Whatever happens with Mel Gibson's controversial film ''The Passion,'' the actor remains busy at his day job as one of Hollywood's highest-paid action heroes. For much of the last year, Gibson has been preparing to shoot ''Mad Max: Fury Road,'' the fourth installment in the ''Mad Max'' franchise that made him a star and the first ''Max'' movie since 1985's ''Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.'' Now, however, comes the news that the project is indefinitely on hold. According to trade reports, the movie has been shelved because political turmoil and anti-American attitudes abroad in the wake of the Iraq war have forced the filmmakers to nix their desired African shooting locations.
Still, Gibson may get to burn rubber soon enough. He's in negotiations with Warner Bros. to produce ''Under and Alone,'' a true-crime drama based on the forthcoming memoir by undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent William Queen. Gibson may even play Queen, who infiltrated a California motorcycle gang, spending three years undercover and generating 80 arrests. Queen, who then entered the witness protection program, will see his book published by Random House next June.