Mel Gibson on the set of "Hacksaw Ridge"

Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Earns Early Praise: Will The Movie Change Public Perception Of Him?

Hacksaw Ridge won’t be released in theaters for another week, but the Mel Gibson film is already landing a few “best film” nominations. This week, the movie earned 13 nominations from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, which implies that Hacksaw Ridge could see itself as an Oscar contender for the upcoming 89th annual Academy Awards. However, while the film is getting some love from movie critics, Gibson still has to fight the public perception of his own off-screen character in order for the film to do well at the box office.

Mel Gibson made headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2006 when he was arrested in Malibu for drunk driving. The incident was bad enough, but what got the actor-turned-director into hot water was his spewing of anti-Semitic comments during the arrest. The event caused many in the industry to turn their backs on Gibson and earned him disdain from movie fans. This situation is not unlike what Nate Parker, director of The Birth of a Nation, has been facing recently.

On a recent episode of Playback, a podcast featured by Variety, Kristopher Tapley asked Mel about his thoughts regarding how many people feel that they can no longer trust him and find that they can’t bring themselves to watch his movies anymore.

“Ten years have gone by. I’m feeling good. I’m sober, all of that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past. But others bring it up, which kind of I find annoying, because I don’t understand why after ten years it’s any kind of issue,” said Gibson. “Surely if I was really what they say I was, some kind of hater, there’d be evidence of actions somewhere. There never has been. I’ve never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation. And for one episode in the back of a police car on eight double tequilas to sort of dictate all the work, life’s work and beliefs and everything else that I have and maintain for my life is really unfair.”

Mel Gibson and Hacksaw Ridge star Andrew Garfield made an appearance on the red carpet at the Los Angeles premiere of the movie at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday, where Mel couldn’t say enough nice things about the leading star whose last big role was playing Spider-Man.

“There was no Spandex,” said Gibson. “He was a real superhero. I think we got a lot of bang for the buck.”

Andrew Garfield in "Hacksaw Ridge"
Andrew Garfield stars in Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.” [Image by Mark Rogers/AI-Films]

For Garfield, he was just thankful that he was given a chance to play war hero Desmond T. Doss, reports Variety.

“He’s an incredible model of what it is to love and treat everyone equally,” Garfield noted. “I tried to absorb as much of his essence as possible. I was able to go to his hometown and handle his old tools in sort of a mystical thing where you hope to absorb his essence.”


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Scene from "Hacksaw Ridge"
Robert Morgan, Vince Vaughn, and Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge.” [Image by Mark Rogers/A-I Films]

Hacksaw Ridge is about U.S. Army medic Desmond T. Doss who served during World War II as a conscientious objector who refused to fire or even handle a weapon of any sort. As a devout Seventh-day Adventist Christian, Doss initially lost the respect of his fellow soldiers but ended up saving the lives of 75 men while in the middle of the battle in Okinawa. Doss was the first conscientious objector ever awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism.

Hacksaw Ridge opens in theaters across the country on Friday, November 4.

[Featured Image by Mark Rogers/AI-Films]