Warner Bros. has begun the search for the director who will take over the reins for the sequel to box office hit “Suicide Squad.” Mel Gibson is perhaps the most surprising of the handful of possibilities.
Sources tell Variety that in addition to Gibson, Warners has met with — or is planning to meet with — Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”), Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”), and Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies”).
Warner Bros. had no comment.
Though insiders say the list could grow and that there is no front-runner at the moment, one source close to the situation said if Gibson wants it, the job is his.
Gibson had said in the past that he wasn’t interested in directing a comic book movie so his involvement does seem odd, but sources now reveal that the filmmaker is excited about the prospect of working with this cast, specifically Will Smith. Before Ben Affleck and Gavin O’Connor became involved in “The Accountant,” Gibson and Smith tried teaming up on the film — with Gibson directing and Smith starring. The old WB regime, however, wasn’t interested in working with Gibson.
David Ayer wrote and directed the original pic that starred Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto. The movie followed a group of villains and antiheroes — including Deadshot, Harley Quinn, the Joker, Captain Boomerang, and Killer Croc — who were forced into the service of the government in exchange for lighter sentences.
Though the original was met with a mixed reaction from fans and critics, it nevertheless grossed more than $700 million at the box office, making a sequel inevitable.
Last year’s WWII action-drama “Hacksaw Ridge” marked Gibson’s first film as a director in 10 years. If he takes on “Suicide Squad,” it would be his first directing gig for a major studio since helming Paramount’s “Braveheart” in 1995.
Deadline Hollywood first reported WB’s interest in Gibson.