“It’s the thing I have been going toward, in a way, since I was young, and I think when it’s done I may be finished.”
That’s Gibson speaking to the LA Times about his as-yet untitled, Leo DiCaprio-starring Viking epic announced back in December. The interview with Gibson and producer Graham King focuses on the development process that sparked the film- King connecting Mel and Leo, followed by weeks of mutual research, and more recent story meetings.
“Mel and I were talking and he said he had always wanted to make a Viking movie and I knew, too, that Leonardo DiCaprio had a passion to make a Viking movie, I had heard that, so I decided to get all of us together on it…”
Without spilling the beans on the solution, both Gibson and King describe the difficulty of finding an entry point into the story, considering the Vikings were a pretty reprehensible batch of dudes. They do allude to “heroism” and “sympathetic Vikings” while the story itself mentions the central heroes of other historical epics like 300 and Braveheart, so it would seem that focusing on one exceptionally non-reprehensible individual within the culture is the way to go. From Mel:
“When I was 16, learning about the history of the English language I
became fascinated with Vikings. And I imagined what they would sound
like, how would they talk and that’s what I will be going for in this
film. It’s a challenge though. There’s never been a good Viking film,
not that I’ve seen. I think I have found the right way to get into it,
though, but I don’t want to say too much. The real problem is making
those guys sympathetic. They were monsters.”
Whatever the gateway into the world of the Vikings, Oscar-Winning Departed and Kingdom of Heaven scribe William Monahan is hard at work on the script, as I type. Even if he’s unwilling to discuss what the movie will be, King is quite willing to discuss what it won’t- taking a giant shit on Thor in the process.
“We’re not making a comic book, this isn’t about superheroes,” King said with a hint of disdain. “Although I’m sure everyone in town would love us to. This movie will be quite serious and very much for grown-ups.”
As for the quote at the top?
“It was the first movie I ever thought about making… saw it in my mind back when I was teenager. Seriously, it’s the first movie I wanted to make. And I think it will be the last film I direct. It’s the thing I have been going toward, in a way, since I was young, and I think when it’s done I may be finished.”
Like Gibson’s assurance that he won’t make a cameo, “the people around Gibson” suspect that is not necessarily the case. They expect Gibson’s restlessness to keep him in the director’s chair past The Passion of the Norseman or whatever this ends up being called.
Click over to Hero Complex (the patronizingly self-described “fanboy blog”) at the LA Times to read all the interesting and uninformative blurbs.