Is Robert Downey Jr angling for Mel Gibson’s return to Hollywood? It certainly seems that way, after he revealed that he would sign up for Iron Man 4 if his old Australian pal with a penchant for saying controversial things was hired as director.
Downey Jr made the remarks during a discussion with Deadline to promote, The Judge, but it has to be admitted that he was rather prompted by his interviewer. Here's the specific segment of the interview, then we'll dig a bit further into the context...
DEADLINE: True, but the year he made Apocalypto, I didn’t see a better movie and he was ignored and hasn’t directed since. Marvel badly wants Iron Man 4 and you’ve said you aren’t doing it. How about the idea you’ll do that movie if Mel directs it?
The above question and answer came as the chat came to a close, after Downey Jr was reminded how Gibson had paid his insurance bond for 2003’s Singing Detective out of his own pocket after the studio refused to, following his various battles with drugs. It was then mentioned that Gibson’s directing prowess in the action genre is almost second-to-none, and how his last film, 2006’s Apocalypto, was widely regarded as one of the best of the year.
With Marvel badly wanting Downey Jr to return for Iron Man 4, and the actor still contemplating his decision, it was suggested that maybe he could propose that he’d do the movie, but only if Gibson directed it, to which Downey responded: "Correct." When Downey was then asked if that could be the article’s headline, he declared, "Why not? That movie would be bananas."
Indeed it would be bananas, Robert. As South Park infamously said of him in their episode, Imaginationland, "Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son-of-a-bitch knows story structure!" Since making his debut with the competent drama, The Man Without A Face, Gibson has directed blockbusters of the highest order in Braveheart, which saw him pick up the Best Director Academy Award, and the aforementioned Apocalypto, which was beautifully filmed, relentless paced, and a great examination of the Mesoamerican tribesman. He also made The Passion Of The Christ too, which as well as probably being the most divisive film of the last 20 years, was also an inciting, tedious gore-fest with a tepid plot.
But would Marvel actually hire Mel Gibson to direct Iron Man 4? It depends just how adamant Robert Downey Jr was. But if he did actually proceed with his demands it could cause an almighty headache for the studio.
Marvel will be well aware that Gibson infuriated a lot of people with his anti-Semitic comments back in 2006, and that their owners, Disney, won’t want to tarnish their reputation by being associated with the Australian. Especially since Marvel is currently viewed as an innocent and untarnished studio that is producing great blockbuster cinema for people of all ages. However, Marvel will also know that Gibson will probably deliver a great film, and he would also confirm Downey Jr’s presence for another installment.
Their big dilemma now is will the obvious outcry of appointing him be worth the final output and the damage to their reputation that he’d almost certainly bring. Clearly the ball is now in Downey Jr’s court. If he pushes them, Marvel have something to think about. If he doesn’t, they can just go back to begging him to reprise Iron Man while trying to avoid mentioning Gibson in the slightest.