EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is near a deal to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Blood Father, the action thriller that stars Mel Gibson. Pic is directed by Mesrine helmer Jean-Francois Richet, from a script by The Town‘s Peter Craig. Gibson plays an ex-con who reunites with his estranged, wayward 16-year old daughter, and vows to protect her from the drug dealers who are trying to kill her. The picture is produced by Why Not Productions. Elisabeth Rohm, William H. Macy and Diego Luna also star in the gritty thriller that was shot in New Mexico. Most world territories were brokered at the last Cannes.

Gibson next gets back behind the camera to direct Hacksaw Ridge, with Andrew Garfield playing Desmond T Doss, the first conscientious objector in U.S. history to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Doss was a U.S. Army medic who served in World War II during the Battle of Okinawa and refused to kill. President Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor for saving so many lives.

The Blood Father deal is close to being finalized, I’m told.

After a long stay in the dog house for saying some hateful thing in the past that were made public, maybe Gibson is getting another chance. He certainly has the talent, as evidenced by films including Braveheart, Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto.