Robert Downey Jr thinks it's time Hollywood forgave Mel Gibson. 

He's been the centre of much controversy over the past number of year – a lot of it through his own actions and words – but his friend Robert Downey Jr believes he is a changed man and deserves a second chance.

So much so, that he has said he is up for playing Iron Man in the fourth instalment of the movie franchise but only if Gibson is hired to direct.

Speaking to about Gibson Downey Jr said: “Nobody should make a case for somebody who just wants forgiveness but hasn't changed, but he's a fundamentally different guy.

"I think it was just the very worst aspects of somebody's psyche being treated as though they were the blanket statement about a person. But honestly we are talking about a competitive business and it all comes down to this: because he is so gifted as a storyteller and a director, I don't know that he requires some sort of mass forgiveness”.

“He has changed, but at the same time he's still Mel. He and I are so similar in so many ways. He really, honestly is the first to admit his character defects and also is just a great, great collaborative guy.”

“I always say too that if you want to judge a man or a woman then look at their kids.

 “He has the healthiest, happiest, most productive kids you could ever meet or know, and I'm fortunate to be friendly with several of them. He did a lot right, and there's stuff he taught me about parenting that didn't sink in at the time but have proven to be true”.

Gibson has previously directed Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto.