Mel Gibson to play Santa in hitman movie

The movie star is also gearing up to start filming on his The Passion of the Christ sequel.

Mel Gibson is going in a new direction for his next film – playing Santa Claus in dark comedy Fatman.

The Braveheart actor and director has been tapped to lead the cast of the upcoming holiday feature, which is one of the many films up for grabs at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Filming is scheduled to begin early next year (20) in Canada, according to Deadline.

The project revolves around a rowdy Santa attempting to survive a hit put on him by a naughty 12-year-old, unhappy with a lump of coal they received instead of a Christmas present. Brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms will direct from their own script.

"I am excited to be working with the incredibly talented Nelms brothers who have written a unique, highly entertaining script. Mel is the perfect choice as Chris Cringle like we’ve never seen him before. I couldn’t be more thrilled to watch this darkly comedic Christmas film come to life,” said producer Nadine de Barros.

Double Oscar winner Gibson is enjoying somewhat of a career resurgence as of late with a handful of films in development, including Every Other Weekend, Black Flies, Waldo, and War Pigs. He is also working on directing the remake of classic western The Wild Bunch, while his The Passion of the Christ sequel, Resurrection, is in pre-production.

He joins a long list of stars who have played versions of Father Christmas, including Tim Allen, Bryan Cranston, Tom Hanks, Richard Attenborough and Leslie Nielsen.

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