In 2021, upcoming John Wick prequel The Continental was met with backlash when it was announced that Mel Gibson, who has a history of domestic violence and anti-Semitic comments, would be starring in the Peacock miniseries.
Gibson is playing a character called Cormac, an important one in the series as the current ruthless proprietor of the titular Continental. Given his history, many fans were disappointed by the news of the casting, to say the least.
“It’s not that Mel Gibson proves cancel culture isn’t a thing,” wrote one person in 2021. “It’s that hiring Mel Gibson shows society actively doesn’t care about DV, racism, or antisemitism.”
During an exclusive preview for The Continental, IGN asked executive producer Basil Iwanyk and executive producer/director Albert Hughes if they had any hesitation in casting him given his many controversies.
Iwanyk was straightforward, simply answering “no.” Later, he clarified that he wasn’t trying to dismiss the question, “there just simply wasn’t a consideration about it.”
"I don't think anybody could have fit better, let's put it that way.
Answering the same question, Hughes answered as follows:
“No. I think he fit the role, he fit what we needed based on his film past. And I'll leave others to debate the other stuff because it's not a black-and-white issue, and I don't want to be sound-bited and clickbait. That's a tricky game to get into. I have my own personal beliefs in life and whatnot about everything, but I'm here to entertain. And earlier in my career I wasn't so careful. But there's a weight that he brought, the stuff that he brought from his past roles and what he has done that we needed for this role. And I don't think anybody could have fit better, let's put it that way, just with his chops and his experience.”
In 2006, Gibson was arrested and charged with a DUI, and was subsequently recorded making anti-Semitic remarks (he called it an “unfortunate incident” when asked about it in a 2016 interview with Variety). And in 2011, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battering his former girlfriend.
Even still, Gibson has found work in Hollywood since. In 2016, he directed Hacksaw Ridge, for which he was nominated for a Best Director Oscar.
The Continental debuts this September on Peacock.
Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.