He might be racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic, and the director of some not-very-good films, but you can’t keep Mel Gibson down. Joe Eszterhas tried with all his might — fact-based might, I’d even presume — The Beaver and Get the Gringo were flops, and all those angry audio tapes only reinforced pretty negative images. Even studios balk at some of that stuff.
Yet, if you were to believe Gibson himself, things are still cooking in one regard: Berserker, the long-planned Viking epic which, last we heard, was getting some rewrite work from his Braveheart scribe, Randall Wallace. Promising as that may be, it was a whole six months ago, and another wave of controversy hitting after that news left me thinking this was dead on the table. That being said…
During an interview with ComingSoon, the actor-director claims to not only “believe it’s going forward,” but also have “some good names [actors] attached who want to do it.” Leonardo DiCaprio is still no longer involved, however; you might remember his convenient departure right around the time some unfortunate phone calls were leaked.
Contrary to old reports, Gibson will not make the film in a foreign language but, instead, use an old-time style “that’s understandable for a modern audience.” (His reasoning: “English comes from the middle English language, [so] it’s not a big jump.”) Any subtitles are, thus, very unlikely to be present, but Berserker won’t employ “the English THEY’RE used to.”
The meat of his talk comes from this statement on the screenplay:
“I couldn’t find a way to make it work, because if you look at what Vikings did, they’re pretty unsympathetic. And there’s no point in doing Viking light. So I had to find a way to find devices and ways to make that work dramatically, intelligently and make it seem realistic so it’s about real conflict in a real era in the 9th century, so that you actually see behavior and a new mode of thought seeping in. By the 11th century there weren’t any of these guys left anymore.”
While his big challenge is apparently studios, Gibson says “there’s some interest and they dig it.” Of course, an attached star and some other financial staples would probably be needed before it snaps into focus — if it ever eventually does. One shouldn’t think I’m entirely confident Berserker would ever happen — it doesn’t feel much more credible than his promise that Judah Maccabee is just waiting for a new draft — so, if you want to take his word for it, go ahead. Otherwise, sit and wait.
Is it possible Berserker will have a shot? Should it?
Latest posts from The Film Stage