Mel Gibson's (Braveheart) route back into the filmmaking community after a ten-year absence full of controversy and false starts has led him to the volcanic sands of Okinawa. His new war movie Hacksaw Ridge is gathering the kind of buzz that suggests a powerful comeback. In an interview with Empire magazine recently, Gibson explained the appeal of the project.
"It's a true story about a man who was a conscientious objector," explains Gibson of Andrew Garfield's (The Amazing Spider-Man) medic, Desmond Doss. "He wouldn't take another life, but he wanted to serve his country as a medic. He was persecuted. In boot camp, in the army, they tried to throw him out. They called him a coward, and he just took all the shots."
Doss' crucible was the Marines' invasion of the Japanese island stronghold in 1945, a notoriously ferocious battle that accounted for soldiers and civilians in almost equal numbers. "It's a war film," Gibson says, "but it's a wonderful anti-war statement as well."
One thing, hints Gibson, that probably isn't on the cards is a civil war film. "Directing's a tough game nowadays," says Gibson. "You've got 30 days. Boom!"
Hacksaw Ridge lands in UK cinemas in 2017.