2010

24

Wow @22 Shutter island-Awesome performance (The lake scene where he scoops his kids up I mean come on), ok movie overall Revolutionary road-Amazing performances once again but just a boring movie. Body of lies-UTTER SHIT!?!?!?! Are you kidding me? Awesome CIA thriller with Mark Strong so its automatically good. Blood diamond- I agree it was formulaic but Dicaprio nailed the south african accent. Maybe your the one who needs to realize actual talent though I dont know why Im even commenting cause its easy to tell your taste in movies is terrible. It doesn't take a genius to realize that he embodies every single one of his characters perfectly. You probably still think of him as little boy Jack Dawson and you need to get over the fact its a decade later and hes the best in the business now.

Cody w on Mar 14, 2010

25

u mean Pathfinder wasn't considered a good Viking flick?? lol can't wait to see what Mel does with the material and as others have said there is a ton of misconception out there when it comes to Viking lore...I love historical epics!!

monal on Mar 14, 2010

26

@22 Guess you didnt see Gilbert Grape, Basketball Diaries and The Aviator. I do agree with you about Gangs of New York. Then he's doing the most anticipated movie of 2010! Inception!!!! He's not one of my top favorites, but he's pretty good.

People's Champ on Mar 14, 2010

27

I think dicaprio voice really detracts from his characters. Anytime he acts tough and talks, it feels like a 14 yr old is threatening people. For the roles he actually fits in, he is awesome

L on Mar 14, 2010

28

HISTORICAL DETAIL!!! Ethan you are funny 🙂 I didn't know you did stand up.

Cisco on Mar 14, 2010

29

I hope that he will change his mind and direct more films because he is a great director. Leonardo Di Caprio is the best actor out there right now and i can't wait to watch him in his next projects.

var2apo on Mar 15, 2010

30

...and I don't give a shit about anyone’s beliefs. I don't care if he loves or hate Christians, Jews or whatever they believe in. It is so irrelevant with his work.

var2apo on Mar 15, 2010

31

I have always liked most of Gibson's historical movies. I look forward to this one.

JimD on Mar 15, 2010

32

Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure...

peloquin on Mar 15, 2010

33

1. I think Gibson should keep going with directing - he's very good indeed! 2. Caprio as a Viking just doesnt sell - big, mean and vulger just arent words you'd use with sweet little caprio!

dom on Mar 15, 2010

34

I can't wait to see if DiCaprio puts on 40 pounds of muscle or something. That would certainly add some credibility to him playing a viking. He really is a great actor, so I can see him pulling it off.

Pete on Mar 15, 2010

35

"The real problem is making those guys sympathetic. They were monsters." Great... ya perhaps he should read the Eddas before making ignorant stereotypical statements like this. If he's going to try to be historically correct he's got a lot to learn (and unlearn for that matter).

Vold on Mar 15, 2010

36

Those slave owning Viking rapists who went from place to place to conquer and plunder were nice guys. sure some were kind of merchants but often they just plundered sure there were a lot of different types back then to but nice is not a word to describe Vikings they were often very brutal.

Loser on Mar 15, 2010

37

No Way!! that would not be good to us fans at all!! Mr. Gibson should never forget that his fans outnumber his ill wishers. He's still the best thing about anything movies!! All the Best!!

Mary Nazarian on Mar 15, 2010

38

Both The Long Ships and The Vikings are awesome. Mel is great but he has his work cut out for him trying to match the heart and soul of those classics.

Slan Man on Mar 16, 2010

39

As far as sympathy and heroism go why not portray the reality of the religious conflict in Europe. Though the vikings did have it in their mind the world was made to concur they held the same beliefs as many others of the time. Christianity was violently forced on the pagans and is the cause of much hate towards the Christian lands, even today. Consider their view. Also if you fast forward to 1184 to the battle of Fimreite in Sogndal Norway you might not get the viking raids but you'd get an important, revolutionary, and epic battle between King Magnus, and the King Sverre. Especially if you focus on Arntor who was a farmer who stood up against Sverre and was a key in starting that final battle. He eventually lost his life fighting, and his cause was also lost. Sverre is considered the greatest king of norway but the people of Sogndal will tell you differently.

Eridan on Mar 23, 2010

40

@#36 Ignorance at its finest. Before making retarded statements about things you obviously have absolutely no clues about, it might be an idea to first - that's right - read up on history and get a fucking clue. Fuck the ignorants.

Fuckreligion on Apr 4, 2010

41

40 Describe the Vikings to me then and tell me what was wrong with my statement

Loser on Apr 4, 2010

42

This would be an amazing movie - Gibson is a flawless director and movie star - Man Without A Face, Braveheart, The Passion and Apocalypto are all fantastic movies - all offer different types of drama. I disagree with the main comment saying that Apocolypto is a retread of other epics - its a chase movie with a difference - ok so it has elements of other action movies and historical dramas but so do other epics and dramas and movies in general.

Suchet on Apr 28, 2010

43

That movie sounds great, and I hope it isn't over for him. I will still buy and watch his films; he needs to take a long break that's for sure, and get some help for himself. But I really hope he comes back and continues to make movies, and that he'll be ok.

coco on Jul 13, 2010

44

I'm really looking forward to this movie. There is a couple of good Icelandic efforts, but there really are no good viking movies out there. I don't really see the problem of making vikings sympathetic.When they were raiding they behaved more or less like invaders have allways done. I don't think this will be worse than a story about most violent earas in history. Vikings were also explorers, settlers and tradesmen. Gibson's project seems to be focused on Britain, but I hope some of the movie will be set on Iceland and in Norway. I grew up by the fjords of Norway and I was in Iceland last year, and both have places have stunning locations that have never been used before.

Per Olav on Jul 18, 2010

45

#16 says: Bye-bye Mel!! Dream on Nancy, dream on ... Mel ain't aint going anywhere.

Hattori Hanzo on Jul 27, 2010

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