Mel Gibson and Colin Woodell have been cast in The Continental, a prequel series to the John Wick movies starring Keanu Reeves.
The show will be a three-night special event series airing on Starz in the US, where Gibson will play a character named Cormac, according to Deadline.
The Continental will delve into the origins behind the hotel-for-assassins through the eyes of a young Winston Scott, the character played by Ian McShane in the films.
Scott is dragged into the Hell-scape of a 1975 New York City to face the past he thought he’d left behind, and charts a deadly course through the city’s mysterious underworld to seize the hotel which serves as a meeting point for the world’s most dangerous criminals.
According to Variety, Colin Woodell has been cast in the lead role as young Scott. His previous credits include The Flight Attendant, The Purge, The Originals and Masters Of Sex.
Other cast members announced include Mishel Prada, who will play KD, Hubert Point Du-Jour as Miles, Jessica Allain as Lou, Nhung Kate as Yen, and Ben Robson as Frankie.
The casting of Gibson comes after years of controversy for the actor. Last year, he denied racial abuse allegations from actress Winona Ryder, who claimed he called her an “oven dodger” when he learned of her Jewish heritage.
In 2006, Gibson said “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” after being pulled over for drunk driving by police. In 2011, he was also accused of using racist language and threatening to beat his former girlfriend and mother of his child, Oksana Grigorieva, in tapes submitted to court. Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour battery charge against Grigorieva.
Speaking about his 2006 remarks to Variety in 2016, Gibson said: “It was an unfortunate incident. I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of – we’ll call it the press. So, not fair.
“I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”
If we can't keep Mel GIbson canceled, then cancel culture 100% does not exist.
— 🎃Imani Gandy Corn🎃 (@AngryBlackLady) October 18, 2021
It’s not that Mel Gibson proves cancel culture isn’t a thing. It’s that hiring Mel Gibson shows society actively doesn’t care about DV, racism, or antisemitism
— Dr. Mia Brett (@QueenMab87) October 18, 2021
With his past in mind, many have questioned whether Gibson should have been cast at all, stating they refuse to watch the series if he’s involved.
One Twitter user wrote: “With Mel Gibson as a part of this project, I know what John Wick chapter I will NOT be watching. I refuse to be a contributor to Gibson’s residuals.”
Another wrote: “If we can’t keep Mel Gibson cancelled, then cancel culture 100% does not exist.”
The John Wick franchise currently consists of three feature films, with a fourth set to be released on May 27, 2022.