After an eight-year absence from the director’s seat, Mel Gibson is coming back with Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the congressional medal of honor despite never picking up a weapon.
Much like Mel Gibson, Desmond T. Doss was devoutly Christian. As a Seventh-day Adventist, he had objected to fighting when World War 2 broke out. He still served, drafted as a medic. Even though he never picked up a weapon, he braved dangerous battlefields to save dozens of American soldiers, once 75 in one mission. Even when he was injured, Pfc. Doss didn’t shout for medics himself but instead wrapped his own wounds and continued tending to his fallen comrades.
Seems like the perfect subject for a Gibson movie.
From the Patriot, to Brave Heart, to Mad Max, Mel Gibson is drawn heroic male characters with a touch of reluctance in his storytelling. Doss is all of that, plus he has a strong Christian background, no doubt a bonus for the director of the Passion of the Christ.
Despite the interesting story the movie has been 13 years in the making, and Mel Gibson was not the original director. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film was first arranged by Disney, and Randall Wallace was directing – ironically he also directed Gibson’s We Were Soldiers. In the early days the movie was called The CO.
But now the film has Mel Gibson, a new name, and it will star the Amazing Spider Man’s Andrew Garfield as Pfc. Doss. They hope to start shooting next year.
Mel Gibson’s last film as director was Apocalypto, about eight years ago. After that, Gibson came under fire for antisemitic comments he made to an arresting officer while driving drunk. The incident left a mark on his career and reputation, despite his proven box office success.
The Passion of the Christ, which was an enormous box office smash earning $600 million worldwide, was also criticized for having antisemitic undertones. According to the Guardian, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas accused Mel Gibson for sabotaging The Maccabees, which was about the second-century Jewish revolt. Gibson was on board to direct but, according to Eszterhas, he was a disaster for the “ugliest possible” reasons.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews.”
The Maccabees ended up being cancelled by Warner Bros.
With Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson looks to have another chance to redeem himself and rebuild his career.
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