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‘Mad’ Mel Gibson Brings Villainy to ‘The Expendables 3′

Movie Talk

‘Mad’ Mel Gibson Brings Villainy to ‘The Expendables 3′

How much more 'Expendables' casting news can we handle, Sly!? (Photo: David Livingston/Jason Merritt/Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Get ready to root for the bad guy ... again!

Hot on the heels of the rather juicy news that Harrison Ford will be stepping in for Bruce Willis in "The Expendables 3" comes word as to who will be playing the film's antagonist: none other than Mel Gibson, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Gibson's involvement with the third "Expendables" movie (and perhaps also the fifth) — both in front of and behind the camera — has been rumored for some time, with writer-star Sylvester Stallone previously expressing his excitement over the long-shot possibility that the "Braveheart" director might even call the shots on the film: "Mel is a MAGNIFICENT director!," Stallone wrote. "Pure passion on every level. We'd be blessed to have him. A REAL long shot, but LIFE is a long shot — right?"

"Pure passion" ... yeah, that's one way to put it.

Mel seems to be enjoy getting his villain on lately, as he'll soon be seen wearing a cape and threatening the White House with missiles in Robert Rodriguez's latest grind house outing, "Machete Kills," opening October 11. "Machete" and "The Expendables 3" make for Mel's first two full-on villain gigs, even though he's certainly played shady characters before: the tagline for his 1999 crime thriller "Payback" told audiences to "Get ready to root for the bad guy," and he had recent anti-hero turns in "Edge of Darkness" (2010) and "Get the Gringo" (2012).

Oh, and he played Hamlet once, too. Hamlet was crazy! Perhaps even crazier than Martin Riggs — Gibson's guy in the "Lethal Weapon" series.

[Related: Stallone Casts Snipes in 'Expendables 3' (on Tax Day, Of Course)]

Joining Mel in "The Expendables 3" is Antonio Banderas, a longtime Rodriguez favorite and Stallone's co-star in the 1995 action thriller "Assassins" (directed by Richard Donner, who worked with Mel on all the "Lethal Weapon" films and "Maverick"). Stallone and Banderas played enemies in that film, though it's probably safe to assume they they're going to be allies in "The Expendables," even though the details of Banderas' character haven't been released.

According to EW, Stallone calls his "Assassins" buddy "a consummate actor and a gentleman," which is certainly nicer than saying someone is "greedy and lazy."

It's full steam ahead for "The Expendables 3," which will commence with production in the fall with a look toward a release date of August 15, 2014.