Mel Gibson returns for ‘Darkness’

Actor back onscreen with 'Edge'

Mel Gibson has committed to star in “Edge of Darkness,” marking his first starring role in a feature film since he headlined “Signs” and “We Were Soldiers” in 2002.

Martin Campbell will direct the feature adaptation of the six-hour 1985 BBC miniseries, which Campbell also helmed.

William Monahan wrote the script, and Graham King is producing through his GK Films banner. Michael Wearing, who produced the original, will also produce, and the BBC will be involved in a producing capacity.

Campbell, who last directed “Casino Royale,” developed the project and brought it to King a year ago. He enlisted Monahan for a page one rewrite; the scribe worked with King on “The Departed.” King is self-financing the project and is committed to an August production start in Boston. It is unclear whether he will fully finance through production or enlist a studio.

Gibson will play a straitlaced police investigator whose activist daughter is killed. He plunges into the case and uncovers systemic corruption that led to his daughter’s death.

Gibson had long been a fan of the mini and was receptive when King and Campbell approached him several months ago.

Before “Signs” and “We Were Soldiers,” Gibson starred in 2000’s “What Women Want” and “The Patriot.” Subsequently, he concentrated on directing, with “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004 and “Apocalypto” in 2006.

While Gibson has stayed under the radar after controversy sparked when he made anti-Semitic comments to a police officer during a DUI arrest in Malibu, he has continued to be offered acting vehicles, and he came close to accepting on several occasions, including “Under and Alone,” a fact-based drama still in development at Warner Bros.

At a time when supposedly proven stars aren’t translating to opening weekends, films that Gibson starred in and directed have grossed north of $5 billion worldwide.

King and Monahan won Oscars for “The Departed,” and the producer recently made a first-look deal with the writer, who has taken residence in GK headquarters. Among the projects on which Monahan and King are collaborating is the Paramount-based true story of Jim Keene, who traded a prison sentence to go undercover at a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. King will produce that film with Alexandra Milchan, based on an upcoming Playboy magazine article by Keene and writer Hillel Levin.

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