Credit: Dominique Charriau/

Like Rasputin or Robin Swallows, Mel Gibson’s film career just won’t die. One minute, he’s (again) being called “a serial offender, a serial hater, and a serial bigot” by the Anti-Defamation League; the next, it’s reported that he’s in serious talks to appear in an upcoming Robert Rodriguez movie.

A celeb who generates financial success can find it easier to overcome accusations of domestic abuse, anti-Semitism, and misogyny — see Chris Brown, for example. But it’s been some time since Mel Gibson delivered box-office gold. Since his first publicized anti-Semitic tirade in 2006, the few films Gibson’s made have underperformed. Edge of Darkness barely broke even, and that’s not counting marketing costs. His involvement hindered the release of The Beaver, which made less than $1 million on only a handful of screens. And Gibson’s upcoming film, Get the Gringo, isn’t even being released in theaters. (The exception: Apocalypto, his starless, foreign language action film that was released about five months after his infamous DUI arrest.)

What, then, can explain Gibson’s un-shunning?

Rodriguez has a history of hiring controversial stars — Lindsay Lohan in the original Machete, a pre-Wrestler Mickey Rourke in Sin City. It makes sense, then that the director would want to put a lightning rod like Gibson in his movie. Plus, after nearly six years that have seen countless other scandals — hello, Charlie Sheen! — maybe Rodriguez and others think it’s time to let Gibson’s past stay past.

But even if some members of the industry are willing to work with Mel, many moviegoers may not be willing to shell out money to see him onscreen. At the very least, audiences clearly are no longer interested in watching Gibson play the hero or the romantic lead. As a second banana in Machete Kills, then, the former Sexiest Man Alive may be able to begin a second career as a B-movie actor — someone whose big screen persona reflects the shady way the public perceives him.

What about you, PopWatchers? Would you pay to see a new Gibson movie? And has his controversial behavior affected your enjoyment of Gibson’s old movies?

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