Mel Gibson visited a prison in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz where shooting for one of his upcoming films will take place.
The actor, filmmaker and producer, accompanied by several members of the film crew, Tuesday meticulously toured the grounds of the Ignacio Allende prison in Veracruz, a port city some 400 km east of Mexico City.
Close to 1,000 inmates were relocated to another facility in January to clear the way for the production, sparking protests by relatives of the prisoners.
Filming is scheduled to begin March 22 with Adrian Grunberg directing and Gibson in the starring role; according to Veracruz Governor Fidel Herrera, the project is tentatively titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
Written by Gibson, Grunberg and Stacy Perskie, it will tell the story of a career criminal, played by Gibson, who is finally tracked down by authorities and thrown into a brutal, drug-infested prison where he will need the help of a nine-year-old boy to survive.
Herrera told Mexican media that the shooting will last 12 weeks and that the project will create 11,000 jobs in Veracruz.
"Mel Gibson is delighted when he comes to Veracuz. The people are thrilled. They're going to hire 11,000 workers, which means income for the extras; and the Mexican actors who arrived with him are pleased with the quality of the Veracruz actors and actresses," the governor said.
The Australian-American movie star conducted an initial inspection of the prison on Sunday in the company of Herrera, officials said.
The process of choosing at least 5,000 extras to participate in the film began last week. They will be paid between 400-500 pesos (about $39) a day, Casting Director Julio Toledo said.
In 2006, Gibson filmed the Mayan epic Apocalypto in various parts of Veracruz state - the jungle regions of San Andres Tuxtla, Catemaco and Nanciyaga, as well as in Paso de Ovejas and La Antigua.