Mel Gibson plays a bad guy — in "The Expendables 3." Credit: Getty Images Mel Gibson plays a bad guy —in "The Expendables 3."
Credit: Getty Images

 

Mel Gibson is the bad guy in "The Expendables 3", taking on Sylvester Stallone's crew of aging action heroes, but that piece of info is news to Gibson himself. "I didn't read it thinking I was the bad guy, you know? In fact, I didn't know I was the bad guy until I saw it last night," he insists. "I thought Dolph Lundgren was the bad guy, so it's a surprise to me and I'm kind of shocked and a little offended. I wanted to be the love interest, but there was no one to love, really."

 

Joking aside, Gibson was eager to put his own spin on the character of Conrad Stonebanks, a former Expendable turned arms dealer with a Stallone-sized chip on his shoulder. "I kind of worked on the script a little bit and I came in and hammered out," he says. "I handed out the pages to Sly and [director] Patrick [Hughes] and they looked at it and went, 'Yeah, it's cool.' It was just a theme of somebody who was subcontracted by his government and then thrown under the bus, a real person."

 

While Gibson clearly had a ball with the "Expendables" franchise, he's got other work on his mind, primarily directing. "I think the most fun you can have standing up is directing a film. It's like my primary want. That's my gift, I think, direction. I'm going to pursue that," says Gibson, who won a directing Oscar for "Braveheart" in 1996. "I've got a few irons in the fire. It doesn't pay to talk too much about it because industrial espionage is rife. The minute you say anything somebody swipes the idea. It's like, 'That's a good idea. We should do that.' It ends up on TV or something, but that's OK too. I'll direct TV. It's great. TV is getting, like, amazing. I definitely have my sights set on that and will do. Yes."

 

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick