It’s been 10 years since actor-turned-director Mel Gibson’s last work behind the camera with ‘Apocalypto’ but after screening his latest ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ at the Venice film festival to rave reviews, he returned to the heart of Hollywood – the headquarters of Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science to hold a premiere.
Starring Andrew Garfield, it tells the true story of Desmond T. Doss, who was the first conscientious objector in the American forces to receive the Medal of Honor by refusing to hold a weapon but instead to rescue wounded soldiers from the front line.
Garfield, who previously starred as Peter Parker, aka The Amazing Spider-Man, explained how he cried when he first read the screenplay and at the premiere spoke of what made this man so interesting to play.
“As a human being not a fictional superhero, but a real life flesh and bone human being, to walk into the middle of a battlefield with no cape, with no body armor, with no gun, with no weapon, with a bible and love in his heart and a longing to heal and take care of his brothers be they Japanese or American, that’s beyond heroic. That’s transcendent. It’s an impossible thing to live up to but I can try to capture his essence,” he said.
Gibson echoed his words saying “You’d have to be made of stone to not to respond to the true story of who this man was and what he did. Could I do that? I don’t think so. But it just breaks my heart to think somebody can and it fills my heart to think there are some people like that and there are still people like that. I may not be one of them but I sure recognise them in somebody, you know.”
Gibson made a name for himself for directing after creating box office hits with Oscar winner ‘Braveheart’ and ‘The Passion of the Christ’. However, in 2006 he was arrested for drunk driving, then unleashing an anti-Semitic tirade and in 2010 he was recorded using racists slurs while verbally sparring with then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
‘Hacksaw Ridge’, which had a 10 minute standing ovation at the Venice film festival, looks set to put the star back in the spotlight and with a premiere at AMPAS, it is a film which is regarded as being able to qualify for the Oscar race.
“It’s nice to have your career choice and your work affirmed by others and your peers,” Gibson said. “So it’s very gratifying to me and the best compliment I think I received for this film ‘Wow. This is how they used to make films’, and I was like ‘Wow. Really? Like the 30s and 40s?’ and they said ‘No, like the 80s and that made me laugh because that’s a generation back.”
‘Hacksaw Ridge’ goes on release in US on November 4.