It’s easy to look at Robert Downey Jr. now and forget that, at one point, he couldn’t get hired in Hollywood due to his troubles with addiction and his inability to get insured to work on a film. During that dark chapter, Mel Gibson gave his friend a boost by putting him in The Singing Detective, so it’s never a surprise when Downey has Gibson’s back, as he did in a new interview with Deadline when he was asked to make the case for a Mel Gibson comeback. He did just that and more by linking Mel Gibson to Iron Man 4 in the slightest of ways.
DOWNEY: Well, first off, he has changed so much. Nobody should make a case for somebody who just wants forgiveness but hasn’t changed, but he’s a fundamentally different guy. I think it was just the very worst aspects of somebody’s psyche being treated as though they were the blanket statement about a person. But honestly we are talking about a competitive business and it all comes down to this: because he is so gifted as a story teller and a director, I don’t know that he requires some sort of mass forgiveness. He has changed, but at the same time he’s still Mel. He and I are so similar in so many ways. He really, honestly is the first to admit his character defects and also is just a great, great collaborative guy. I always say too that if you want to judge a man or a woman then look at their kids. He has the healthiest, happiest, most productive kids you could ever meet or know, and I’m fortunate to be friendly with several of them. He did a lot right, and there’s stuff he taught me about parenting that didn’t sink in at the time but have proven to be true. We’re writing this thing right now, Yucatan…
DEADLINE: That’s the project Steve McQueen developed for himself.
DOWNEY: Yes, and I’m like, God, if I could find a part for Mel. But he also likes to do his own thing and sometimes he goes out of his way to do the unexpected. Sometimes with these things, it becomes a matter of time, and is seems like it’s getting a little bit old to hold a grudge.
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?
DEADLINE: Is that our headline?
DOWNEY: Why not? That movie would be bananas.
I wouldn’t start screen-printing Gibson’s director’s chair just yet, but it’s interesting that Robert Downey Jr. didn’t throw out a stock answer. With his status as the King of Marvel right now, would it be surprising if he actually pushed for this? There were rumors that he wanted to bring Gibson onto the cast of The Avengers: Age of Ultron back in January, so who knows?
It’s not like Gibson would be incapable of directing an Iron Man film. Honestly, he has a far more impressive resume as a filmmaker than any other person who has directed a Marvel movie thanks to Braveheart and Apocalypto. Unfortunately, Gibson’s scandal-filled past complicates matters and makes it unlikely, but is that fair?
Most celebrity scandals have the lifespan of a mayfly at this point. Maybe we’ve been inoculated from the shock of them by the flood of them, but it seems like Mel Gibson has been one of the few people that have been denied the forgiveness by forgetfulness that others (who have done worse things than Gibson) have attained. Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in the 90s and he’s about to star in an Adult Swim cartoon, maybe it’s time to forgive Mel Gibson if for no other reason than because there is precedent.